Tap Water Presidency Wins Gold IMEX-GMIC Green Meetings Award

I´m feeling very proud as last night, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs collected the 2013 Gold IMEX-GMIC Green Meetings Award for the organisation of the 2012 European Union Presidency. Working with the Danish government, My team and I helped the ministry to implement a sustainable management system and to become the first organisation to achieve the new ISO20121 certification. The results of this project earned the nickname – the Tap Water Presidency due to its focus on sustainability and cost effectiveness, that resulted in a €40million saving compared to previous Presidencies.

Over 15000 people participated in the 150 events that were organised at three venues in Denmark, making this one of the most ambitious and largest sustainability projects in the meetings industry. To learn more about the approach and legacy of this unique project please read the new case study report entitled ‘Driving Change Through Collaboration’ .

We have have been consulting to the Danish Government, Visit Denmark and the Copenhagen Convention Bureau since 2008. Advisory services included developing a national sustainability strategy, development of a communication campaign, production of videos, a training roadshow and production of the European Sustainable Events Conference. More info on www.sustainableeventsdenmark.org

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The proud team from Wonderful Copenhagen, SAS, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Visit Denmark and MCI celebrating winning of IMEX Green Meeting Award

Protecting Biodiversity Through Sustainable Events in India

Last year Hyderabad, India was host to the groundbreaking COP11 -Convention on Biological Diversity hosted by the Ministry of the Environment and Forests. Our industrious team in India managed the logistics of more than 11,500 participants and 900 sessions over 11 long days in hand with leading AV provider Dorier Perfectus.

What’s most impressive is not just the sheer scale and complexity of such an important international event in India but what the team managed to achieve in sustainability including a 91% waste diversion rate. We are  pleased to be able to present the legacy and achievements of that event in the our recently released event report:

Sustainable Event Management Activities

The convention aimed to be a leading sustainable event for India, leaving long term positive social and environmental legacies in Andhra Pradesh and concerns were addressed through all phases of event design and execution, including the following activities:

-       Strategic Planning:  The planning team leaders met to identify a strategy for the sustainable performance of the event and created customized targets.

-       Supplier Engagement: Through a two hour educational event and a series of interviews, 50 suppliers were educated about the objectives of the event; key suppliers were questioned about sustainable practices and offered coaching and recommendations for improved results. In particular, the MCI team worked with the Novotel, waste management company and caterer to improve waste management, catering and sustainability measurement processes.

-       Sustainable Procurement: The event management team made a series of conscious decisions in the purchasing of material and services. This includes congress bags,bamboo stage set and exhibitions stands, exhibition USB sticks, printing, catering, communications as well as the selection of logistics teams that reduced transport requirements.

-       Community Impact: Amongst other great initiatives, a truly innovative engagement project was designed with social enterprises and sustainable businesses at the heart.  In  a unique market place within the perimeter of the Novotel Complex 40 local artisans and community groups were represented at The Biodiversity Haat. Stands featured groups selling organic produce, handmade artefacts and those using responsible materials.. Examples of local producers included the “Bodhana Tiruvalla Social Science Society”  who use bee products to fund and operate a Social Rehabilitation Programme; the Uravu  Indigenous Science & Technology Study Centre, a registered, non-profit trust supporting the livelihood of rural woman through end-to-end programmes in bamboo growth, harvest and product manufacturing. Projects like these within the Biodiversity Haat supported a vast number of Indian social development objectives including training in natural resource management, improving literacy, providing employment and women’s rights through to stimulating organic farming and renewable energy sources.

Enjoy a quick run through of the highlights of the event in our video:

Danish EU Presidency Sustainability Report

Last year Denmark hosted the first ever sustainable European Union presidency, achieving the first ISO20121 certification in the meetings sector. The sustainable actions lead to a €40million saving compared to previous Presidencies. Now we are proud to be able to document and share the legacy and learning  in a new report entitled Driving Change Through Collaboration’.

You can review the report below or please download the  report here. It also provides a good insight in how to achieve ISO20121. We hope you enjoy and do lets us know your questions, comments and feedback.

There were 4 main conclusions to the EU2012 Danish Presidency Sustainability Report

Leadership: Nicknamed the ‘Tap Water Presidency’ by the press, due to the focus on environmental and cost saving actions, the Danish government implemented an ISO compliant sustainability management system for the 100 meetings which hosted 15.000 participants in Copenhagen and the city of Horsens. Local organic food was served – with no additional cost – accompanied by tap water; 100% of all hotel rooms and meetings venues were eco-certified; all suppliers were compliant with the responsible procurement policy; all signage, carpets and branding were made from sustainable materials; and sponsorships were created to install innovative new sustainability technology into the venues and power them through Danish Wind Energy.

Power of Standards: Andreas Clausen-Boor, Head of Logistics for the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs shared “The budget restraints and complexities involved with organizing so many diverse events required a smart, efficient and flexible event management system. Our meeting design strategy and the ISO 20121 standard helped align the political and sustainability goals with practical processes in a sensible and efficient way which saved us over €40million while enhancing the quality for which Danish events are known.”

Legacy: As part of the stakeholder engagement strategy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and leaders from the Danish Meetings Industry initiated and established the private-public partnership ‘Danish Sustainable Events Initiative’ (DSEI). The DSEI leveraged the momentum of the 2012 EU Presidency to showcase and improve sustainability practices not just for the Presidency events but to inspire and educate the national and global meetings industry towards greater collaboration and innovation.

Collaboration: Steen Jakobsen, Convention Director for Wonderful Copenhagen CVB, one of the founding partners of the DSEI commented: “This report captures and shares our experiences implementing ISO 20121. It highlights the power of collaboration, and can significantly help other Presidencies and meeting organisers.”

 

My team at MCI Sustainability Services have worked on this project for the last few years. Once again we have seen the commitment of the Danish government and the Danish meetings industry to innovation, collaboration and sustainability. Their thought leadership helped to advance sustainable event management at a national and a global scale. It also strengthen the positioning of Copenhagen as the ‘Capital of Sustainable Meetings’, and Denmark as a ‘first choice’ sustainable meetings destination. They deserve another high 5!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Results: 2013 ICCA Scandinavian Destinations Sustainability Index

Yesterday at the ICCA Scandinavia Chapter meeting, I had the pleasure to release the 2013 ICCA Scandinavian Destinations Sustainability Indexwinners_2013_index_

MCI conducted this benchmarking study to compare and analyze the sustainability performance of 20 cities across the 5 Nordic countries of Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway. This was the second edition of the study, and demonstrates how the ICCA Scandinavia Vision to create a Sustainable Meetings Region is delivering results and improving sustainability across the region. The first Index was launched in June 2012

Winners

First place this year is shared by Uppsala and last year’s winner Gothenburg (see photo).  Turku was recognised as the city with the best improvement with a staggering 85% improvement over last year. Respect should also be given to Reykjavik, Stockholm and in fact all the participants for working on this pioneering project. 2013 index

Key highlights from this year:

  • 7% Overall improvement across region
  • Growth fromn 16 to 20 cities included in the Index
  • A significant 12% improvement in the “software” performance of the region. This means that there is a greater development of sustainability strategy, communication, certification and engagement.
  • 47% of CVBs now have a publicly available sustainability policy
  • 74% of CVBs now have information on their webs about the sustainability of their destination

At the regional meeting yesterday, Anne and I ran a workshop with 50 people to share conclusions, success stories and to brainstorm how Cities can continue to improve.

Going global

This project is unique and we know of no other in the meetings industry. Other destinations, regions and corporations can learn from this initiative that started in 2010. It demonstrates how through the leadership of a few individuals who encourage collaboration, sustainable change can happen.

We will be writing up the findings in a report to be published in April. The 2013 Index project was funded by VisitAarhus. Research and consulting was implemented by my team in MCI Sustainability Services. We intend to improve the Index for 2014 and are looking for input and additional partners so that we can improve. Our dream is to expand the Index to include other countries and regions. So Vancouver, Melbourne, Germany – all you leaders of sustainability; We invite you to come and benchmark against your Scandinavian colleagues.

Bearing Responsibility – Events and the Community

ImageCommunity Projects have been a part and parcel of events for decades – that will never change. What will change is the sophistication of the various projects. Gone are the days when guests happily gather around a solitary tree planting ceremony, participating only through rapturous applause. Increasing awareness of wider sustainability issues and activism are driving bolder approaches to event community project planning and your guests want to get involved and create more of an impact.

It’s the usual innovators who are at the forefront of this; Ovation Bear, Ovation Global DMC’s honorary CEO, conducted an informal straw poll of his global offices and identified 5 Innovative stories of sophisticated community integration at Events:

1. More often than not, the integration of the local community comprises a one-off bolt-on activity designed to tick the CSR box. Conversely, Ovation is increasingly working with clients to be more strategic in approach. This involves looking at how local communities can be deeper integrated into the event planning process. A recent example of this approach is an Ovation Canada project where social enterprise suppliers are being given preference over less socially aware suppliers. With handmade delegate bags and sustainability conscious food suppliers, this conference will have a lower carbon footprint than many comparable.

2. Another leading light in the area is “The Connection Crew”, a winner of Deloitte’s 2012 “Social Innovation Pioneers” award. 25% of this London-based crewing & AV company are ex-homeless people who have been trained up as technicians and crew for events.

3. At a 10,000 pax conference our team supported in Asia, a marketplace was constructed at the conference centre for 40 local artisans and community groups to sell organic produce, handmade artefacts and gifts made from responsible materials on site. Co-ordinated by our ground team, this powerful tool, ensured both the organisers and delegates spend was supporting long term economic prosperity in a developing nation.

4. All our Ovation offices can offer clients a selection of charities to partner with but our caring team in Barcelona chose one charity to focus their energy on over last year.  Fundación Fátima is home to 32 children aged between 0 and 12 years without families. With Spain facing its biggest economic crisis ever and public funds being slashed to an absolute minimum, the orphanage was seriously struggling. By putting the Foundation at the centre of a engagement strategy, they organised a number of creative fundraising activities, personally took the children out on day trips to the zoo and FC Barcelona and partnered with Ovation client Symantec to support the shelter through their annual conference. After pitching for an event with Supermarket chain Lidl that included a CSR activity, Lidl decided not to run the event but still wanted to help Ovation’s chosen charity and donated Christmas presents to all the children.

5. Ovation’s Strategic Partner in Greece, Kipling Events, recently organised a community event to coincide with a company training academy. Using the same trainers who were in town to train the Ovation staff, Ovation invited 85 volunteers from Greek NGOs, foundations and associations to attend special sessions delivered by the Ovation experts. The results were transformational for those in attendance; by sharing management strategies from a high-growth global business the organisers were able to spark new thinking and energy in a sector really suffering the worst of the economic downturn.

The last example is potentially a game-changing CSR opportunity. Do you have the power to transform cities and countries where you hold events by using the intellectual capital held by those in attendance?

By thinking big, events have an opportunity to generate a stronger legacy in helping communities, supporting economic prosperity and protecting the environment.

Contact Ovation to find out how you can support and activate your corporate values through live events.

Discover the Power of Taking Action

Today Symantec released their first event sustainability report. Written by yours truly, this report celebrates the commitment of the software giant to organising more responsible and effective meetings.

For their flagship Vision conference organised in Barcelona, significant steps were taken to engage suppliers and implement better environmental event practices whilst on the social front they worked closely with NGO partners to support two community projects raising awareness about climate change and social issues.

MCI Sustainability Services were hired as an consultant, to review the sustainability processes, assess practices onsite, measure the event footprint and make recommendations for future improvement. As a conclusion to this stage of the journey we prepared this, the first event sustainability report to transparently disclose the sustainability approach, impacts and progress.

Key results achieved at this year’s event include:

  • $40,000 of costs were avoided through sustainability program
  • The venue, all key suppliers and 59% of the hotels provided sustainability measurement data. Carbon emissions were measured at 1,017 tons CO2e
  • 55% of event waste was diverted from landfill
  • 55% of all food served was sourced locally
  • $15,000 donated to community projects
  • Attendee satisfaction of the sustainability initiative was evaluated at 78%

Respect and congratulations go to the sustainability champion at Symantec – Claudia van’ t Hullenaar, from their EMEA events team. Claudia has demonstrated “the Power of Taking Action” , which became the theme for the report. A big salute goes to the CCIB Congress Center for their commitment and significant improvement in sustainable operating practices over the last few years; and also to all the suppliers who helped make this project a reality (WSP Environment & Energy, Events That Matter Ltd, BK Productions, A-Booth B.V., Kopfwerk, MCI Spain and Active Networks.)

In the words of Paul Salinger, VP Marketing Oracle: “Symantec is among a too small group of leaders who are active in pursuit of sustainable event innovation. The size and attendance at these type of events represents a tremendous opportunity to influence change in corporations, destinations and venues around the world. I commend Symantec for their approach.  At Oracle, our focus on sustainable events has helped us to significantly improve our environmental footprint, avoiding over $1 million in costs and driving innovation into the way we organize OpenWorld.” (check out his sustainability initiative and report at Oracle OpenWorld)

Horsemeat and the events industry

There is much soul-searching in the UK and now the wider European Union after the discovery of horsemeat in a large number of beef products.  Discovered in both lower quality products and supermarket chains right up to the more costly and reputable options, the story is rapidly evolving across the F&B and retail industries. Although some of our continental cousins regular dine on “steak cheval”, this constitutes a major scandal for the public at large and the EU are scrambling to advise their national members. Read latest developments here  . More than 200 million beef burgers have been withdrawn from sale in the last month in Ireland alone and the crisis threatens to sully some very large brands, notably Findus who’s 100% beef lasagnes products, whether 320g, 360g or 500g all have horsemeat present.

So what has this got to do with the meetings industry ,or for the sake of this article -the “meatings industry”?

Price isn’t everything

The principle lesson is  that price is not everything- those among us in procurement in any sector would be wise to focus on seeking value rather than the lowest price- if you force your suppliers to make unhealthy cuts, evidence illustrates they will have less qualms about making unhealthy and in some cases immoral decisions.

Image

Courtesy of Thinkstock

Know your Suppliers

It seems simple, but many organisations do not know where there are getting their goods from and in this case, even what those goods are. For our business we build deep relationships with our suppliers, in many countries we’ve actually organised what’s called the “MCI Pub” where we invite all our local suppliers to a social event just to get to know them better and build relationships. Senior staff become waiters for the evening and serve the suppliers in an ironic reversal. For more advanced clients, we evaluate the sustainability credentials of all the hotels for their event and produce a ranking on the event website to consider along with price and star rating- such scorecards for the supply chain are increasingly evident across a number of industries.

The Search for Authentic Brands

In dark times such as these, customers are looking for brands they can trust- open, honest transparent and engaging brands. Think of all the authentic brands over the years that have been bought out by the larger corporations; Body Shop by L’Oreal, Innocent Smoothies by Coca Cola and Ben and Jerrys by Unilever just to name a few. People buy from brands they trust and we’ve helped a number of leading brands demonstrate their sustainability principles, really bringing their values alive through live events- the key touch point for your customer and suppliers to engage with the brand. For those among us who say “who cares about CSR?”.  Here’s the evidence- responsible business matters and if you aren’t taking responsibility seriously with your supply chain it might come back to haunt you, lets ask Findus in a few months time.

Local Sourcing

The good news to come out of this crisis is that the local town butcher across Europe will benefit greatly from the failure of companies to take responsibility seriously. When people ask us “how do we green our event?” . We answer simply, when it comes to F&B- FLOSS! Floss is the abbreviation for Fresh, Local, Organic, Sustainable and Seasonal and there’s a growing movement around the world promoting local suppliers to homes and industry- go check them out!

www.eatwellguide.org

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