Outstanding! Sustainable conference hotels in and around Berlin
Sustainable locations are aware of the many points where you can think green – starting from energy and water supply to interior design and facilities, and the F&B options for guests. But those are just some of the most obvious points. There is also an array of social, ecological, economic and strategic aspects from the governance, risk and compliance (GRC) area. That soon leads to the question: Just how sustainable can a location actually be if it has various conference facilities, an adjoining hotel and a busy restaurant? So we asked our Sustainable Meetings Partners for the answer.
Landgut Stober: Award-winning pioneer
In 2000, Michael Stober acquired the Stober estate 20km west of Berlin. At that time, the estate was just a ruin, but as he says: “I immediately sensed this is a very special place.” At that time, he never could have realised that under 20 years later, Landgut Stober would have won the European Green Hotelier Award (2017) as well as the Meeting Experts Green Award 2019. Only gradually did he discover the history of the hotel and found that even 150 years ago the Borsig company, the then owner, had taken a green approach to running the estate – with home-grown produce, a Borsig health and welfare system, biomass air conditioning, heating powered by cattle slurry and its own irrigation system. In addition, by strictly applying the principle of recycling, the estate even introduced a zero-waste system in the mid-nineteenth century.
Through his interest in the estate’s history, Michael Stober arrived at a fundamental idea – he wanted to give people back part of that history. And so a location where in 1943 Dr. Ernst von Borsig junior was already inviting guests to conferences to think about a better future has now become a sustainable venue for meetings and congresses. Today, sustainability is evident in all aspects of the hotel and estate – two large wood chip plants and 12.5 hectares of own woodland provide wood-fired heating for the entire hotel; the WCs are supplied with water from a rainwater collection plant, while drinking water comes from a spring; and there is sufficient power from a photovoltaic plant to supply the future 300 rooms and 30 event rooms. In addition, the kitchen works with regional produce from the estate’s own garden and the surrounding area. But it’s not only that. The idea of sustainability is also conveyed to guests unobtrusively and with a shot of humour. “We not only offer customers what they need – but that little bit more as well by showing how sustainability can also be fun,” Stober explains. For example, guests in the hotel find themselves walking over an edible carpet. “It’s made from nearly 100% maize – so if guests don’t feel they have enough to eat, they can always eat the carpet,” laughs Stober. “Seriously, though, there are another 100,000 things you can do.” When it comes to sustainability, though, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The decisive factor, Stober adds, is constantly thinking about what more you can do and do better – and never stop asking that question. And as the following examples show, with that credo, even large conference hotels and locations can effectively implement a policy of sustainability.
Transparency and diversity: thinking ahead
Since 2008, Hotel Berlin, Berlin in the centre of the city has provided a sustainable conference location for international event planners. On a spreading 3000 square meters, Hotel Berlin, Berlin offers 21 event rooms for up to 550 participants. In the process of applying an extensive sustainability policy, the hotel already met the strict standards to become a Sustainable Meetings Berlin partner in 2018. The standards also include transparent procedures, i.e., an open approach to conveying the sustainable policy’s ideas and measures to staff and customers. The hotel also has its own dedicated sustainability team to implement ideas across all areas – not just in accommodation, F&B and event implementation, but also integrating external service providers and products.
The Seminaris Campus Hotel in Berlin’s south-west has also recently launched a transformation process as part of a commitment to implement sustainability across an entire hotel group with conference rooms. To achieve this goal, each hotel has a dedicated environmental officer and group driving the policy forwards. In Berlin, the measures include ISO certification and auditing to meet the Sustainable Meetings Berlin benchmarks. And introducing this broad development just goes to show – it is possible! Even if efficiently implementing sustainable measures goes beyond the remit of a single event partner or a single event, such factors as waste separation, avoiding packaging, exchanging old light sources, purchasing sustainable products, drinking straws of glass, incentives for travelling to Berlin by train and, of course, offers for sustainable event concepts with eco-friendly materials provide event planners with pointers for choosing a sustainable event location in Berlin.
The next step: Benefiting the common good
As an expert in sustainable event planning, Michael Stober knows this issue goes far beyond such evident measures as energy-efficient lighting, or beehives and solar power plants on the roof. “Many people are not aware of the ideas emerging from sustainability,” he notes. In future, the goals will also be focusing on giving something back from the profits to the workforce (for example, through company participation), the location and the region. That, says Stober, will be the next step. “If we can manage that, we really can create an economy for the common good, a socially sustainable society.” And that may have been just the vision which the old Borsig company had 150 years ago.
Sustainable planning: We are happy to support you!
- Planning an eco-friendly event in Berlin? From meetings and incentives to conferences and congresses – as event planners you can opt for one of the many sustainable locations in and around Berlin.
- We’ll be glad to help you with your event planning and realisation. Just contact us: convention@visitBerlin.de and browse our Meeting Guide Berlin to find the right venue for your event.