Sustainable Meetings Berlin – The future is green
Berlin’s creative path to a sustainable congress destination
Berlin is to become one of the most innovative and sustainable event metropolises for conventions and congresses – and the Berlin Convention Office of visitBerlin has launched a dedicated process to support this goal. In a first step, the key players, including many Berlin hotels, locations and service partners, were brought together, comprehensively informed about the main issues and integrated into the process. After this initial phase, the aim is to support these participants as they develop their sustainable offers and services.
Here, a major role is played by the Sustainable Meetings Berlin online platform launched by the Berlin Convention Office in 2019. This platform makes it easy for event organisers to plan sustainable conferences, congresses, meetings and events. Sustainable Meetings Berlin is an initiative for sustainability in the Berlin MICE sector. For its launch this year, it comprises three elements:
- online information tool for sustainability in the MICE sector for national and international event planners,
- oonline platform to list sustainable venues and service providers for events for national and international event planners, as well as
- a strong partner network
Developed with the sector for the sector
Sustainable Meetings Berlin has a range of advantages for users and participants. It gives event organisers a practical instrument for greater sustainability. With their participation in the Sustainable Meetings Berlin initiative, the Sustainable Partners have the chance to drive forward sustainability in their own company and gain expertise in this area. The sustainable services offered by the Sustainable Partners are presented transparently in the Meeting Guide Berlin.
The Sustainable Partners include Berlin agencies, hotels and locations, catering, transport and technical services evaluated for their sustainability and, in accordance with that evaluation, presented on the website. A set of special criteria based on internationally recognised guidelines were developed to evaluate sustainability in partner businesses and services. Here are some sample criteria from the four areas of Environment, Society, Business, and Governance, Risk and Compliance
- Environment: The organisation has put energy management processes in place, and these relate to all energy sources (electricity, fuels, etc.).
- Governance, Risk & Compliance: The organisation has a sustainability strategy in place and has integrated it into the corporate strategy.
- Society: The organisation has HR management and an HR plan in place including skills analysis, resource planning and strategic recruitment. In these areas, sustainability factors also play a role.
- Business: The organisation has firmly integrated user safety processes in its workflow and production processes.
The working group “Nachhaltige Veranstaltungsmetropole Berlin” (Sustainable Event Metropolis Berlin) holds regular meetings as well as meetups on topics around sustainability. An additional online platform offers a forum for an exchange of experience and to share best practices.
The aim is to make events in Berlin more sustainable and, in a participative process, to strengthen and hone the city’s profile as a sustainable congress destination.
More information:f convention.visitBerlin.de/sustainable-meetings-berlin
Interview: “Berlin´s Commitment is Sustainability”
In conversation with Iris Lanz, Director Conventions, visitBerlin Berlin Convention Office, we discover how and why Berlin wants to position itself as a sustainable congress destination.
In Berlin, you are championing “sustainable meetings”. What’s the rationale behind that decision?
Iris Lanz: For growing numbers of event planners, when it comes to choosing congress locations, the option of organising a sustainable event is now a must. Together with the fundamental values of credibility, transparency and responsibility, sustainability is poised to become the business and social standard. Moreover, with the UN Sustainability Goals 2030 and the CSR reporting law for large companies, policy makers are calling on businesses and each one of us to strive harder to live up to our social, economic and ecological responsibility. Our congress and event sector is resource and personnel intensive, and for that reason alone it bears a special responsibility. And that is a strong factor in Berlin’s commitment to sustainability. With Sustainable Meetings Berlin, we can pursue a path to greater sustainability.
Our vision is to develop Berlin into one of the five leading and most sustainable congress destinations in Europe.
What is your long-term goal?
Iris Lanz:.Our vision is to develop Berlin into one of the five leading and most sustainable congress destinations in Europe. That’s an ambitious goal – and it can only be achieved with our many partners in the city. We’re also very pleased that we have gained large-scale support on the political level for our new sustainable Berlin Tourism Plan – the long-term strategy for Berlin tourism and the congress and meetings sector.
What is your goal this year with the Sustainable Meetings Berlin project?
Iris Lanz: To increase the number of sustainable conferences. We want to encourage congress planners and organisers to plan sustainably – and we’re also supporting and promoting our partners on the path to sustainability. In this way, we are looking to drive forwards sustainability in the MICE sector. That’s why we have created our new Sustainable Meetings Berlin platform here in the city. This is a unique development – a network of strong partners – allowing us to support every event planner, and so provide them with the right services and information. For example, we have collected tips on how every event can be made greener. At present, such services are still niche products in the meetings industry. But Sustainable Meetings Berlin is now spotlighting them and raising their profile.
In terms of sustainable forms of congresses and meetings, what has Berlin achieved so far?
Iris Lanz: Our MEET+CHANGE initiative is part of our overall vision, and has already played a role in positioning Berlin as a location for sustainable events. MEET+CHANGE promotes the use of spaces in social facilities, for instance, schools and inclusive workshops, for corporate workshops and events.
Together for Berlin
Our Sustainable Meetings partners strongly support Berlin as a sustainable congress destination
“We are confirmed sustainability fans – a commitment evident in self-generated energy, bees on the roof, EMAS certification and much more. Sustainable Meetings Berlin inspires us with new ideas for more sustainability in this sector.“
Anke Stopperich, CEO Besondere Orte
“With Sustainable Meetings Berlin, we are working towards the goal of a sustainable Berlin. We share our beliefs and ideas, and show the opportunities for sustainable business activities and practices. For Berlin Event, sustainability is about customer value, competitive edge, saving resources and, above all, protecting the environment.”
Olaf Marsson, CEO Berlin Event event agency
“In RENT4EVENT’s corporate development, the commitment to lived sustainability has a strong tradition and is an essential part of our company philosophy. As a service provider for the event sector, we have been climate-neutral since 2012, and have set ourselves the goal of making sustainability the basis of all our business decisions and processes. The Sustainable Meetings Berlin network allows us to learn from our colleagues’ experience and introduce further change processes.“
Manja Jessat, Sales and Communication Management RENT4EVENT GmbH Berlin
“Where do the chairs come from which we sit on every day? What water are we drinking – and what from? Which partners do we want to work successfully with? How do we shape the working environment of our colleagues? It’s about more than just green electricity. It’s about whether we are doing the right thing in robust ways for a liveable future – and there’s no way around that. Playing a part here is something very close to our hearts. Our cooperation with Sustainable Meetings Berlin helps us to take the right path with the right partners for a constructive and inspiring exchange of ideas. In that way, all projects have a greater chance of success. We are convinced this is the right way to move things forwards – and so we’re glad to be on board.”
Guido Höcke, CEO Kalkscheune Location
11 tips for sustainable event management in Berlin
As the infographic for event planners shows, sustainability is far from limited to just the choice of location, but starts with small things. Thinking sustainably can and ought to be the leitmotif of the entire planning process. The Berlin Convention Office of visitBerlin has compiled an initial list of ideas, encouraging planners to make their events more sustainable.
Here is the infographic to download.