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Brewing up green initiatives in Hamburg

The German city of Hamburg has banned disposable coffee pods and other items from state-run buildings as part of its environmental drive to reduce waste.
The ‘green metropolis’ recently introduced a ban on buying "certain polluting products or product components" with council money. This includes bottled water, air freshener, plastic plates as well as "equipment for hot drinks in which portion packaging is used", in particular the "Kaffeekapselmaschine" – the coffee capsule machine, which accounts for one in eight coffees sold in Germany.

The Senate’s ban is part of a wider environmental drive which follows Hamburg being crowned European Green Capital in 2011, during which the city committed itself to reconciling economic growth with environmental protection, reducing harmful emissions and promoting the careful use of resources.

Hamburg Convention Bureau (HCB) builds on the Senate’s approach with a series of green measures such as providing industry-specific training programmes and by advising organisers on hosting green meetings in the city. The HCB was also the first Convention Bureau in Germany to be awarded the Green Globe Certificate - this covers three essential pillars of sustainability: economy, ecology, and society. The bureau is also a member of “fairpflichtet”, a network that provides a sustainability code specifically designed for the German-speaking event industry.

Increasing environmental responsibility is also becoming apparent in the city’s meetings and events sector, with many hotels and service providers adopting green initiatives by educating their staff in sustainability, and obtaining the international Green Globe environmental certification.

One example is the Scandic Hamburg Emporio – the most sustainable hotel in Hamburg and with a vast array of awards to prove it! The hotel has been awarded the silver medal by the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), the Green Brands Seal, as well as the distinction of Certified Green Hotel® by the Verband Deutsches Reisemanagement e.V. (the Association of German Travel Management (VDR)) in recognition of its success.

The HCB team is showcasing its green credentials and new venues at stand B605 at The Meetings Show, 14 – 16 June, at London’s Olympia.

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