IATA’s World Sustainability Symposium is just Blah, Blah, Blah

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A former IATA Executive Director, a WTTC President, and UNWTO Assistant Secretary General speaks out: There is a Yiddish word “chutzpah” – defined as the man who kills his mother and father, then asks the court for mercy because he’s an orphan. This is what Professor Geoffrey Lipman calls the IATA World Sustainability Symposium.

IATA’s World Sustainability Symposium (WSS) will bring together industry and governments to debate and discuss the key enablers for aviation’s successful decarbonization.

Inspired by Maurice Strong, former IATA Executive Director Professor Geoffrey Lipman has more to say on the upcoming symposium than IATA wants him to mention.

The aim of this IATA Symposium is to gather and support the global community of sustainability experts needed to realize aviation’s biggest challenge ever since governments are now aligned with the industry’s commitment to decarbonize aviation by 2050.

WSS will take place in Miami, Florida

The WSS will take place in Miami, Florida, USA from September 24-25 and plans to facilitate critical discussions, in seven key areas:

  • The overall strategy to achieve net zero emissions by 2050
  • The crucial role of government and policy support
  • Effective implementation of sustainability measures
  • Financing the energy transition
  • Measuring, tracking, and reporting emissions
  • Addressing non-CO2 emissions
  • The significance of value chains

The WSS brings together a diverse group of delegates representing:

  • Airlines
  • OEMs
  • ANSPs
  • Airports
  • Solution providers
  • Policy-makers and regulators
  • Banking and financial institutions
  • Researchers and thought-leaders

Prof Geoffrey Lipman Climate Activist and Grandfather sees this Symposium to be just blah, blah, blah & “Chutzpah”

Enspired by his mentor Maurice Strong, Geoffrey’s loyalty and passion is the fight against climate change.Brussels based Professor Geoffrey Lipman was former Executive Director at IATA.

Lipman has a resume no one in the travel and tourism industry can discredit. He is also well respected and not shy to speak out- specifically when it comes to the subject of climate change and sustainability.

Lippman was the first president of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the Assistant Secretary General at the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and a World Tourism Network Hero. He is also the president of the WTN run International Climate & Tourism Partners. Lipman, who is a grandfather and often said he doesn’t want to see his grandchildren fried, doesn’t think IATAs goal is realistic.

He issued this open comment after receiving his invitation to attend this IATA event organized by the organization he once ran.


There is a Yiddish word “chutzpah” – defined as the man who kills his mother and father, then asks the court for mercy because he’s an orphan.

Prof Lipman, Climate Activist, Grandfather, and former executive for IATA, WTTC & UNWTO.

Lipman writes: Today I received the ultimate in aviation “chutzpah” from my old employer IATA. I was ultimately after 20 years Executive Director in the Office of the Director General back in the 1970s and 1980s 

I received an invitation to attend IATA’s “Worldwide Sustainability Symposium”. Not as a speaker but the chance to listen to the CEO panel, no less (speeches possibly assisted by sponsor Bain & Company !!!!)

On checking the cost of responding to this kind invitation I discovered I can enjoy the entire proceedings for $750 if I am an IATA Member, $1845 if I am a regulator, and a mere $2045 as a member of the general public.

I also discovered that there are still slots to be a Bronze, Silver, or even Gold Sponsor if I act quickly and take advantage of no less than 25 individual sponsorship opportunities – including eco-friendly lanyards, eco-friendly delegate bags, eco-friendly hotel room keys and – wait for it plantable delegate badges.

The Carbon Offset Travel Sponsor

The Big Tamale is to be the entire Symposium “Carbon Offset Travel Sponsor” – wow how could anyone pass that up. 

And all, so we can hear “duck-billed platitudes” about net zero 2050 while the same speakers know that aviation emissions are planned to increase year on year to 2050.

Is it possible for us to exhibit such insincerity? Playing with our grandkids future?

Greta Thunberg was so right “Blah: Blah: Blah”

Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist known for challenging world leaders to take immediate action for climate change mitigation. Thunberg’s climate activism began when she persuaded her parents to adopt lifestyle choices that reduced her family’s carbon footprint.

Although Ms Thunberg has not devised any specific environmental strategies, she is credited with raising public awareness of climate change across the world, especially amongst young people. Many commentators call this “the Greta effect.”

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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