IAPCO, the International Association of Professional Congress
Organisers, has hit out at the recent European Commission statement: ’EU to declare war on business trips’’ which set a target of reducing business trips by 20 per cent
and replacing them with telecommunication and web-based alternatives. Such a
policy, says IAPCO, will have “serious consequences further down the line”.
“Business trips embrace many aspects, an important one of which
is attendance at meetings, conferences and events,” the association points out.
IAPCO recognises the need to curb greenhouse gas emissions, but
says it is “essential that a balanced and objective approach is taken. Many
seemingly obvious solutions, whilst solving the problem at the outset, create
considerable difficulties further down the line”.
The association gives the example of moves to use local produce.
“By limiting the import of produce from developing nations, the local economy suffers
dramatically, leading to increased poverty and ultimately dependence upon those
countries who helped inflict the problem upon them. Consequences of seemingly
obvious solutions must be thoroughly considered and followed through.”
IAPCO also notes that many nations do not have the technical
infrastructure to participate in key meetings and thus such an EU dictate is
limiting the ability for their representatives to participate in a learning and
peer review environment. By limiting the attendance of representatives from
European countries, the peer review is moved into a position of imbalance.
IAPCO says if meetings attendance is reduced by the proposed 20
per cent, many local economies will suffer dramatically. Contributions from
delegates equate to approximately €1,620 per person, the association claims. “Can
local governments survive with such a dramatic loss of revenue to their local
businesses?” it asks.
And, countering the common belief that air traffic is polluting
the air, IAPCO says it is a scientific fact that air traffic only contributes five
per cent maximum to the gas emissions worldwide.
“The activities of IAPCO members alone represent a global economic
impact in excess of 3bn euros worldwide,” the statement adds. “Add to that all
the business activities that are not controlled by IAPCO members and you would
be, of course, multiplying these figures by probably at least a hundred!
Cutting this will have a devastating impact on the economy.
“We strongly believe that face-to-face meetings, conventions,
seminars and events are an essential part of daily life and the economy.
Reducing this will have no impact on the world gas emissions but will have a
strong negative effect on the world economy and therefore the wellbeing of