“We want to lead the global rankings for the most sustainable event destinations”
Since May 2021, the Berlin Convention Office of visitBerlin offers its Sustainable Event Guidelines to support organisers in planning sustainable events. In our interview, Kyra Reiter, Marketing Manager Conventions and Sustainable Meetings Berlin, explains how these guidelines can benefit different actors in the MICE sector and how they bring Berlin closer to its goal of becoming the world’s most sustainable destination.
Can you explain the idea behind the Sustainable Event Guidelines in one sentence?
The Sustainable Event Guidelines provide a range of measures and ideas for planning events which are not just more sustainable, but more socially responsible and greener as well – and, in this way, also more successful.
Why does the Berlin event sector need such guidelines?
The issue of sustainability has long become established in mainstream society – and many companies want to become involved and do what they can to help! We would like to support the sector in these efforts and work together to make Berlin more sustainable. Our aim is to encourage, raise awareness, and offer concrete advice.
Who are the Guidelines intended for?
The Guidelines provide a practical tool for event planners, but in principle can be used by any actors in the event sector. After all, to work effectively, sustainable event planning depends on the synergies between organisers, services, and consumers – and an awareness and appreciation of sustainability can only be heightened in that context. On our website, the Guidelines are available for free as a fillable PDF form.
In fact, though, sustainability can be part of every step in event planning at any time. Here, it’s important to remember this is not about perfection. Every step towards sustainability, no matter how small, is well worth taking.
How were the Guidelines developed – and what approach was taken?
Initially, the Sustainable Event Guidelines grew out of recognised frameworks such as the German Environment Agency (UBA) and GIZ guidelines as well as, for instance, international standards such as ISO 21021. In addition, we asked our partners, customers, and sustainability experts for feedback. With this wealth of information, we set about identifying the essential issues for our sector and our understanding of sustainability, and then bundling the key measures for each issue.
How are the Guidelines structured?
The Guidelines show how sustainable event planning and realisation can be put into practice in areas from communication to travel. In total, there are 13 areas for action – and each one is linked to concrete measures and KPIs to ensure measurability and comparability.
At a glance: Sustainable Event Guidelines
- The Sustainable Event Guidelines are a free service provided by the Berlin Convention Office of visitBerlin.
- They have been developed to support the Berlin event sector in planning and realising sustainable events.
- The Guidelines are also available online as a fillable PDF form, allowing you to add your own notes and milestones in the planning process.
- The Guidelines are the basis of the Sustainable Event Scorecard which offers event planners further funding and, in this way, provides financial support from the Berlin Congress Fund 2021 for more sustainability.
- More details: convention.visitberlin.de/sustainable-meetings-berlin
So in this way you can measure sustainability?
That’s right. The Guidelines use three priority levels to highlight the main points of leverage for sustainability when organising events. Of course, planning is the crucial step. As we know from our own experience, it helps to formulate a vision with concrete goals which can be expressed in concrete measures, since then you can actually measure your success and track the process of constant improvement.
Where does sustainable event planning start?
The Sustainable Event Guidelines work on the basis of events including a minimum of eight areas of action with at least two measures from priorities one and two in each area. When organisers adopt this approach, we can assume the event follows the precepts of sustainable event planning. In fact, though, sustainability can be part of every step in event planning at any time. Here, it’s important to remember this is not about perfection. Every step towards sustainability, no matter how small, is well worth taking.
What is your overall goal with the Guidelines?
The Guidelines also influence our own approach – and we use them, for example, for events such as Berlin Questions. The overarching motivation is our vision of Berlin as the world’s most sustainable event destination. Ultimately, we can only make that a reality in a concerted effort with all actors in the sector and with our customers – the event planners themselves. And that is exactly what the Guidelines set out to achieve.
Best Practice: Berlin questions
- The Berlin questions, organised by visitBerlin, is a conference on the challenges and urgent issues of our day and a forum to debate possible answers, opinions, and trends.
- The 2019 edition included vegetarian catering and donated surplus food to the Foodsaver project. In addition, drinking water stations were set up and participants given refillable water bottles in the conference design.
- 2021, the entire event was planned and implemented on the basis of the Sustainable Event Guidelines.
- Leftovers were saved from the dustbin via Too Good To Go and to avoid waste, all participants received an ÖkoCup (EcoCup) on site.
- Read here which other measures were implemented at this year's Berlin questions conference from 11 to 14 August 2021: Berlin questions 2021 - the future today.
Do you have questions or need advice about your sustainable event in Berlin? We are at your disposal at any time. More details you can find here convention.visitberlin.de/sustainable-meetings-berlin.