In 2012, Denmark hosted the first ever sustainable European Union Presidency, achieving the first ISO-20121 certification in the meetings sector. The sustainable actions of the 'Danish Sustainable Events Initiative' lead to a €40mio saving compared to previous Presidencies. Now the legacy and learning are shared in a new report entitled 'Driving Change Through Collaboration'.
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, shares:
- 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.
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.
Steen Jakobsen, Convention Director for Wonderful Copenhagen CVB, one of the founding partners of the DSEI, comments:
- 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.
Markus Diefenbach, Int. Marketing Manager, VisitDenmark, says:
- The meetings industry has been asking for practical examples of creating better events through sustainability. With the Danish EU Presidency we have worked together to show leadership and catalyse action.
Project Consultant, Guy Bigwood of MCI Sustainability Services, wraps up:
- This pioneering project once again demonstrates the commitment of the Danish government and industry to innovation, collaboration and sustainability. Their thought leadership helps to advance sustainable event management at 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.