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Our Approach to Sustainability

We care for the planet, our city and the people who live here. Therefore it is important to us to fill the term “sustainability” with meaning and concrete action. Gothenburg is a world leader within sustainable meetings and the greenest hotel city in the world. Here’s how arranging a meeting in Gothenburg can help you reach your sustainability goals.

Sweden and the city create good conditions for our sustainability work

Sweden has a great legacy and history in terms of environmental and social sustainability and Gothenburg is a living example of sustainable urban development. The city is among the world leaders in sustainable construction, waste management and re-usable energy, and at the cutting edge of environmental certification of hotels and events. In autumn 2013 Gothenburg also became the first city in the world to issue a green bond for investments that benefit the environment and climate.

Gothenburg both has an environmental programme and a climate strategy programme, providing a comprehensive basis for the climate work of the city. The latter identifies long-term solutions within five areas – education, urban planning, energy, transports and consumption.

Gothenburg is to be one of the most advanced cities of the world in addressing climate problems and by 2050 Gothenburg will have reduced greenhouse-gas emissions to a sustainable and equitable level. This level is currently interpreted as 1.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents per inhabitant per year.

Worth mentioning is also Gothenburg’s rather ground-breaking goal to reduce consumption-based emissions of greenhouse gases by the people of Gothenburg. By 2035, these emissions will be a maximum of 3.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents per person.

Sweden is also an open, multicultural society, which has led to a vibrant, international environment. The country is a highly developed and stable democracy with a modern economy. Generally Sweden is considered one of the safest countries, largely corruption-free, with low crime rates and low health risks. This feeling of security is also enhanced by the fact that most of the population speaks English.

Our role in moving the industry in a sustainable direction

Göteborg Convention Bureau is a part of Göteborg & Co, a public company with the task of marketing and supporting the development of Gothenburg as a city of tourism, meetings and events. Early on, the company saw the importance of focusing on sustainability and the overall objective of the company’s work is to make Gothenburg a destination that sets an international example by constantly challenging every aspect of sustainability.

Göteborg & Co always encourage meetings and events operators to take sustainability into account when planning a meeting in Gothenburg, because it’s easy and common to do so in our city. To make it even easier we offer counselling/advice and share our experiences on how to organise sustainable meetings in Gothenburg. And of course we have a close cooperation on sustainability issues with the meetings and events industry in the city.

Engagement in international sustainability collaborations

The company has been one of the active parts in developing the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS index). The GDS-index was created to help Destinations, Convention Bureaus, Event Planners and Suppliers drive the adoption and recognition of sustainable practices in their city and in the global events industry.

Gothenburg & Co, as well as the Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre, is one of the founders of the Swedish chapter of Green Meetings Industry Council, GMIC Sweden, and both organisations are represented on the board.

As a meeting destination we take great pride in being number one in Global Destination Sustainability Index.

Our environmental certification for meetings and events

In the late nineties Gothenburg & Co, together with the Environmental Department of Gothenburg, developed a standard for environmental certification for meetings and events, the Environmental Event Certificate, based on the key elements of ISO 14001 and EMAS. This standard has now become a national standard for green meetings and events handled by the association Svensk Miljöbas (The Swedish Environmental Base).

Meetings and events that fulfil certain standards and criteria can receive environmental certification. Certification is not only a great way of communicating your sustainability efforts – it also serves as a very practical checklist, making it easy for you to make sustainable choices.

Contact us for more information about environmental certifications.

Sustainable Gothenburg – a local collaboration

Through the Sustainable Gothenburg project, the company works with the City of Gothenburg and the Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre to increase knowledge and understanding of sustainability in business, and to increase cooperation between different businesses.

This work will enable Gothenburg’s meeting industry to develop new solutions that reduce costs, create new business, reduce environmental impact and create a healthier and more pleasant city to live in and visit.

Three aspects of sustainability

Ecological sustainability

Ecological sustainability is one of the most burning issues of our time and is an area that Gothenburg is tackling in a focused and deliberate way. But we cannot achieve sustainable development by tackling environmental issues alone; we must also tackle the social and economic aspects of sustainability. If the economy does well, if people have jobs and feel that they are part of the city, it also makes it easier to achieve our climate targets. If people are unhappy, if the environment suffers and resources run out then there is little potential to create economic value. What this means is that ecological, social and economic sustainability are not mutually exclusive, but actually essential to each other.

Social sustainability

In Gothenburg, meetings get excellent visibility and are often viewed with great interest by residents of the city. As part of our efforts to promote social sustainability we like to make knowledge and findings from meetings accessible to the people of the city. Arranging a public forum in connection with a meeting is an effective way to share knowledge and to support positive social development.

Economic sustainability

Much of our work centres on economic growth. We focus on meetings that create sustainable growth, high scientific quality and that contribute to positive social development, strengthened competitiveness of the business sector etcetera. From a meetings perspective, we also work actively with delegate maximisation and have been very successful in contributing to large visitor numbers at various meetings and congresses.

Awards

  • Leadership award winner, Global Destination Sustainability Index 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
  • European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020
  • Winner of 2016 UNFCCC Momentum for Change Award.
  • Swedish National Earth Hour Capital 2015.
  • Access City Award 2014.
  • Klimatkommun (Clean Air Region) since 2012.
  • ICCA, International Congress and Convention Association, no. 1 eco destination in UNWTO-awarded Scandinavian Destinations Sustainability index 2012 and 2013.
  • Europe’s best Eco Tourism Destination 2011.
  • Fairtrade City since 2011.

Facts

  • 95 percent of the hotel rooms in Gothenburg are environmentally certified.
  • Since 2011, Göteborg Landvetter Airport has held the highest European Airport Carbon accreditation.
  • Approximately 95 per cent of Gothenburg’s public transport system runs on renewable energy  per passenger-km. 
  • City rental bikes available at approx. 130 stations (1,750 bikes) 2020.
  • All restaurants connected to Taste of Gothenburg are environmentally certified or in the process of being environmentally certified.
  • All meat served in the municipality must be organic.
  • In autumn 2013 Gothenburg became the first city in the world to issue a green bond for investments that benefit the environment and climate.
  • Gothenburg is a green city, clearly thanks to its close proximity to the forest and many parks. The “small big city” makes Gothenburg pedestrian friendly with virtually everything within walking distance.
  • Tap water in Sweden is of great quality.

Meeting-related areas where well-established routines in Gothenburg contribute to reducing carbon emissions:

  • Attending a conference: Eco-friendly venue services covering smart production, efficient energy consumption and technologies, recycling, waste management and sustainable event management.
  • Arrival by train: All journeys on SJ electric trains comply with the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation’s Good Environmental Choice eco-labelling requirements.
  • Arrival by air: Göteborg Landvetter Airport has held the highest European Airport Carbon accreditation since 2011.
  • Airport shuttles: All buses run on 100 per cent biofuel produced from rapeseed.
  • Taxis: West Sweden’s largest taxi company, Taxi Göteborg, has a taxi fleet made up of 90 per cent low-emission vehicles, and encourages eco-driving.
  • Public transport: Approximately 95 per cent of Gothenburg’s public transport system runs on renewable energy  per passenger-km. 
  • Walking or biking: The compact city centre makes Gothenburg pedestrian-friendly. 1,000 city bikes available around the city.
  • Staying overnight: 93 percent of the hotel rooms in the city are environmentally certified.
  • Eating and dining: A large number of the city’s restaurants and bars are environmentally certified.
  • Tap water instead of bottled: Swedish tap water is of great quality.

For meeting organisers, our expertise within the field means that much of your sustainability work has already been done. You can rely on eco-friendly infrastructure, accommodation, logistics and many other services. We are also here to help you. Don’t hesitate to contact us at the Convention Bureau for a free-of-charge consultation on how you can make a green impression and contribute to positive change for future generations.