Glasgow has unveiled at IMEX a new ‘green conventions team’ which will champion the city’s credentials as a world-leader in sustainable business tourism.
Led by Glasgow Convention Bureau, which is part of Glasgow Life, the 20-strong team brings together representatives from across the city’s tourism and hospitality sectors, academic and business communities, and local government.
The initiative is at the heart of Glasgow Convention Bureau’s new People Make Glasgow Greener campaign, which aims to foster greater collaboration between partners and build on the city’s position as the seventh most sustainable conference destination in the world and the only UK city to be included in the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index).
Among others, Glasgow’s new green team includes Glasgow Chamber of Commerce; the Scottish Event Campus (SEC); Glasgow Restaurant Association (GRA); Greater Glasgow Hoteliers Association (GGHA); VisitScotland, ScotRail; Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT), the Woodlands Community Development Trust and Locavore Farm as well as Glasgow, Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian Universities.
Working with Glasgow City Council's Land and Environmental Services department and local seed-planting business, Kabloom; the People Make Glasgow Greener campaign will deliver bespoke ‘horticultural therapy’ packages for conference organisers interested in offering sustainable team-building activities for delegates.
These will take place across the city’s parks and gardens, including the Woodlands Community Garden near the SEC, and include workshops on enhancing biodiversity, maintaining green-spaces and replanting Scottish wildflowers.
A toolkit identifying some of the city’s leading sustainable businesses – from hotels and restaurants to conference venues and corporate entertainment providers – has also been created to simplify the process of organising a sustainable conference in Glasgow. It aims to make it easier for conference organisers to find the services they require from suppliers with similar green objectives.
Aileen Crawford, Head of Conventions at Glasgow Convention Bureau, said: “Glasgow is working towards becoming one of Europe’s most sustainable cities by 2020 and a world-leading centre for sustainable policy, innovation and action.
“We’ve already made great strides in that respect, with Glasgow currently ranked seventh on the Global Destination Sustainability Index which is geared at driving the growth of sustainable conference and business events destinations worldwide. As the only UK city to be included, it’s incredibly motivating to see Glasgow recognised as a destination at the forefront of sustainability best practice and responsible business tourism.”
Robert McMaster, Professor of Political Economy at the University of Glasgow and co-author of Glasgow’s Community Gardens: Sustainable Communities of Care, said: “Volunteering, gardening and planting wildflowers in Glasgow’s public spaces will enhance the city’s ‘Dear Green’ spaces and burgeoning urban agriculture networks. This innovative new initiative from the Glasgow Convention Bureau will offer Glasgow’s many conference delegates the chance to give something back while enjoying a unique and immersive experience of the city and how we care for our communities.”
By the end of 2018, Glasgow will have hosted 20 energy, sustainability and low carbon industry-related conferences over a 24 month period; delivering nearly 60,000 delegate days and boosting the city’s economy by more than £23 million.
Aileen added: “Glasgow is really at the forefront of developments in the energy, sustainability and low carbon industries, with a growing reputation for business and academic excellence in these areas. We’re home to some of the world’s biggest energy companies and we’re internationally recognised as having one of the healthiest and most diverse energy industries globally. This in turn has had a hugely positive impact on the volume of conferences that we’re attracting in these sectors.”
One such conference is the 38th Euroheat & Power Congress, attended by nearly 500 overseas delegates, which is taking place at the SEC until Wednesday this week.
Silke Schlinnertz, Head of Operations and Events for the congress, said: “Glasgow’s bid to host our congress marked the city out as a strong exemplar of the pattern of development that is likely to typify future UK district heating expansion – Glasgow is aiming to cut 30% of its CO2 emissions by 2020, with district heating expected to play a major role.
“There is a genuine commitment in Glasgow to environmental sustainability and the values and principles that make it possible. Being the first UK city to join the GDS-Index underpins that and gives event planners one more reason to choose the city as their next meeting destination.”
Carly Thompson, Events Manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “Glasgow is at the heart of Scotland’s renewable energy industry. Companies including Sgurr Energy, ScottishPower, Star Renewable Energy and many others are based in Glasgow, with their operations extending across the UK, Europe and the world.
“Scottish Renewables holds numerous events in the city throughout the year including a growing number of headline conferences. We’re proud to work with venues in Glasgow, many of which are proactively adopting sustainable practices that are very much aligned with our own goals and ambitions.”
Kathleen Warden, Director of Conference Sales at the SEC, said: "It's a responsibility for us all to ensure that we are constantly considering our impact on the environment. As always, Glasgow is pulling together as a team to make a difference and focus on looking after the environmental health of our city from which both our citizens and visitors benefit."
Guy Bigwood, Group Sustainability Director of MCI, said: “To remain competitive in today’s socio-economic climate, leading event destinations need to highlight more than the technical capacity of their meetings industry. They need to demonstrate how their destination adds value – for delegates, our environment and society overall. By being the first in the UK to participate in the GDS-Index, Glasgow has firmly positioned itself as a leading and responsible, destination.”
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