Carbon-footprint assessment guidelines for MICE
The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organisation (TGO) to develop guidelines on carbon-footprint assessment for the MICE industry.
The move is aimed at boosting the country's capability to attract major events in the highly competitive meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions market, and strengthening Thailand as a green MICE destination in the region.
The TCEB, a state agency, claims the move will enable Thailand to become the first country in Southeast Asia to have a clear carbon-footprint outline for the MICE industry.
It is considered increasingly crucial in attracting major international major events, especially from European countries such as the Netherlands, where there is greater environmental awareness and concern.
The TCEB has been focused on a green ideology for the industry for the past five years. Thailand has to date been listed as a green destination by the Green Meeting Industry Council in the US.
Nichapa Yoswee, the bureau's director responsible for MICE, said the collaboration with the TGO would help MICE operators to evaluate the impact of carbon emissions resulting from the events they arrange, whether it be from transport, energy, materials, leftover food or waste.
Under the plan, the TGO will look for ways to measure how much carbon dioxide the industry has released through its integrated production, taking into account the amount discharged by activities all the way through from pre- to post-event stages.
After the work is completed, the TCEB will organise a focus-group discussion with operators to seek their opinions, followed by a training programme. It expects that next year the industry will be even clearer about the green mission, Nichapa said.
Pongvipa Lohsomboon, director of the Carbon Business Office at the TGO, said there were currently no clear figures indicating the full scale of the Thai MICE industry's carbon footprint.
While the overall level of CO2 released in Thailand annually is estimated at 230 million tonnes, 70 per cent of the total comes from the energy industry, which includes emissions related to power provided to service-sector players such as the MICE industry.
She cited a 2011 conference held in Denmark as an example, when the country hosted the "Copenhagen Conference Footprint".
The event produced a carbon footprint of 41,000 tonnes of CO2 from all activities, especially from coffee consumption, with more than 200,000 disposable cups being used.
However, compared to a local community's carbon footprint in Copenhagen, the event produced only a small amount, she added.
Pongvipa said that if the MICE industry had a clear figure of its carbon footprint, it could adjust its business operations accordingly and minimise emissions.
This would enhance its competitiveness, as has been the case in industrial production, at a time when the world is increasingly following the green trend.
Giving due attention to the sector's carbon footprint is, therefore, clearly a key marketing tool for attracting events to the Kingdom, said the Carbon Business Office chief.