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Leipzig: Facets of a city committed to sustainability

Bees (Picture: Leipzger Messe GmbH)
Bees (Picture: Leipzger Messe GmbH)
In the conference industry, the colour trend is most definitely green: for organisers, the topic of sustainability has become indispensable. At the conference location of Leipzig, local players are breathing life into the concept with a wide variety of ideas and approaches. The destination has thus also proven to be the ideal venue for the greenmeetings and events conference in 2019.

In 2011, the city was the first in Saxony to be awarded the title of “Fair Trade Town”, and it specifically supports campaigns to promote fair trade. BUND and the City of Leipzig recently presented the Recycling2go campaign, a city-wide, deposit-based returnable cup system. With events such as Fashion Revolution Week, 2019 will focus on fair and sustainable alternatives when clothes shopping.

From honeybees on hotel rooves to the Green Globe seal

Leipzig’s conference venues also have diverse approaches to demonstrating their commitment to sustainability. For example, the foyer of the Leipzig KUBUS, operated by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, is heated using geothermal energy in winter, while in summer heating is reduced by coated glass slats in front of the glass facade. In the halls, heat is recovered from exhaust air. The KUBUS also offers organisers a CO2 calculator to determine the emissions caused by their event. They can then pay to offset their carbon footprint, thus ensuring a climate-neutral event.

The roof of the IntercityHotel in the city centre has been home to six bee colonies since spring 2018, and hotel guests can enjoy in-house organic honey at breakfast. As “Certified Green Hotels”, both The Westin Leipzig and Radisson Blu Leipzig stand for proven sustainable and ecological quality.

The Porsche plant in Leipzig, whose customer centre guarantees breathtakingly fast-paced events, also cares about environmental protection. The largely unspoilt area of the plant grounds has its own natural landscape gardeners – in the form of 27 Exmoor ponies and 75 European bison as well as three million honey bees.

The Philippus Hotel, which opened in 2018, is Leipzig’s first ‘integration hotel’. Guests with physical disabilities are supported by threshold-free corridors, a wheelchair-accessible lift, tactile orientation aids, Braille, hearing loops, lighting systems and more. In addition, people both with and without disabilities work together in the listed building complex.

Convincing concepts for the conference industry

The conference destination’s largest conference venue, the Congress Center Leipzig (CCL), introduced a transparent and measurable system of sustainability management in 2010 under the brand “Growth in Balance”. As a business division of the Leipziger Messe group of companies, the CCL has been awarded the Green Globe seal, the internationally recognised sustainability certificate for the event and tourism industry. In summer 2012, the CCL co-signed the German-speaking event industry’s sustainability code fairpflichtet (rightandfair), an initiative of the German Convention Bureau (GCB) and the European Association of Event Centres (EVVC). The CCL received the Meeting Experts Green Award for its sustainable mobility concept at the 50th ICCA Congress in 2011 in Leipzig. In addition, Leipzig’s transport service LVB offers all organisers at the CCL the option of a congress ticket, allowing participants flexible use of public transport during the congresses.

The CCL also focuses on sustainable event concepts, resource protection, energy conservation, regional synergies and social aspects at its location KONGRESSHALLE at Zoo Leipzig. The Leipziger Messe subsidiary fairgourmet, which is the catering partner of the CCL and the KONGRESSHALLE, also follows the sustainability principles: resource-saving processes are just as much a part of the programme as a focus on seasonal, regional and fair-trade organic products and the use of recyclable disposable tableware for takeaway services. In addition, fairgourmet is the first major customer of the aforementioned Recycling2go campaign. The company’s sustainable philosophy was also honoured with the Meeting Experts Green Award in 2017.

Host of the greenmeetings and events conference in 2019

With all this commitment, it is not surprising that Leipzig has been selected to host the 5th greenmeetings and events conference. The German event industry will be taking over the KONGRESSHALLE on 18 and 19 February 2019. The conference will be organised by the GCB and EVVC. “At the conference and congress destination of Leipzig, sustainability is practised at all levels: this is what the caterer fairgourmet stands for, for instance, which won the Meeting Experts Green Award at the last greenmeetings and events conference,” explains Joachim König, President of the EVVC. GCB Managing Director Matthias Schultze adds: “The Congress Center Leipzig, Leipziger Messe and all the members of the ‘Feel the spirit…’ initiative have also committed to the principle of sustainability – and last but not least, the city itself is positioning itself as a ‘fair-trade town’ and with innovative sustainable mobility concepts.”

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