APRIL 2021 | AMIMAGAZINE.GLOBAL
THE SUSTAINABLE ASSOCIATION
leaner | meaner | greener
FEATURING UN SDGs, #buildbackbetter, sustainable cities, the power of legacy, and muchmore…
Editor’s Comment: weighting game
38 48 50 54 56 66
Face to Face: Alexander Mohr, EFFA Day in the Life: Rebecca Murphy, SCAI
Tech Spec: member management
Case Study: ESPID, Rotterdam (or anywhere)
And Finally: material damage
Future Proof: the sustainable association Target Driven: a C02 reduction plan for meeting planners Green Streets: host cities flexing their eco-credentials Build Back Better #1: how a pandemic made associations stronger Build Back Better #2: how Covid-19 changed everything for associations
Editor: James Lancaster Senior Journalist: Holly Patrick Associate Editor: Sally Trelford Designer: Claire Gates
ADVERTISING & PRODUCTION Client Services Manager: Amanda Ludman Client Services Executive: Eloise Millen Group Commercial Director UK: Ross Barker Account Directors: Charlotte Bliss, Martin Balmer, Connie Magner, Brett Dempsey Data & Client Services Executive: Johan Skogqvist NORTHSTAR MEETINGS GROUP UK Managing Director UK: David Chapple Group Marketing Director: Rochelle Jayawardena Portfolio Marketing Manager: Alex Softley Senior Marketing Executive: Emily Roberts Senior Circulation Executive: Nick Nunhofer
Digital Manager: Stacy Taylor Head of Events: Emma Gordon
Images: © 123RF
The Greater Good: why some associations take legacy seriously Act in Haste: why good record-keeping is so important
The publishers cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions, although the utmost care is taken that information contained is accurate and up-to-date. Published by: Northstar Meetings Group, The Old Stables, Pippingford Park, Millbrook Hill, Nutley, TN22 3HW
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: amimagazine.global Tel: +44 (0) 1342 306700
ISSN 0953-2803 © Northstar Meetings Group
AMIMAGAZINE.GLOBAL APRIL 2021 3
30 SEPTEMBER - 1 OCTOBER 2021
WE ARE MOVING. This year’s showwill take place on Thursday 30 September and Friday 1 October 2021. Relocating to ExCeL London - with its excellent transport connections and expansive show floor, will help to ensure your comfort and safety at all times.
Come and join your industry colleagues in supporting the recovery of the business meetings and events industry at The Meetings Show 2021.
F I ND OUT MOR E AT TH E ME E T I NG S S HOW. COM
WE ARE EVENTS. WE ARE MEETINGS. WE ARE INCENTIVES.
E D I T O R ’ S L E T T E R
SUSTAINABLE MEETINGS: A WEIGHTING GAME
J AM E S L A N C A S T E R , E D I T O R , A M I
n recent years, the environmental impact of international
nations might have been lost if this had been attempted online. COP is promoted as ameeting between nations, but it is actually a meeting between people, and sometimes the trust that comes from being physically present is the only way to overcome doubt and suspicion. Getting countries to commit to substantive plans to curb global warming is the task facing leaders when they meet in Glasgow later this year, hopefully in-person. While Covid-19 has allowed remote meeting technology a chance to shine, it has also exposed its limitations, which is why a binary ‘in-person versus online’ debate is fundamentally flawed. International meetings help advance our understandingof avast rangeof important subjects and deciding which ones matter more than others – get a pass to meet physically – is a futile task. The future will be a mixture of virtual, in-person, and hybrid – and the weighting of each component will depend on the specific ambitions of the meeting measured against its environmental impact. As we slowly emerge from lockdown, associations must decide this for themselves. Enjoy the magazine!
conferences has been dragged into the public discourse around climate change. It is not difficult to see why this has happened.Most international conferences purport to do good, and yet, when it comes to the single greatest challenge of our age, it often looks like they do bad. But rarely are things so straightforward. Travel restrictions resulting from the coronavirus pandemic might have sharpened the debate around large in- person gatherings, with some arguing technology is the greener alternative. But the postponement of COP26 and other important environmental meetings, including theUN’sKunmingBiodiversity Summit, shows us what could be at stake if international travel were not to resume. For anyone familiar with Zoom fatigue, it is impossible to imagine how the negotiations needed to secure the landmark Paris Agreement at COP21, for example, could have been achieved online. For two weeks in 2015, the leaders of 196 countries huddled in meetings, wrangling over dense text, scrutinising every sub-clause, before finally reaching an agreement. Besides the technical challenges – each session had to be translated in real time in the UN’s six languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish – it is easy to see how the voices of smaller
ON DEMAND Click here to watch AMI’s sustainability webinar It explains in practical terms why it is important for associations to embrace sustainability and how they can play a strong leadership role in helping to make the planet a better place to live. Our expert panellists also explore how associations can influence member behaviour and lead from the front, by embedding sustainability into their daily operations, including their meetings and events.
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AMBASSADORS PROVE WORTH IN THE AGE OF COVID
twelve months,” the bureau’s head of conventions, Aileen Crawford, said. Elsewhere Dubai landed the World Marinas Conference 2021, World Congress of Direct Selling 2023, and World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems 2024, during the heat of the Covid-19 crisis. All three events were secured with the help of members of the Al Safeer Congress Ambassador Programme, who include scientists, doctors, academics, and business leaders.
DESTINATIONS WITH strong conference ambassador programmes may have stolen a march on their competitors during lockdown, with several cities securing a rostrum of major association meetings. Glasgow – whose convention bureau was one of the rst to use local experts and industry leaders to help bid for conferences – won 28 events via its ambassador programme, including the 2022 Council for Advancement and Support of Education Europe Annual Conference and the 2022 bi- annual AMA SERVSIG Conference. “Never has partnership working been more signicant than during the last
BUT CAN INTELLECTUAL CAPITALS DO WITHOUT?
MEANWHILE was named the ‘intellectual capital’ of the world in a report ranking cities by the number of international association board members who live there. But – like most of the cities which made up the Top 20 – it had a low ‘harnessing ratio’. GainingEdge, the meetings industry consulting rm, concentrated on associations that hold conferences for more than 500 people when ranking the Top 50 cities in the world. Paris, Tokyo, New York, and Beijing follow London in descending order, followed by Seoul, Sydney, Singapore, Madrid and Washington who make up the Top 10. GainingEdge says its report – Leveraging Intellectual Capital of Convention Destinations – will help cities build ambassador programmes LONDON
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and pursue a more targeted approach to bidding for events. Cities with high ‘harnessing ratios’ – those where there was a strong correlation between number of international meetings hosted and local leaders – included Prague (89.7%), Vancouver (74.1%), Dublin (70.4%), Montreal (68.7%) Berlin, (60.2%) and Lisbon (64.6%). A high ratio suggests convention bureaux in these cities might be better at engaging with local board members when bidding for events. London has a low ratio of just 16.6%and New York even lower at 7.6%. It could just be that the size of these cities makes identifying potential ambassadors too onerous a task. Singapore was the only top 20 city to have a high harnessing ration (47.3%).
THE CITY THAT’S RARING TO GO…
SINGAPORE, WHOSE response to the coronavirus pandemic has been widely praised, is now in the vanguard of eorts to kickstart international business events. e city-state will allow 750-delegate meetings from April 24. One of the few nations to implement an eective contact tracing system, Singapore is turning to technology again to get people meeting face to face. Its most eye-catching initiative sees business travellers swerving quarantine by entering an elaborate ‘bubble’, involving dedicated airport transfers, oor-to-ceiling glass partitions, one-way doors, shopping apps, and ‘contactless gyms’. e pilot scheme at Singapore Expo – called Connect@Changi – is aimed at facilitating small meetings of senior leaders, legal negotiators, wealth managers, private bankers, and sales directors, who can ‘see’ their local hosts (through a glass divider), without breathing on them. Meanwhile ag-carrier Singapore Airlines signed up to trial the ‘rst full deployment’
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of the International Air Transport Association Travel Pass app. e app, which stores and manages passengers’ Covid certications and documents needed to enter a country, was trialled from Monday 15 March 28 March. If successful, the Travel Pass app will be integrated into Singapore Airline’s passenger process in mid-2021.
Deep Dive: Jeffers Miruka, President AfSAE: ‘Being a volunteer is not about your CV’
BUT WHAT ABOUT MEETING PLANNERS?
PLANNERS THEMSELVES are getting more condent that business is coming back – in the US at least. According to Northstar Meetings Group’s latest PULSE Survey (Feb. 18 to March 2), 81 per cent of meeting planners will hold their next in-person event sometime this year. Most of that business (59 per cent) will fall in the second half of 2021. Just 19 per cent will hold their next real-life gathering in 2022 or later. Almost a quarter (22 per cent) of the survey’s 929 respondents will hold or will have held face- to-face events by the end of the second quarter. Interestingly association meeting planners were the most optimistic. Planners in Europe show more caution about resuming face-to-face events, and more reliance on virtual and hybrid meeting formats, found a concurrent UK PULSE Survey conducted by Northstar’s UK-based titles AMI and Meetings & Incentive Travel. Here 70 per cent of planners expect to hold their next in- person event this year. e survey found that most respondents expect to hold their next in- person or hybrid meeting in the second half of the year, with 32 per cent in Q3 and 29 per cent in Q4. 64 per cent of planners were ‘mostly planning virtual events.’
Deep Dive: Mike van der Vijver, Co-founder MindMeeting.org: ‘Meetings need much clearer objectives’
Five Minutes With… Sharon Ashton, Events director, EURORDIS: ‘I have several coping mechanisms’
Five Minutes With… Alain Pittet, Ega Worldwide, ‘We had to evacuate 6,000 people….’
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READY TO WELCOME THE WORLD
Call +27 21 410 5000, email email@example.com or visit www.cticc.co.za
S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y
Through their mission statements, member engagement strategies, and sectoral leadership roles, associations are well placed to drive the sustainability agenda. But what does this mean in practice?
J AM E S L A N C A S T E R R E P O R T S …
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priorities. Nevertheless, the association takes its environmental responsibilities seriously. In fact, sustainability is the theme of its next conference in June 2021, now happening virtually because of COVID-19 travel restrictions. Each item ontheprogramme is linkedtoat leastoneof the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including the launch of an environmental manifesto which will provide guidelines of good practice for all those in the editing and scholarly publishing industries. The event was originally scheduled to be held in Valencia, last year, and would have piloted various environmental initiatives: choosing a conference venue within easy walking distance of delegates accommodation; sharing transport from the airport, swapping plastic for china; and choosing a meat-free menu. They had planned to offer delegates the opportunity to pay an offset fee on their travel emissions when registering, which would provide a fund to support a local Spanish project who regenerate abandoned olive groves, providing employment for local people with learning difficulties and, through judicious pruning and pest control, increase the trees’ carbon-capture properties. It is hoped this initiative will be rolled over to 2022. Although the next in-person conference (now planned for June 2022) will now have a different theme, Mary is confident that ‘much of this good stuff’ will remain. “In fact, we are planning to donate a contribution from the registration fees of thisyear’svirtual conference tosupporting planting new trees in the country of the delegate, through the Plant for the Planet
HEIGHTENED AWARENESS We know some of this might look like a token gesture,” says Mary Hodgson, secretary of the European Association of Science Editors (EASE) on the organisation’s decision to implement various environmental initiatives at their in-person events, “but it’s about raising awareness, and helping to move some of these ideas nearer the mainstream. We know one small conference going meat- free isn’t going to save the planet!” EASE is not a big association. It has 500 international members, and its biennial conference attracts around 120 people, with networking one of the main
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everything from secretarial functions, publishing, conferences and events. There has been a gradual shift away from print to digital publishing, for example, and where the latter persists, they have increased their focus on using sustainable carriers and recyclable paper. Like most associations, EASE
scheme. The coronavirus pandemic has only heightened awareness at EASE of the organisation’s environmental responsibilities and ‘sustainability’ she says, ‘is now a given’. And it is not just about the flagship congress. EASE has its own environmental policy, which covers
has had to monitor its overheads closely and relies heavily on event revenues. However, having held their first online conference last year for free at the height of the pandemic, Mary is confident of charging a fee
It’s about raising awareness and trying tomove some of these ideas nearer to the mainstream.
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Tami Williams, International Society for the Study of Early Cinema, said: “The pandemic taught us that a virtual conference not only reduces our carbon footprint, but also increases internationalism and accessibility. However, what we have not fully
challenges facing society. The goals comprise 17 targets – from climate action to peace and justice, gender equality to the eradication of poverty – aimed at creating a ‘better and fairer society’ for everyone by 2030. When we talk about associations aligning with the SDGs, it is worth
this time round and delivering excellent value to delegates. EASE is cognisant that good economic practice often chimes with good environmental practice. “Many of the changes we have made were originally driven by a need to economise,” saysMary, “the bonus is that it had a very positive effect on our sustainability in terms of our business model and the planet!” GOAL ORIENTATED Increasingly, international associations are using the UN SDGs, which take an all- encompassing view of sustainability, to engage with the some of the most pressing
grasped yet is the difference between
virtual and face-to-face conference in terms of financial costs.”
remembering that most will do so in relation to the trade, profession, or field of study they represent.That might sound like stating the obvious, but it is also possible to view associations themselves as a discrete ‘sector’. There is no reason why associations should not apply the SDGs in both ways. But the tendency is to look at how the goals can be met through advocacy and the activities of their members, an approach which aligns more strictly with their purpose and is likely to have a greater impact on society. This is particularly true of trade associations who can have a huge influence on corporate sustainability through the knowledge and leadership they provide their vast memberships. Associations can mobilize the private sector in support of key development projects by brokering sector-specific partnership projects; they understand issues that arematerial to their members; and they are well equipped to offer sector-specific advice and guidance on key sustainability issues. However, Chloe Menhinick (left) , communications director at
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all 17 of the SDGs, which Menhinick argues, is ‘stretching the agenda of an association to the point where it would be dicult to make eective change’. She said there were four ways associations should be interacting with the goals: raising awareness that the SDGs exist, strengthening the connection their members have to the 2030 agenda, becoming active agents for change, and embodying what it means to be an SDG-driven organisation. Her own association, for example, has established a sustainability charter, which is a pledge to nd ways to
the International Currency Association, says associations are still at a ‘very early’ point on the learning curve when it comes to the SDGs. “Associations represent sectors, so their primary role here is to help their members become agents for change in light of the SDGs. at is the really crucial role that associations are positioned to play, that is their main role in society. But, despite this, I don’t think associations have really understood the important role they can play in this discussion around the SDGs.” A common mistake was to align with
MAKING A POSITIVE IMPACT CASE STUDY
The European Association of International Education (EAIE) has specifically aligned itself with two sustainable development goals – number 4, which seeks to increase access to ‘Quality Education’ and number 12, which is focused on Responsible Consumption and Production. The latter is applied to its own portfolio of meetings and events, specifically its flagship event. In 2019 the association made a step-change by organising its annual conference and exhibition in Helsinki according to ISO 20121 – the international standard for sustainable events. To achieve this, it worked hand-in-hand with host venue, the Messukeskus Convention Centre, who used the event as a pilot for hosting future events in a more environmentally friendly way. The conference was EAIE’s largest to date, drawing 6,200 delegates, and included a smorgasbord of
measures to reduce its carbon footprint and any waste the event would typically generate. This meant: Around 13,000 trees were planted to offset aviation emissions. All printed materials were produced by a carbon-neutral printer. A ‘vegetarian day’ cut emissions by 419,742 CO2 kg. A tap water promotion resulted in 9,000 fewer plastic bottles. Free public transport reduced emissions by around 968 CO2 kg. 6,500 fair trade conference bags were distributed. And thegoodworkdidnot stop there. Sustainability was also embedded into the conference programme, with 18 sessions dedicated to sustainable development and ethics. Delegates took part in a NetWalking Community Day, picking up 20 bags of litter, and three charities were supported by the conference: Finnish Red Cross, Park Pals, and IceHearts.
Sabrina van Spijker, (above) EAIE senior events coordinator, said: “I thought it was such a unique way of working together with a venue, as everybody had the same mind-set and presented sustainable alternatives or at least made you aware of your options. As a young professional, as for many other people in the field, sustainability is very important and a shared problem, which we should tackle together.”
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continuously innovate in order to make the cash sector more sustainable. “Every sector has a role to play,” says Menhinick. “For example, in the currency sector there is fierce debate around polymer and cotton bank notes: which is the most sustainable option? It’s not immediately obvious. But regardless of that, the industry is able to come together and say we need to look at the entire supply chain, here, and see where we can make improvements.”
manager at FIDI Global Alliance, an international association of moving and relocation companies, said organisations should advance with clear aims. “Change without foresight and thoughtfulness is chaos,” she said. “Many organisations don’t have in-house experts, or the budget to hire consultants, and as with any other change process, it’s about creating conditions for people to engage with ‘big problems’, assessing the organisation and the members’ readiness for this change and getting key opportunities for change organised.” She urged associations to think about what sustainability means to them. Associations represent sectors, so their primary role here is to help their members become agents for change.
DEFINING THE PROBLEM Carolina Goradesky (right) , conference
Bridget Chisholm, International Leadership Association, said: “As global congress organisers we have a responsibility to our constituents and others to take seriously, and do something about, the carbon footprint our industry creates.”
“We need to define what we mean by sustainability in the context of our business and pinpoint how we’re able to tackle, measure and produce positive impact consistently.
Sustainability is about 17 intertwined development areas, environment being one of them. Also, wemust contextualise how to make this work for people (or they won’t engage) and independently of governance cycles.”
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I S S U E : C A R B ON TA R G E T
Is it time for meeting planners to commit to net zero? A carbon reduction framework – backed by the UN – might be the way to go. James Lancaster reports…
ssociation meeting planners all over the world could soon be pledging to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. An ‘ambitious’ roadmap to create a carbon reduction target for the business events sector was discussed at an industry roundtable – with all eyes on COP26 for the big launch. UK-based Positive Impact Events is hoping to raise £30,000 to drive the project, which would be delivered under the auspices of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Other sectors – like sport and fashion – have already committed to UN-backed sectoral carbon targets to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement to limit global heating to 1.5 degrees. The aim would be for the UK events A
sector to create a template for carbon reduction, ahead of COP26 in Glasgow in November, that could be copied by event professionals worldwide. Positive Impact Events CEO Fiona Pelham said a target for events was ‘an idea whose time had come’. She said: “The compelling future is the UK Prime Minister standing up at the COP conference and announcing that the UK has taken a sector devastated by Covid-19 and built it back better, that the UK is a place to bring your events to because we can deliver them in a sustainable way, that the UK now has skills in sustainability that can be exported, and the UK events sector has a carbon target and reduction plan that other countries can now join.” She added: “There is a gap in the fact that the events sector will be involved in
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change needed from government and businesses and individual around the world. The climate debate is a perfect illustration of the role events play in spreading knowledge, ideas, skills, and best practice across borders.” Simon Evans, director at EcoBooth, said: “We’re hugely in support of any initiatives like this for two key reasons: the critical and environmental need for it and the environmental benefits that
the logistics to make sure this incredibly important event on sustainability (COP 26) can take place, but the sector itself is not currently engaged in the solutions that are being discussed.” Miguel Naranjo, programme officer at UNFCCC, described how a carbon target and framework could be created for the events sector – and said COP26 was the incentive to ‘do it now’. He said, with Positive Impact acting as secretariat, an ‘ambitious timeline’ could see the framework being completed in four months and presented at COP26. Businesses in the sector would join the framework as ‘members’ and have ‘a voice and a vote’ in shaping it. Hesaid:“Itisvoluntaryandcollaborative – but it needs to be ambitious: net zero by 2050 is the basis. And it needs to be transparent, so everyone outside the sector can see what we are doing.” Theresa Villiers, chair of the UK’s All- Party Parliamentary Group for Events, said the ‘top priority’ was to find a way to get the sector – devastated by Covid-19 – open again, but that it was ‘striking’ that public interest in ‘environmental matters’ had been ‘undimmed’ by the pandemic. She said: “The events sector has a central role because international action on climate change and all environmental issues have been pushed forward by a series of major conferences, without these big, global gatherings, there would be no chance of driving the
A sector framework could galvanise that small momentum and turn it into somethingmuch more significant.
would come from it. And secondly, this is a global issue and any government or sector that acts on this now is going to be leading on it, so there is obviously a competitive advantage for the events sector in the UK getting this right. We’ve seen the events sector grappling with it over the years, but it’s not enough: it’s not quick enough and the UNFCCC sector framework could galvanise that small momentum and turn it into something much more significant.” Positive Impact Events said £30,000
was needed to carry out crucial market research
Visit www.positiveimpactevents.com for more information.
and a marketing campaign to maximise support across the sector for the initiative.
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With talk turning to a green recovery following the devastating impact of Covid-19, the pressure is on event planners and cities to join the fight against the climate crisis.
WO R D S B Y H O L LY PAT R I C K
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ethical obligation and a new understanding of the connectedness of our actions with our planet
cientists agree we have nine years to halve global emissions to give us a fighting
and society, and other objectives are simply the result of not wanting to be left behind,” explains GDS MD Guy Bigwood (right) .
chance of keeping temperatures at 1.5C – the best-case scenario of the Paris Agreement. But is the association meetings sector pulling its weight? The 2020 Regenerative Revolution Report by the Global Destination Sustainability (GDS) Movement, suggests it’s going in the right direction, revealing that 96 per cent of event organisers considered sustainability important or extremely important, up from 91 per cent pre-Covid. “Some motivation stems from moral and
“At a high-level, I believe that the pandemic has driven us to confront the global threat of climate change more forcefully and to consider how, like the pandemic, it will alter our lives.” But the choices we make going forward will determine if we thrive or fail in the future. We explore six destinations that are flexing their green credentials.
KEY AN EXTRA COMMITMENT C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group 97 cities, represented by their mayors, tackling climate change, driving urban action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increasing health and wellbeing, and creating economic opportunities for urban citizens.
Global Destination Sustainability Index Destination level
programme to measure, benchmark, and improve sustainability strategies and performance of meetings,
events and business tourism destinations.
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Becomingacarbon‐neutralcityincludesrethinking inner‐city mobility. In addition to existing e-bikes and e-scooters, delegates will soon be able to jump aboard a hydrogen‐powered water taxi. Rotterdam’s ZeroWasteVenues initiative, includes venues such as SS Rotterdam, Rotterdam Ahoy and Blijdorp Zoo working together to eliminate food waste at events through better processing. Meanwhile Rotterdam Ahoy plans to install a solar roof, providing power for the halls and more than 300 households in the area. In 2025, the venue will host the World Energy Congress, under the theme ‘Sustainable energy for all.’
ROTTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS With ambitions of
C40 : Yes GDS Index : Yes, not
becoming carbon neutral by 2050, Rotterdam is implementing signicant changes to move away
currently benchmarked Sustainability strategy : Rotterdam Energy Transition Plan 2050
from fossil fuels. e city has invested in several sustainability projects including a recycled oating park in Rijnhaven, made from captured sea plastics and transformed into a public green space, and Stadgas, an incinerator that turns more than 80,000 kilograms of organic waste into biogas daily. “We aim to become a city in which resilience thinking has been anchored in daily life, as well as in the actions taken by companies, institutions, government and citizens,” explains Catherine Kalamidas of Rotterdam Partners Convention Bureau. “Specically, we are working towards the goals of a balanced society, clean and reliable energy, a climate-resilient Rotterdam to the next level, 21st century‐ready infrastructure, and a sustainable future.” The pandemic has driven us to confront the global threat of climate change more forcefully.
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND In 2016, Glasgow shot into 4th place in the GDS-Index and has stayed there since. How? By not resting on its laurels.
C40 : Not yet GDS Index : 4th
Sustainability strategy : People Make Glasgow Greener (CVB)
Host to this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), the city wants to become the UK’s rst carbon-neutral city by 2030. In conjunction with COP26, the Glasgow Convention Bureau is running a project with
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Our experience is that our approach rubs o and sustainability becomes interesting and important to planners.
Green Tourism and Scottish Enterprise to give a 50 per cent discount to Glasgow’s hotels to gain green accreditation ahead of the conference. “If ever there was a conference that embodied the importance of face-to-face meetings to drive and deliver societal benets, it is COP26,” says Aileen Crawford, head of Glasgow Convention Bureau. “As conference host city, 1,000 locally based volunteers will be engaged with the conference, the delegates, and the key messages, bringing citizens, community and the conference together as a positive legacy of the event.” In 2019, 15 per cent of all conferences in the city were in the eld of sustainability and if delegates are wondering what to do between keynotes, Glasgow’s 90 parks, gardens, and many free museums and galleries are a good place to start.
a public-private project and testbed called Gothenburg Green City Zone – which is a large geographic zone of the city where we test new technology for both vehicles and infrastructure, the aim is to achieve 100 per cent emission- free transport,” says Katarina orstensson, sustainability strategist &destination development manager, Goteborg & Co. All major venues are eco-certied and 92 per cent of the hotel rooms hold an ocial eco-certication. Even the Opera House, Concert Hall and the amusement park are eco-certied. Gothenburg is often praised for its intimacy and accessibility, enhanced by its public transport system, 95 per cent of which runs on renewable energy. ere are more than 1,000 city rental bikes available at 60 stations across the city. Delegates can also hop on an electric scooter for a carbon- neutral ride. “If the association or the event planner doesn’t initially ask for sustainability, when we explain our ambitions and how we and suppliers work, it’s usually very well received,” adds orstensson. “Our experience is that our approach rubs o and sustainability becomes interesting and important to the planners.”
GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN Gothenburg has earned its number one spot in the GDS-Index through continued investment in sustainability initiatives, a
C40 : Not yet GDS Index : 1st Sustainability strategy : Goteborg & Co. for meetings and Gothenburg City for tourism
cohort of eco-certied venues, and an airport with the highest level of Airport Carbon Accreditation. In 2019, Gothenburg was also named a European Capital of Smart Tourism for its commitment to accessibility, sustainability, digitalisation and cultural heritage. But there is still more to be done. “We have
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BARCELONA, SPAIN Having already achieved its Biosphere Certification and pioneered traffic superblocks to remove cars
C40 :Yes GDS Index : 17th Sustainability strategy : Barcelona’s Climate Plan 2018 – 2030
ONES TO WATCH
Sapporo, Japan Sapporo City is designated as one of Japan’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Future Cities. The Sapporo Convention Bureau (SCB) is currently working with Meet4Impact, a non-profit organisation helping destinations develop sustainability strategies.
from certain areas, Barcelona has now become the first European city, and second in the world, to endorse the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, an initiative to phase-out fossil fuels. The balance of environmental and community initiatives is fully weaved into the meetings and events structure too. “We cannot think of an event in Barcelona that does not embrace the principles of sustainability,” says Barcelona Tourism’s sustainable & accessible tourism director Josep Maria Gómez. “The principles of waste reduction, recycling and reuse are fully incorporated from the very conception of the meeting. Barcelona has included the concept of ‘legacy’ as something inseparable from events. Congresses and meetings must not only reduce their ecological footprint but also leave a better city with knowledge transfer and improved infrastructures.” One example is the Donation Room, developed in collaboration with Barcelona City Council, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat City Council and Fira de
Athens, Greece The Athens Development and Destination Management Agency (ADDMA) recently became a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and is working toward GSTC certification, training, and consultation with local stakeholders. It’s also creating a Sustainable Tourism Observatory that will collaborate with local universities and global partners.
Barcelona, which provides an outlet for materials, equipment and furniture left over from the annual Mobile World Congress (GSMA). Once the fair is
over and the surplus has been inventoried, non-profit organisations transport it to the warehouse where it is finally distributed to third sector organisations. The Barcelona International Convention Centre (CCIB) has two renewable energy sources: a 1 kW wind turbine and five solar panels of 0.25 kW each. The venue also uses carbon credits to balance its CO2 emissions. These credits are used for various environmental projects, contributing to improving the local environment and encourages planners to calculate the carbon footprint of the events.
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Tirol, Austria Convention Bureau Tirol has begun the process of joining the GDS Index to help develop a sustainability strategy that measures the status quo of the services offered by convention centres, conference hotels, event agencies and other event partners.
Valencia, Spain Visit Valencia has recently joined the GDS Index to continue its existing sustainability efforts. Competing in the GDS Index will reveal its biggest growth indicators and areas for improvement. Other efforts include the Sustainable Tourism Strategy, which began at the beginning of 2020. It is committed to achieving carbon-neutral tourism activity by 2025.
Singapore Tourism has been working on the MICE 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) Toolkit, an initiative of the MICE 3R taskforce comprising Singapore Tourism Board (STB), the National Environment Agency (NEA) and members of the Singapore Association of Conference and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (SACEOS). In 2013, Sands Expo & Convention Centre launched its Sands ECO360 Green Meetings Programme and went from hosting around five sustainable events to more than 300 by 2018. Its green efforts include data capture and lighting motion sensors across its 250 meeting rooms. Food is high on the agenda, too, with the programme offering the Harvest Menu - locally sourced food and drink options to reduce food miles and the Earth-Friendly Menu featuring organic, Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance certified ingredients. If there are any leftovers, they get converted to biogas in the five on-site anaerobic digesters. Singapore has a vision to reimagine the future of travel and to become the world’s most sustainable urban destination.
SINGAPORE The city state’s major green initiatives include harvesting every drop of water to reuse endlessly,
C40 :Not yet GDS Index : Not yet
Sustainability strategy : Singapore Green Plan 2030
improving its energy intensity (the amount of energy consumed for its GDP) by 35 per cent by 2030, investing in solar power with the world’s largest floating solar farm and achieving an 80 per cent rate of green mark Certification buildings by 2030. “In November 2020, Singapore Tourism Board unveiled a new vision to reimagine the future of travel, including an ambitious plan to be the world’s most sustainable urban destination and a place where businesses come to test-bed sustainable tourism products and experiences,” says Michael Rodriguez, area director northern & southwestern Europe, Singapore Tourism Board.
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VANCOUVER, CANADA Green by nature and green by virtue, Vancouver is a metropolis in the middle of a rainforest.
C40 : Yes GDS Index : Not yet
We have a reputation for leading the way in green building, planning, and technology - andwe’ve still got big plans.
Sustainability strategy : Greenest City Action Plan
The Canadian city already has the lowest per- capita greenhouse gas emissions of any major city in North America and runs on 90 per cent renewable energy provided by its large supply of hydroelectricity. To reach its target of becoming the ‘greenest city in the world’, Vancouver has pledged 100 per cent renewable energy for its production and consumption needs. Part of the plan to achieve a completely green economy is expanding its transportation network which now includes buses, rail, the SkyTrain, commuter shuttles and SeaBus. In addition, cyclists and pedestrians have priority with city wide programmes that maintain natural beauty and green spaces along cycle and walking paths. Urban planning plays a big role in Vancouver’s green future with initiatives to only build upwards, not outwards and retrofitting buildings to make them more energy efficient.
“As the birthplace of Greenpeace and on track to being Canada’s greenest city, we have a reputation for leading the way in green building, planning and technology, with the smallest per capita carbon footprint in North America. And while that makes us proud, we’ve still got big plans – like aiming to reduce emissions by 80 per cent and be 100 per cent powered by renewable energy by 2050,” explains Michael Drake Tourism Vancouver director of sales, meetings & conventions, Canada-International. Vancouver’s flagship venue, the Vancouver ConventionCentre(VCC)isflyingthesustainability flag high. The LEED Platinum-certified VCC has
an on-site wastewater treatment plant and 400,000 indigenous plants on the green roof. It has also been certified as a ‘healthy venue’ by the World Obesity Federation for its encouragement to get delegates travelling by foot. In Vancouver, giving back to residents is as important as not destroying the Earth, evident at the VCC with its ‘Binner’ programme. To bolster the venue’s recycling efforts, members of society who previously had to find food in bins have been employed by the centre, given T-shirts and badges, and tasked with ensuring recycling is properly sorted.
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S P ON S O R E D C ON T E N T
WINDS OF CHANGE: BUILDING LEGACIES IN COPENHAGEN In a time andworldwhere associations are reviewing their entire value-chain, why not consider the legacy of your congress, too? Why not co-create more value, stronger partnerships and greater solutions, directly linked to the association’s vision and goals? In Copenhagen, the local CVB - Wonderful Copenhagen Convention Bureau – has decided to ‘walk the talk’. The result is Copenhagen Legacy Lab (CLL), a strategic initiative designed to help international associations achieve long-term positive impacts from their global events.
W ith the current pandemic, climate crisis and subsequent changes in the meetings industry landscape, maximising the value of events is more important than ever. Questions are being put forward: Why do we meet? What is the purpose of an event? What is its legacy? What is it a catalyst for, and how can it be measured? How can we continue to justify flying thousands of delegates around the world? How can we best be part of the solution, not the problem? Having invested in a PHD study on the value of academic events, worked intensively with MeetDenmark and BestCities on legacy and taking its findings further, Copenhagen Legacy Lab is an exciting and ongoing initiative out of Copenhagen. Copenhagen Legacy Lab presents a methodology which assists associations, together with the destination, in identifying and developing concrete activities to be implemented before, during and after the
congress. Activities that can leave a long term, wider societal impact and can help reach the common objectives of the meeting. “By bringing together the association management with committed destination stakeholders, new strategic partnerships can be formed across industries, research projects initiated, policies improved
CONTACT Have a chat or e-meet with Annika Rømer, the new Senior Manager at Copenhagen Legacy Lab, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org Follow and share information
and community engagement enhanced,” says Bettina Reventlow- Mourier, Deputy Convention Director at Copenhagen Convention Bureau. “That is why we now offer a systematic approach to achieving these goals, where together we can bring greater value to future meetings.”
by Copenhagen CVB on LinkedIn
Learn more about how Copenhagen is creating a world leading innovation hub on legacy, its legacy thoughts and tools, and best practice cases available at wonderfulcopenhagen.com/cll
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# B U I L D B A C K B E T T E R 1
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HOW A PANDEMIC STRENGTHENED ASSOCIATIONS
B Y: D E R MO T R YA N , A C C O U N T D I R E C T O R , K . I . T. G R O U P A S S O C I AT I ON A N D C ON F E R E N C E M A N A G E M E N T
t is hard to find silver linings in COVID-19. We are more than the associations we work for and some in the sector have been deeply affected by COVID-19 through illness and loss. Staff members have been made redundant, or temporary contracts have not been renewed, putting additional pressure on already strained teams. Congress and meetings teams have been stressed by rescheduling and cancelling events or creating new digital programmes. Fears about the future are I
shared by many in the sector. Our volunteer leaders in medical associations have been battling COVID-19 in their hospitals and practices while simultaneously trying to steer their associations through the crisis. Lost revenue may mean difficult decisions need to be taken about much- loved programmes. But it is not all doom and gloom. Here are six reasons that associations may emerge from the pandemic more resilient.
The pandemic has stimulated many associations to shake off a “we have always done it that way” mentality. Many have stepped back and, in some cases, changed focus, which could lead to longer-term strategic benefits. Internal processes have been rethought. There have been new discussions about member benefits and more time spent considering the creation of partnerships. 1 DISRUPTION CAN FOSTER INNOVATION
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# B U I L D B A C K B E T T E R 1
COVID-19 has acted as an accelerator for certain trends – not necessarily created new ones. e challenges were there and would have to be dealt with at some point. Associations that operate in an increasingly crowded and competitive meetings landscape have been encouraged to look at the viability of certain meetings and the meeting cycle of others. ey are now more than before open to potential collaboration/synergies with other societies; there is increasing concern about the carbon imprint of air travel and the pandemic may stimulate potential attendees to break old patterns. ey may limit the number of conferences they attend or focus on national and regional gatherings. Finally, the drop in meeting revenue has reminded some associations that a lack of diversied revenue streams is an existential risk – and spurred creative thinking about how to generate new sources of income. RATHER THAN LATER 2 FACING CHALLENGES SOONER
Digital meetings have come of age; internal resistance to virtual has been broken down. New audiences have been reached; oldbarriers to participation, such as nancial and childcare responsibilities, have gone and heralded new inclusivity; new revenue streams have emerged, both in terms of digital registration for meetings and webinars supported by industry. Discussions with sponsors have evolved to year-round engagement.ere is more interactivity in virtual sessions with higher audience participation using Q&A, chat, and polls. MORE REACH AND MORE MONEY FROM DIGITAL EVENTS 3
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STRONGER COMMUNITIES 4
COVID-19 has proven that the mobile oce can work. If associations can harness this, it will open them up to a wider and more diverse workforce. Associations can downsize ‘bricks and mortar’ i.e., their physical headquarters, with hot-desking and remote working. Using association management companies to scale up or down in certain areas can increase agility. Sta have acquired new skills – particularly about digital events and risk management. e past year has also shown how important technology is, and this can convince association leaders that investments in upgrading and expanding technology, such as utilising articial intelligence fully, can help their organisations do things faster and cheaper. All our clients have successfully implemented virtual board and other governance meetings. ese tend to be shorter, more focused, and more ecient. Removing the constraints of busy diaries, and the need to travel has resulted in higher attendance. When we move back to in-person meetings, some of the learning will be carried forward. And meeting, hotel and travel costs have been saved. Every challenging situation presents opportunities. Associations that focus on the positives of the past year rather than trying to recreate what was done before will be better positioned for the future. IT IS POSSIBLE TO GOVERN VIRTUALLY 6 A HEADQUARTERS THAT IS MORE AGILE, MORE SKILLED, AND MORE COST EFFECTIVE 5
Most associations understand that one of the best ways to deal with the current crisis is to reach out and engage more than ever with their members and the wider community to ensure that their needs are being met. Examples include callingonmembers’expertise/experience to serve the entire community, more online activity in members’ areas, more advocacy, increased collaboration with other societies and with patient groups. Some associations have also oered programmes for free that have previously been restricted to their membership base. Targeted actions to specic membership segments have also proven to be successful.
Some associations have also oered
programmes for free that have previously been restricted to their membership base.
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# B U I L D B A C K B E T T E R 2
O L D E R , W I S E R Covid-19 left some international associations reeling – exposing flawed business models, clunky governance structures, and a general lack of digital savvy. Sowhat did it teach us? And how can organisations ensure they are better prepared for the next big shock?
I N T E R V I E W S : J AM E S L A N C A S T E R A N D H O L LY PAT R I C K
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