Why event sustainability is a number one priority in Germany

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Making meetings sustainable is a top priority in Germany, as indicated by the results of the Meeting & Event Barometer Germany.

As far back as 2015, 86 per cent of service and product suppliers in the meetings and events sectors named sustainability as an “important or very important goal”.

The number of sustainable offers for meetings and conferences is increasing and almost 40 per cent of German venues have already implemented a sustainability management system.

Social, ecological and economic sustainability have moved beyond a trend and ticking a box but an important quality indicator in competition with other event and conference destinations.

Measures and aims include sustainable travel leaving a low carbon footprint, avoiding waste and using local, seasonal or fair trade goods.

“Nowadays sustainability is an important concern for the convention and meetings industry, because sustainable meetings are registering strong growth in the market,” says Slawa Dallalah, co-ordinator of the Conference Affairs Services at the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

In Germany it’s called “fairpflichtet”, meaning “right and fair”. The Green Globe certification as well as an internal code of ethics serve has been has adopted by the German Convention Bureau (GCB).  Every two years there is an external audit of all business processes to keep the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) certificate.

In 2017, 500 German, Austrian and Swiss businesses in the events industry supported this code.

The GCB also offers two seminars – Sustainability Advisor in the Events Sector – and Sustainability Advisor 2.0 to share knowledge with the industry. Participants are trained in the basics of sustainability, sustainable events organisation and how to implement sustainability in a holistic manner.

Since 2012, more than 300 event professionals have attended the seminars. This year’s workshops have been updated, taking into account the latest key figures, codes and standards, such as the mandatory CSR reporting regulation.

Sustainable development also covers social aspects such as accessibility. The GCB promotes inclusivity and accessibility in the events sector, and has produced a white paper on inclusive meetings and conferences available free of charge to organisers, planners, venue suppliers and hotels.

The report provides guidelines on how to organise accessible events. The aim of initiatives around inclusivity and accessibility is to equally integrate prospective employees who have physical or mental disabilities.

This includes people whose mobility is restricted as well as people with visual impairments, restricted hearing or cognitive impairment. In the context of meetings and conferences, this means that all components of an event need to be aligned with attendee demands, from travel to and from the destination and the venue to accommodation, catering and the social programme around the event.

This could include an accessible event website or the organisation of a get-together that does away with high tables in the interest of attendees using wheelchairs.

Around 80 per cent of German suppliers indicated in the Meeting & Event Barometer Germany surveys that accessibility is an integral part of their corporate philosophy.

James Lancaster
Written By
James Lancaster

AMI editor James Lancaster is a familiar face in the meetings industry and international association community. Since joining AMI in 2010, he has gained a reputation for asking difficult questions and getting lost in convention centres. Proofer, podcaster, and panellist - in his spare time, James likes to walk, read, listen to music, and drink beer.


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