UNWTO sustainability expert Dr. Dirk Glaesser unde rlined the importance of sustainability for the meeting and event industry at the recent green meetings and events conference (gme) held in Germany.
Dr. Glaesser, Director for the Sustainable Development Programme of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), emphasized in his keynote speech at the conference that the meetings industry could act as “agents of change”.
Barbara Hendricks, Germany’s Federal Minister for the Environment, joined the conference via video link adding: “Germany is Europe’s number one conference location – a great accolade and I warmly congratulate the industry. With success, however, comes responsibility. For the conference and congress industry this means, above all, implementing the guiding principle for sustainable development and sustainability targets at meetings, events and conferences. This sector has recognized – earlier than many other sectors – that sustainability is not a theme but an inherent feature.
“Joining keynote speaker Dr. Dirk Glaesser was Professor Andreas Löschel, Professor for Energy and Resource Economics at the University of Münster, who highlighted how sustainability is a crucial consideration for the meeting and event industry. This year the UNWTO is shining the spotlight on this issue – the United Nations 70th General Assembly has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
The fourth green meetings and events conference (gme) took place 13 – 14 February in Waiblingen in the region of Stuttgart and attracted 250 attendees. The theme of the bi-annual conference was corporate social responsibility. Representatives from venues, conference hotels, congress centers, service providers and event agencies explored this theme through lectures, interactive workshops and excursions, agreeing that sustainability is a core feature of the conference industry and at the same time can act as a stimulus for other sectors.