UN prize for sustainability index that puts Gothenburg in first place

Carin Kindbom, CEO at the Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has recognised the efforts of the Nordic countries to increase sustainability in the meetings industry. The index, which was developed by ICCA Scandinavian Chapter and gives Gothenburg the top ranking, has been given the Most Innovative Project Award.

“This is fantastic recognition of the work that Gothenburg is doing,” says Carin Kindbom, CEO of the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre.  

Gothenburg has set itself the mission to become the top city in the world for sustainable meetings. A partnership between the City of Gothenburg, Göteborg & Co and the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre was born in March 2010, when the Scandinavian Chapter of ICCA, the International Congress and Convention Association, held a workshop in Gothenburg on the need to increase sustainability in the meetings industry. The sustainability index was launched two years later and Gothenburg took top place.

Today, 23 Nordic cities are involved in the alliance, and last year, at the annual meeting of the ICCA Scandinavian Chapter in Arhus, the index was updated. Gothenburg still holds first place, alongside Uppsala.  

Carin Kindbom sees the UNWTO award as recognition of the commitment and effort that the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre has put into improving sustainability over several years. “For us, it is a matter of credibility,” she says. “We have taken a number of steps to reduce our carbon footprint. For instance, all our electricity requirements are covered by wind power, we co-ordinate deliveries and use carbon offsetting for transport, we offer an increasing range of locally grown produce in our restaurants, we extract biogas from food waste, and so on.”  

But it takes more than this to create a sustainable and attractive destination.  

“Our customers don’t just build an opinion of our facilities and our service when they hold conferences here; they get an impression of the destination as a whole. We are very much dependent on what others do as well,” says Carin Kindbom.  

“Many stakeholders in Gothenburg are involved in improving sustainability. Almost every hotel is involved, together with carriers, and now the restaurants that belong to Gothenburg Restaurant Association are on course to gain environmental diplomas,” says Lennart Johansson, deputy CEO of Göteborg & Co.  

The Scandinavian Destination Sustainability Index is a tool designed to increase sustainability, which recently received an award at the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) Knowledge Network Global Forum in Mexico.

Pictured: Carin Kindbom, CEO at the Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre

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