Meetings No 19
Intro
Artificial Intelligence
Atti Soenarso: AI is soon an everyday commodity.
Cover Story
Anders Sörman-Nilsson
Gazing into the future of the meetings industry.
Intermission
Europe is not a market
It is the will to live together.
Radar
Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre
“Our vision is to create Europe’s most attractive venue.”
ROI
Padraic Gilligan
Why ROI for meetings and incentives is a waste of time.
ROI
Elling Hamso
Why ROI is not a waste of time.
Radar
ICC Sydney
An important contributor to innovation.
Strategy
PCMA
Radar on penetrating the ­European meetings industry.
HR Technology
The Rise of AI
Rohit Talwar and Alexandra Whittington: On AI and HR.
Sustainable Growth
GDS-Index
Scandinavian sustainability initiative expands.
Intermission
In a Hole
Lending a hand.
Radar
ICCA
Record number of association meetings in 2016.
Collaboration
Best Cities Global Forum
“Unlocking the collective intelligence.”
Sharma
My 23 Best Tactics for Personal Greatness
Robin Sharma: “Protect your willpower.”
Radar
Technology and Meetings
Tech is key in creating purposeful meetings.
Radar
IMEX Frankfurt
Packed with opportunities.
Cyber Security
The Anti-Cloud
Jaak Geens and Linas Bukauskas on geens.com.
Kellerman
Cyber vs. Personal
Roger Kellerman: “Now is the time to improve online security.”
classifieds
news
the convention industry
Paris back as number one
in the city rankings for international congresses.
Africa Meetings
Africa Rising
in the ICCA statistic 2016.
business Intelligence
Saudi Arabia to launch into MICE sector
worldwide by exhibiting at IMEX in Frankfurt.
New position
Aoife Delaney
new Director of Marketing and Sales at DMC Network.
Redefining meetings
Sarawak goes tribal
to boost business.
Hotel world
Asias ultimate destination,
Signiel Seoul Hotel opens in the worlds new landmark.
Business Intelligence
Ottawa Tourism
sees large business events bookings up 220% in Canada’s 150th year.
meetings creates events, events creates meetings
Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre
in Gothenburg speeds up plans to extend facilities.
Aviation Industry
Swedish Aviation Tax to Cost 7,500 Jobs,
Conflicts with Global Carbon Agreement.
NEW
Successful trials lead IMEX in Frankfurt
to fully-fledged roll out of Zenvoy networking service.
Links
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Scandinavian Sustainability Initiative Expands

The prize-winning grassroots Scandinavian initiative that evolved into the first-ever sustainability ranking for event destinations worldwide is growing. Initiated by ICCA’s Scandinavian Chapter in collaboration with the MCI Group, the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index) partnership was expanded in 2016 to include IMEX and ICCA (the International Congress and Convention Association).

The GDS-Index is a collaborative platform that aims to promote the sustainable growth of international meeting destinations, highlighting best practices and responsible business tourism. It looks to bring cities together to benchmark and improve the social and environmental performance of their city and its business events industry.

In a world increasingly focused on responsible business and addressing our environmental impact, the GDS-Index helps destinations to engage clients with sustainability, align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and drive the adoption, promotion and recognition of sustainable practices in their city.

The GDS-Index will evaluate the sustainability performance of cities and bureaus in four key areas, including: city environmental strategy and infrastructure; city social sustainability performance; industry supplier support (restaurants, hotels and convention centres); and Convention Bureau strategy and initiatives. The GDS-Index is designed to take account of the destinations’ existing sustainability initiatives and certification programmes and provide an objective, overall evaluation of the city as a sustainable events destination.

“Our vision is to have over 100 cities benchmarking and collaborating together by 2020. Today we have 25 Scandinavian cities based in Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Sweden, as well as our first wave of global cities including Geneva, Stuttgart and Sydney,” says Guy Bigwood, MCI Group Sustainability Director and GDS-Index project leader. “The Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events industry has a unique role to play to help cities and businesses implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and create a more prosperous future for us all.”

Martin Sirk, CEO of ICCA: “The unique feature of the GDS-Index is that this is a bottom-up phenomenon, driven by the destinations themselves. The ICCA members in Scandinavia have invented a powerful engine to improve their destinations’ sustainability and business competitiveness, and we are delighted that they want ICCA to help them share this with the whole world, rather than keeping the GDS-Index to themselves. We believe this is an excellent platform for leaders in sustainability from every region to showcase their policies and good practices, and for any ambitious destination to swiftly improve their competitiveness.”

“Our industry requires greater focus and efforts to make sustainable events easier, cheaper and totally widespread,” adds Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group. “IMEX wants to support the development of our industry and this ground-breaking initiative to pioneer sustainability globally for meeting and incentive destinations.”

The Scandinavian GDS-Index was first published in 2012 and 2013, and has stimulated a large volume of sustainability initiatives across the Nordic region that continues to this day. The two-year project demonstrated impressive results, with nearly half of Convention Bureaux in the region developing a sustainability strategy, compared to only 20 percent before the Index was launched. Sustainability communication has improved by 50 percent, and eco-certifications across the region rose to include 60 percent of meetings industry suppliers, more than any other region in the world. The project was also honoured to receive the UN World Tourism Organisation Award for Innovation.

Gothenburg was the highest scoring city when the results of the Global Destination Sustainability Index were revealed at the end of 2016.

“This was fantastic news for Gothenburg as a city of meetings and events. We aim to lead the way and this is confirmation of our successful partnership between trade, industry and the city,” says Camilla Nyman, CEO at Gothenburg & Co.

With a score of 83 out of a possible 100, Gothenburg took first place, ahead of several well-known conference destinations. The Global Destination Sustainability (GDS) Index compares cities to determine how well they meet a long list of sustainability criteria in four different categories: social, supplier, convention bureau and environmental. This is the first year that the GDS survey has been completed.

“This is the result of several years of dedicated sustainability efforts in collaboration between the city and trade and industry. It makes all our work even more worthwhile,” says Annika Hallman, Director of Gothenburg Convention Bureau.

All the cities were benchmarked on their ability to meet criteria in four different areas, with a maximum score of 100 per cent. Gothenburg gained the highest scores in social sustainability and supplier sustainability.

  • Environmental sustainability: 74 %
  • Social sustainability: 100 %
  • Supplier sustainability: 96 %
  • Convention Bureau sustainability: 78 %.

All aspects of sustainability are becoming increasingly important for organisers of large conventions. Achieving first place in the index is clear confirmation of the efforts of all the major conference facilities in the city.

“Sustainability is incredibly important to us as an international meeting place, and sustainable development has been a natural part of everything we do for many years. First place gives us recognition that will reinforce our position and that of Gothenburg in the international market,” says Carin Kindbom, CEO and President of the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre, of which Gothia Towers is a part.

But to gain a high ranking in the GDS Index it is not enough to ensure that the visitor industry, conference facilities and hotels are involved; the city as a whole must also be engaged in sustainability issues.

“Almost all our hotels have environmental diplomas and all major conference facilities have the highest environmental classification, as well as Landvetter Airport,” says Camilla Nyman.

With this project there are regional leaders from not only Scandinavia anymore but also from continents other than Europe. Scandinavian countries that share a vision of a better, smarter and more sustainable future. They have committed to taking action to measure and benchmark impacts, share knowledge, create products to help clients and develop socially responsible community action projects.

The GDS-Index is a collaborative platform that aims to promote the sustainable growth of international meeting destinations through benchmarking across four key areas: city environmental strategy and infrastructure; city social sustainability performance; industry supplier support (restaurants, hotels and convention centres); and Convention Bureau strategy and initiatives.

Launched by ICCA, IMEX and MCI in March 2016, 35 cities in five continents have since joined the process of benchmarking and assessment, with many more looking to join in 2017. Through the continued benchmarking and sharing of these best practices, the GDS-Index aims to drive the adoption, promotion and recognition of sustainable practices across 100 cities by 2020.

Leading sustainable destinations on the GDS-Index have created and embraced a robust sustainability strategy for the meetings industry that supports the city’s overall social, environmental and economic goals. Their strategy is reinforced through proper incentives and capacity training, strong local community and supplier engagement, and effective communication about sustainability initiatives.

Looking ahead, it is clear that the meetings industry must embrace more sustainable practices and recognize that all of us – be it government, suppliers, corporates or associations – play a key role in enabling a more sustainable future.

Today the Index is measuring the following destinations:

  • Aalborg, Denmark
  • Aarhus, Denmark
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Bergen, Norway
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Durban, South Africa
  • Espoo, Finland
  • Frankfurt, Germany
  • Geneva, Switzerland
  • Glasgow, Scotland
  • Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Helsinki, Finland
  • Houston, USA
  • Jönköping, Sweden
  • Karlstad, Sweden
  • Kyoto, Japan
  • Malmö, Sweden
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • Nantes, France
  • Oslo, Norway
  • Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Sapporo, Japan
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Stuttgart, Germany
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Tampere, Finland
  • The Hague, Netherlands
  • Trollhättan, Sweden
  • City of Tshwane (Pretoria), South Africa
  • Turko, Finland
  • Uppsala, Sweden
  • Västerås, Sweden
  • Zürich, Switzerland