Berlin Joins the GDS-Movement and Steps up its Commitment to Sustainability

27th Oct, 2020

The GDS-Movement is pleased to announce that Germany’s capital, Berlin, scales up its ambition to become one of the most innovative and sustainable meeting destinations in the world. Berlin will be participating in the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index) to assess its performance and identify opportunities to increase their positive environmental and societal impact.

The GDS-Movement unites and enables destination management professionals to create flourishing and resilient places to visit, meet and live in. By co-creating sustainable and circular strategies, mindsets and skill sets, it seeks to enable destinations of the future to thrive and support the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Berlin is a city well-known for its longstanding commitment to the sustainability agenda, and is actively involved in advancing sustainability, circularity and climate-neutrality, through a diversity of green initiatives, in a multitude of industries. The business events sector is one of them.

In 2019, visitBerlin launched Sustainable Meetings Berlin. Through this innovative initiative, visitBerlin engages a wide network of partners and service providers in Berlin’s meetings industry. It has been developed in a multi-stakeholder process, resulting in the introduction of a sustainability management system with a demanding catalogue of criteria based on various international sustainability standards.

visitBerlin wishes to participate in the GDS-Index to map, recognize, and drive sustainable practices among its business tourism partner ecosystem. Ultimately, the goal will be to create a wide spectrum of increasingly sustainable offerings for their customers. By joining the GDS-Movement, the Berlin Convention Office of visitBerlin will dedicate itself to:

  • Benchmark the sustainability of Berlin, and its meeting and events industry through the GDS-Index
  • Improve visitBerlin’s sustainability strategy and supplier performance  
  • Increase awareness of, and integrate, the 17 Sustainable Development Goalsinto the events and visitor economy
  • Inspire clients to seek out and prize destinations with authentic event sustainability initiatives and regenerative models
  • Share the knowledge gained and Berlin best practice examples with their clients, peers, and the whole business and leisure tourism sector

Burkhard Kieker, CEO of visitBerlin, states that "the industry is currently facing a major challenge and must prepare itself for the future. Joining the Global Destination Sustainability Movement is an important step towards this for Berlin". Guy Bigwood, Managing Director of the GDS-Movement, comments: “Berlin is amongst the top three ICCA destinations for congresses and conventions worldwide. Joining the GDS-Movement, by participating in the GDS-Index, is a clear message to the world that destination sustainability is a key driver for better, more nourishing, low-carbon meetings. This contributes to the new and urgent regenerative economy, that is rapidly rising in cities across the world.”

Marco Oelschlegel, CMP, Director of Conventions at Berlin Convention Office (BCO), visitBerlin, says: "Through sustainable MICE solutions we are doing our part to position the industry in an innovative and climate-friendly way. The Global Destination Sustainability Movement offers the opportunity to jointly promote the sustainable development of destinations with great transparency and various instruments. For this reason, it is a logical and consistent step for us as Destination Berlin to be part of GDSM".

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