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Green meetings in Germany

With widespread concern about the rapid decay of our environment, meeting and event planners can help by ensuring their meeting or event is green. Green meetings minimise negative impact on the environment and leave a positive impact on the community - and they make great business sense too.

Germany has made sustainability and environmental awareness its trademark - nearly 40% of German event venues have already implemented a sustainability management system and numerous providers hold certificates from organisations such as Green Globe, EMAS or ISO. As the German event industry’s marketing organisation, the German Convention Bureau (GCB) has made the implementation of green meetings in the meetings and conference sector a key business objective.

In light of the United Nations’ World Environment Day 2016 last Sunday (5 June), the GCB has launched some top tips for meeting and event organisers on how to host sustainable meetings:

GREEN MEETINGS: TOP TIPS
• Pave the way in advance: State that sustainability is a priority in all enquiries and also brief all staff accordingly.
• Read the signs: Pay attention to the certification held by venues and suppliers. Which boast environmental labels such as the Blue Angel? Do they use solar energy etc.? Prioritise green suppliers.
• Work without paper: Managing projects and participants is easy to do online and conference documentation can be made available to download from the internet.
• Adopt a carbon-neutral policy: There are plenty of options for participants and the companies you have hired, such as shorter distances to travel and low-emission transport.
• Think global, act local: So use as many local partners and products as possible. • 'Green' catering: The products used should be regional and seasonal; the dishes and cutlery should be reusable or at least recyclable.
• Think about recycling: Use the German dual system for recycling as far as possible. Provide suitable recycling bins with separate compartments in public spaces as well as behind the scenes.
• Re-use: There are reusable solutions for all sorts of signs so collect them and keep them. The same applies to counters and banners etc. which can be used many times if they are not branded for specific events.
• Save energy and resources: Seek out low-use alternatives for both power and water, such as LED lights and economy buttons.
• Offset your carbon: The GCB’s CO2 calculator - www.gcb.de/information/green-meetings/co2-calculator.html - also includes advice on how to reduce carbon emissions.

There are many good reasons to plan meetings and conferences in Germany:
• outstanding transport infrastructure with 17 international airports, a well-developed rail network as well as the growing deployment of busses all make for a pleasant and environmentally friendly journey.
• 400 trained sustainability advisors in the events sector, sustainable, profitable conference centres and hotels with innovative energy concepts and, not least, a focus on seasonal and regional cuisine ensure economic use of resources.
• Excellent connections to the city centre make evenings easily accessible and enjoyable. With catering establishments, culture and a growing abundance of events, Germany's inner cities are generating a sustainable experience in their own way.

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