• Kuva: Roger Simons
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Helsinki wins Global Sustainability Innovation Award

The Greening Events & Eco Compass project has created an operating model for voluntary environmental work between cities and events.

In March 2012 the world’s first sustainable meetings region was created when a Sustainable Development Declaration was signed at the annual meeting of the Scandinavian Chapter of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) in Tampere, Finland.

The declaration was based on an 18-page report that was used to measure and compare the infrastructure and environmental actions of Nordic cities. The declaration was the result of a joint effort by Nordic colleagues in the meetings industry and helped create an innovative and unique model that participating partners have committed themselves to through their own examples and deeds.

GDS-Index covers almost 40 cities worldwide

The report has been updated annually since it was first published, and in 2015 other countries and regions were invited to follow the Nordic example. The Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index) currently covers almost 40 cities worldwide.

The environmental deeds and current sustainability ranking of the cities in the index can be seen here.   

The index measures environmental deeds, social responsibility, the commitment of service providers and the deeds of convention bureaus.

The winner of the 2016 Index Leadership Award was Gothenburg, while Helsinki was ranked sixth. Helsinki in turn won the Innovation Award, which was introduced this year, for its Greening Events & Eco Compass project. The awards are presented annually at the ICCA Congress, which was held this year in Kuching, Maleysia, from 13 to 16 November.

“The Innovation Award is fine recognition for all the work that we have done over the years for sustainable development here in Helsinki and Finland. The commitment of actors in the congress and convention industry can be seen in everything they do; one recent example is Finlandia Hall, which is installing solar panels. The award motivates us to set an example and continue working towards a sustainable future,” comments Ines Antti-Poika, Convention Director at the Helsinki Convention & Events Bureau.

Two-year joint project Greening Events

Greening Events was a two-year (2012–2014) joint project between the neighbouring cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa. The objective was to develop concrete ways of implementing environmental management at events in the metropolitan area. The project established a model that supports voluntary environmental work between cities and events and offered specially tailored environmental training and advice. The project was coordinated by the City of Helsinki Environment Centre.

As part of the project, the EcoCompass environmental management system for events was piloted at approximately 22 events in the metropolitan area.

Greening Events also published the NEAT EVENT! environmental guide for event producers, which offers practical tips for choosing a venue and optimising transportation and logistics, procurements and energy consumption. The guide available in Finnish, Swedish and English.


Helsinki won the Global Sustainability Innovation Award for its Greening Events & Eco Compass project at the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA) Congress in Maleysia. The award was accepted by Ines Antti-Poika, Convention Director at the Helsinki Convention & Events Bureau. Photo: Roger Simons


Updated 22/11/2016