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Christchurch makes big announcements at AIME

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Christchurch makes big announcements at AIME
Te Pae Christchurch and the convention bureau for New Zealand’s second largest city both had major developments to share.

Ross Steele, general manager of the city’s convention centre, Te Pae, announced that the venue had just been certified net carbon zero – in scope one and two carbon emissions – by Toitū Envirocare, receiving confirmation last week.

Toitū is owned by a New Zealand government research institute and provides environmental and carbon certifications to over 800 organisations in New Zealand and further afield.

Te Pae has reached its net zero goal ahead of schedule, committing at last year’s Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) to be carbon neutral by the end of the 2024 financial year.

Steele said reaching the first net zero milestone – the most challenging of the scopes, scope 3, is still a work in progress – is something the team is “very, very proud of”.

“It’s a journey that we started a long, long time ago but it’s a journey we will continue on and continue to work on for many years to come. It is the start of a journey,” he said.

ChristchurchNZ also had a significant announcement up their sleeve on the AIME show floor yesterday, launching a major research project into conference legacies, which is set to run for at least three years.

With additional support from Tourism New Zealand, the research will look to gather data on event impacts including scientific advancement, industry innovation, social policies, community wellbeing, trade, investment and cultural and environmental sustainability.

“Whilst we see, hear and experience the benefits of business events in our everyday work…at the moment in Christchurch, there’s currently no formal data being collected beyond the financial,” said ChristchurchNZ’s head of business events, Megan Crum.

“Without a doubt, the sector is continually being asked to demonstrate its value in order to attract and maintain sufficient funding so that we can do the work that we do.

“And without a doubt, an improved understanding of the contribution from business events that are made by conferences can inform and develop strategies that maximise benefits for our communities.

“This project really is a significant step forward for all of us who work within New Zealand’s business events community.”

Inspired by the work that’s been done by BESydney in Australia, ChristchurchNZ will use one of the same researchers who has been undertaking the work for Sydney for more than a decade, Carmel Foley.

“We’re so fortunate to have Carmel and her team head this groundbreaking work for New Zealand,” said Crum.

Research data will be collected via an online survey from conference organisers, delegates, exhibitors and sponsors of 20 conferences each year. Most conferences that will take part in the research will be held in Christchurch, with some data to be drawn from conferences held elsewhere in New Zealand. The conferences chosen to participate will primarily be drawn from particular sectors of interest to Christchurch – from clean tech to future transport, Antarctic research, urban development and resilient cities, amongst others.

Data collection is due to start next month and will include events that have already taken place.

“By formally evaluating impacts from events…we’re going to uncover more than just the dollars from visitor spend,” said Crum.

“How do conferences impact us socially, how do they impact us environmentally – these are the questions that we’ll be able to answer from this research.

“We all recognise the non-financial value of business events but having a way to measure and convey that has really felt out of reach until now.”

With conference legacies often taking many years to eventuate, Crum confirmed they are looking at long tail research opportunities beyond the initial three-year project announced yesterday.

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