Media Releases

UFI Global Policy Leadership Series: Enabling Trade & Society

– A series of conversations featuring economic, trade, and tourism officials from around the world

Paris, 14 September 2021 – UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, is pleased to launch its Global Policy Leadership Series (GPLS). The GPLS, part of the advocacy work UFI undertakes on behalf of the exhibition industry, features a series of one-on-one interviews with trade and tourism ministers from around the globe.

Anbu Varathan, President of UFI, said, “Advocacy for the exhibition industry has become increasingly important throughout the pandemic. It has been over a year and a half since we stopped our normal programming, and while we see some positive progression and restarting, there is also a yo-yo effect of starting and stopping that continues to cause uncertainty for our sector. As a global industry we must strengthen our ties with governments throughout the world to reinforce our critical role in rebuilding economies and societies, and to assure authorities, as well as customers, that we are a safe and effective manner of bolstering business, trade, and tourism.”

Throughout the year, this series will feature conversations with national government representatives discussing the role of exhibitions in economic recovery and building back better post-pandemic. In the first three interviews of the series, UFI CEO Kai Hattendorf sat down with Edward Yau Tang-wah, GBS, JP, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Hong Kong, Robert Troy TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Trade Promotion, Ireland, and Rita Marques, Secretary of State for Tourism, Portugal.

Kai Hattendorf stated, “It is fascinating to have the opportunity to speak with different ministers from around the world. They all have unique perspectives on economic recovery and the plans for their country/region, but one thing all of these discussions have in common is that the ministers believe strongly in the role of trade exhibitions in driving both global trade as well as local tourism. Now, more than ever, we need to work together as a global industry and with governments around the world to get back to doing what we do best – bringing people together.”

The GPLS interviews are freely available for all to view, please click here to see the discussions with representatives from Hong Kong, Ireland, and Portugal. More interviews will continue to be added throughout the year, to be updated when a new interview is available, please sign up here.

Quotes from ministers showing support for the exhibition industry

“I have no doubt in sharing with everyone that the business events industry has a huge role to play in the recovery of the tourism sector. “Rita Marques, Secretary of State for Tourism, Portugal. Click here to view the full discussion.

“The trade and exhibition industry is always a good platform for us to plan ahead, and, for the post pandemic era, how best we can bring back business [and] provide a better platform for all trade which can rely on the success of this particular industry.” Edward Yau Tang-wah, GBS, JP, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Hong Kong. Click here to view the full discussion.

“Your sector creates opportunities for trade, a platform for businesses to grow, a platform for businesses to engage with one another and it is critically important, particularly for our SME sector.” Robert Troy TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Trade Promotion, Ireland. Click here to view the full discussion.



Download this Press Release

The Events Industry kicks off towards net zero

– The objective is to have a pledge ready for COP26

– Goals will include 50% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030

– Initiative supported by the UNFCCC and hosted by JMIC

Paris – 2 September 2021: UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry is proud to announce the launch of a new initiative – Net Zero Carbon Events – to connect the events industry globally to the rapidly growing movement towards net zero by 2050. This initiative is hosted by the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC).

In November 2021, world leaders will meet in Glasgow, Scotland at COP26 to present how their countries will achieve the 50% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 in order to deliver on the Paris Agreement. In advance of this meeting, for profit and non-profit organizations from across all sectors are setting forth their own pathways towards this goal, and the ultimate goal of net zero by 2050.

Through this initiative, JMIC aims to link all stakeholders in the corporate, professional, academic and destination communities world-wide that have also committed to engagement in what is one of the biggest collective challenges we all face today, and to invite those that have not done so yet to join.

The Net Zero Carbon Events initiative aims to bring together a wide range of industry stakeholders to:

  • Jointly communicate our industry’s commitment to tackling climate change and driving towards net zero by 2050
  • Develop common methodologies for measuring the industry’s direct, indirect and supply chain greenhouse gas emissions
  • Construct an industry-wide roadmap towards net zero by 2050, and emissions reductions by 2030 in line with the Paris Agreement, with support and guidance on key issues
  • Foster collaboration with suppliers and customers to ensure alignment and common approaches
  • Establish common mechanisms for reporting progress and sharing best practice.

The new initiative arises from the work of an organizing task force initiated by JMIC members UFI, AIPC and ICCA joined by representatives of Emerald Expositions (US), Freeman (US), HKCEC (China), Informa (UK), Javits Center (US), MCI (Switzerland), Messe München (Germany), RX (UK) and Scottish Event Campus (UK) and it was born from a discussion with the UNFCCC secretariat — United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat — which is also supporting the initiative.

All interested parties are invited to join this journey at The aim is to grow this initiative that represents the events industry as a whole and provide a collaborative commitment all can act on.

James Rees, JMIC President, declares: “Events drive industries and societies. They shape conversations, foster innovation and generate business. They are key to human collaboration. This holds true for every subject – including sustainability and climate change. The events industry has a special role to play in tackling climate change. We provide the meeting places and market places to work on solutions to the climate crisis. At the same time, we have a responsibility to minimise our impact on climate change. We are inviting organisations from across the events industry – venues, organisers, exhibitors and suppliers – to join this collaborative effort to drive the events sector towards net zero. “

Anbu Varathan, UFI President, indicates: “UFI is committed to driving and supporting sustainable development among our global membership and the exhibition industry at large. This collaborative and inclusive initiative that covers the whole event industry is a new important step and we look forward to identifying the commitments required for the reduction and neutralization of event-related GHG emissions.”


– Net Zero Carbon Events homepage

Download this Press Release


Download previous media releases.