Gothenburg Tops Global Destination Sustainability Index

For the seventh consecutive year, Gothenburg has been named the most sustainable event and meeting city in the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS Index). 

The sustainability of cities is measured from several perspectives: Ecological, economic and social. Factors influencing this include how well a city manages traffic, handles recycling and works to reduce greenhouse gases, and whether there are sustainability strategies and environmental certifications for hotels, restaurants and meeting facilities. In this year's GDS Index, Gothenburg scored 94.63 percent (up from 92.98) on a 100-point scale, an almost unattainable figure for many cities. 

"We are now taking bigger steps towards sustainable meetings," said Malin Erlandsson, director, congress and events for the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre and Gothia Towers. "We have developed a new sustainability policy, hired a new sustainability manager and produced a new sustainability guide that is used in dialogue with customers."

In addition, all 900 employees at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre and Gothia Towers are trained with their own sustainability week, where the development potential is at the center.

According to Erlandsson, sustainability is an important factor for decision-makers. The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre and Gothia Towers has received direct calls from customers who have seen that Gothenburg is in first place in the GDS Index and have therefore sent requests to hold meetings there. "Unfortunately, this has also meant that we have had to turn down events during our high season because we are fully booked. Gothenburg is growing rapidly, and we want to grow with the city," she said.

In 2010, the city had about 8,000 hotel rooms; by 2025, the figure is expected to be close to 15,000.

Malin Erlandsson
Malin Erlandsson (The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre and Gothia Towers )

"We ourselves have over 1,200 hotel rooms and are planning a fourth hotel tower. We also have plans to grow with more meeting areas, to attract more meetings and larger meetings for 8,000-plus people," said Erlandsson.

She added that for the future, there are still not enough companies and organizations in the world that know about Gothenburg at all. But those who come to the city are pleasantly surprised by what they experience. “Today, we win 75 percent of the meetings that come here for a site inspection, largely thanks to our sustainability work. The Swedish inflation right now also affects us in a positive way, as our closest competitors in Denmark and Norway are significantly more expensive,” Erlandsson said.

The European Union has also addressed key issues affecting all European business events. There will be a wave of new laws and regulations in 2024 and beyond on sustainability, as the EU believes that progress is too slow in member states.

The foundation that owns the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre and Gothia Towers is over a hundred years old, and work has now begun to develop the venue for the next hundred years. New tools to promote sustainability will be launched in January next year. For example, it will be possible to show all your own emissions and how to minimize them, including figures showing waste per hotel guest.

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