Sustainably Scandinavian

The five Scandinavian member countries of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) have joined together to form what they’re calling the world’s first “sustainable meetings region.”

CVBs, DMOs, venues, and other travel and tourism agencies from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden signed the Scandinavian Sustainable Meetings Accord – which is intended to “advance sustainable development within the meetings and events industry” – at the ICCA Scandinavian Chapter annual meeting in Tampere, Finland, this past March.

Why Scandinavia? Two reasons, according to project leader Guy Bigwood, sustainability director for the MCI Group: Scandinavia is “world famous for its environmental record” as well as for its “custom of consensus and debate.” MCI used both to power the three-year process that led to the creation of the accord, which is made up of 10 actions, including:

  • Engaging our clients, partners, and other interested parties in dialogue about economic, environmental, and social sustainability for our industry.
  • Encouraging private-public collaboration with other destinations to share Scandinavian best practices and solutions and, in turn, to learn from others.
  • Providing resources to planners to identify responsible, sustainable, and certified suppliers in our community in order to help planners create more sustainable events.
  • Calculating the CO₂ footprint of a defined Scandinavian meetings industry and aiming to reduce this by 20 percent by 2020.

We aim to inspire, encourage, or ‘push’ every organization to speed up its sustainability programs,” Bigwood said. “Most people are just going too slow.”

And after Scandinavia, the world. “At MCI we have used this approach on various projects for different cities,” Bigwood said. “However, this is the first time that we have managed to get a group of nations to agree to it. I have had various CVBs already approach me to be included. I am hoping we can roll it out in Asia later this year.”

For more information: convn.org/SSMR-accord

Christopher Durso

Christopher Durso formerly was executive editor of Convene.