Inner Circle Forum 2023

10 Dec 2023
Words John Miller Informer 109

Inner Circle Forum 2023

ZEarthCheck’s 12th annual sustainable tourism forum was a spirited call to action.

Stewart Moore
EarthCheck CEO & Founder

Like its 11 previous iterations, EarthCheck’s Inner Circle Forum 2023 (ICF23) brought together global thought leaders to discuss pressing global issues. Principally, how the world’s travel and tourism industry can be put on a more sustainable footing to tackle one of  the world’s most urgent challenges, climate change.

Held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on 28 August, ICF23 saw a record attendance of over 120 travel and tourism industry professionals gather for EarthCheck’s flagship annual forum. ICF23 welcomed delegates from all over the world, with attendees from Japan, Fiji, Mauritius, Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore and elsewhere.

Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell opened ICF23 via video link before the forum launched into its three main topics: What is ESG and how does it impact me? What does ‘sustainable’ really look like? and Is net-zero an achievable goal or elusive ambition? 

The forum saw high-level presentations by a range of tourism industry professionals from the United Kingdom, Japan, the Azores (Portugal), Fiji and New Zealand, as well as Australian experts led by EarthCheck’s CEO & Founder Stewart Moore. 

Eager to convert the knowledge shared throughout the day into tangible targets, the forum settled on several action points.

The first session of the day focused on ESG (environmental, social and governance), an emerging reporting system to measure sustainability and success in businesses, a concept the panellists urged was here to stay. Michael Duggan, Director, Sustainability and Climate Change Risk at global law firm Ashurst, stressed the need to “say what you mean and do what you say” when implementing ESG reporting and not to overcomplicate the process.

The second session revolved around ongoing sustainable destination management and the conception of EarthCheck’s Leading Destinations of the World™ program. The panellists urged that Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) must become advocates, leaders and change agents in their regions to enable positive outcomes to be harnessed in a meaningful way. The Leading Destinations of the World™ program provides responsible destinations with the ability to share best practices, challenges and successes regarding their respective sustainability journeys. 

The final session featured discussion about net zero and the practicalities behind decarbonisation. The key takeaways were that the science of net zero is clear, but the practice is not, and that there is a need for clear targets to be set to reduce fossil fuel emissions and restore our ecosystems. To help make this possible, passion and commitment from stakeholders and employees, and a strong strategic plan for achieving net zero within current timelines, is required.

EarthCheck has developed bespoke software and programs to assist tourism and hospitality businesses looking to invest in their sustainability journey to collect and collate data to support reporting requirements. For more information on ESG services and benchmarking with EarthCheck or Inner Circle Forum, head to END

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