Fly shame or fly guilt

10th May, 2019

Publishing a long professional magazine is not an easy feat. It requires you to have been down all the beaten paths of the meeting industry. And one of these well-trodden paths is sustainability. Sustainability is no longer a buzzword. It has become a very serious matter. The meetings industry – especially association congresses – pay a lot of attention to all aspects of sustainability. But (and there is a but) in my opinion, we still do not focus sufficiently on our flying habits. We tend to fly everywhere, both short and long-haul.

The Swedes coined a new term for this, namely ‘flygskam’ or fly shame, which refers to the guilt that travellers experience when they fly off to somewhere knowing they are contributing negatively to climate change. The Dutch aviation expert Paul Peeters conducted research on the subject and unequivocally states that flying is bad for our climate. But who cares? As far as I know, our industry does not worry about this too much because flying is inevitable in the job we do. But this researcher says we should avoid short-haul flights and the government should invest in more high-speed trains that connect cities with each other. People around the world should travel more consciously because aviation will be considered a major polluter in the future.

I would really appreciate it if the meetings industry would think more about flying and the consequences this has for our industry. Because there are other better alternatives.

There are a few pages that merit our readers’ attention in this 80-page issue, including the article on the ‘New Belgian Association Code’. The new Code modernises the law, making it much easier for associations of all types, whether trade or professional, NGOs or charities, to seamlessly transfer their seat to Belgium! Belgium has always welcomed the headquarters of international associations with open arms and will do this even more in the future. This also explains why Brussels was named one of the leading host cities in the world for the headquarters of international associations.

Marcel A.M. Vissers

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