Sustainable Meetings and Events
Instead of causing huge piles of garbage and long traffic jams, events nowadays strive toward energy efficiency, avoiding waste and an environmentally friendly journey to and from the event. So-called “green meetings and events” are highly popular in the tourism sector, because sustainable events contribute to the protection of the environment, support regional supply chains, take social responsibility, and leave a good impression on the community, guests, customers and sponsors. Bern Welcome is committed to a sustainable tourism sector in Bern and its surroundings and actively promotes sustainable change.
Bern: the Ideal Location for Sustainable Events
If you are planning a “green meeting” or a “green event”, looking for a keynote speaker specialized in sustainability or want to organize a climate-friendly team event, Bern is the perfect place – here’s why.
Did you know that, when it comes to sustainability, little Switzerland is often at the forefront? This is demonstrated, for example, by the international study “Environmental Performance Index” (EPI for short), which compares the environmental performance of countries and companies and creates a quantitative scorecard: Switzerland is currently in first place.
Bern – Actively Sustainable
Regional resources, barely any waste, high efficiency. What sounds like a dream is clean reality in Bern. For years, the city has been committed to a sustainable use of energies and resources, which is why, in the year 2019, the city was awarded the label “European Energy Award Gold” for its commitment to a sustainable energy policy for the future. Furthermore, Bern has been carrying the title “Fair Trade Town” since 2017, and the city intends to continue playing a leading role as a growing, creative, green, open-minded and social city in Switzerland.
Swiss Champion – in 2019, that title didn’t only go to Bern’s soccer and ice hockey team: the federal city can also call itself “Energiestadt-Meister”, Energy Champion. With 87.2 out of 100 possible points, Bern scored the highest ever rating for an Energy City in Switzerland. In the last eight years, the city was able to lower its emissions by about one tonne of CO2 to five tonnes per capita. And regarding heat supply, the emissions have been reduced by an impressive 28 % since 2008.
Projects and awareness raising measures
The city of Bern is committed to sustainable development and is implementing various measures and projects to raise awareness:
- Klimaplattform der Wirtschaft
The “Climate Platform of the economy” is a cooperation between administrations and private companies with the goal of making a contribution toward the reduction of pollutive emissions.
An “Environment Award” is awarded every two years as part of the environmental management and sustainable procurement activities of the city of Bern.
- Berner Energiepreis
The “Bern Energy Award” goes to companies that make an impact in energy efficiency and renewable energies.
- Berner Sozialstern
The “Social Star” is awarded to businesses that advocate and are committed to helping people with mental disabilities.
- Velostadt Bern
Through active advertising, Bern is promoting the use of bikes. Ideal for an attractive, lively “City of Bicycles”. The goal is to double the percentage of bikes in overall traffic until 2030.
- Berner Umwelttag
The “Environment Days” offer a platform for people who, with their campaigns and projects, contribute to a more sustainable future.
- Klimaplattform der Wirtschaft
Sustainability at the University of Bern
“Sustainability is, on all levels, a trademark of the University of Bern. With its cutting-edge international research, the University of Bern wants to make a concrete contribution to the sustainable development of society”, said principal Christian Leumann in an interview with the scientific magazine UniPress on 21 February 2020.
The University of Bern is actively committed to sustainable development in research, teaching and business operations and promotes the respectful use of ecological, economic and social resources. Among other things, it conducts excellent disciplinary, inter- and trans-disciplinary research with an international focus on issues such as the climate, responding to global change (north-south relations), and the regulation of world trade. Topics such as biodiversity and research on resources, particularly water and energy supplies, as well as gender studies are also focal points.
International network: The specialized research centres at the University of Bern that focus on sustainability are well-connected nationally as well as internationally, and their research is held in high esteem internationally.
If you are looking for an interesting keynote speaker for your next congress or a guest speaker that will leave a great lasting impression, you should consider someone from the following research centres at the University of Bern:
If you are interested in a presentation, contact the corresponding centre directly.
Centre for Development and Environment
The Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) is a strategic centre at the University of Bern and employs some 100 people from 25 different disciplines. The CDE has an innovative approach to research and teaching in order to be able to spark substantial transformations toward sustainable development. It works on different projects with various partners such as the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) or the foundation Stiftung Risiko-Dialog. By the way: the CDE contributes substantially to the United Nations Global Sustainable Development Reports
Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research
The Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR) is one of the strategic centres of the University of Bern and a centre of excellence for climate change, bringing together scientists from 14 institutes and four faculties that conduct interdisciplinary research at the forefront of climate change studies. At the OCCR, researchers from the fields of economy, political science, history, archaeology, philosophy, physics and medicine all work together. Some of the centre’s members are part of international committees such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC.
A globally leading research and implementation centre in the field of humans and nature is being set up at the University of Bern: the “Wyss Academy for Nature”. On four continents, teams of scientists will join forces with experienced experts and representatives from the fields of politics, economy and society to develop innovations aimed at protecting nature and ensuring the sustainable use thereof. The implementation-oriented applications, strategies and policy guidelines are tested at the centres of the Wyss Academy and then extended to other regions. The different stakeholders cooperate in a novel way: it breaks up the conventional silos of science, nature conservation, international aid and policy making, enabling a quick application and implementation of the scientific findings.
Hotels and Venues
Green is not only the colour of the trees outside the window of the meeting room anymore. Bernese congress, seminar and event venues are proactively switching to a green, environmentally friendly and sustainable approach: from regional products to social responsibility to climate-friendly travelling. Here’s an overview of local service providers that are committed to protecting the environment:
Homemade honey from their city bees, a KITRO scale, food waste boxes in the catering service, charging stations for electric vehicles, waste heat recovery, modern, energy-saving technology – the list of Kursaal Bern’s ecological measures and achievements keeps getting longer. The company is also a founding member of the “Climate Platform” of the city of Bern, which is committed to reducing CO2 emissions.
Hotel Schweizerhof Bern & Spa
Since 2016, the in-house team “The Green Busters” has been in charge of making Hotel Schweizerhof Bern & Spa more sustainable and climate friendly. Today, vegetable scraps are turned into vegetable salt in order to reduce food waste. They’ve introduced food boxes so guests can take home the leftovers from their meals. And the three mini hotels on the roof of the Schweizerhof with their 150,000 busy honeybees contribute to an ecological balance. By the way: As a “myclimate” partner, the Schweizerhof also guarantees completely carbon neutral overnight stays.
Exemplary behaviour in the home arena of the soccer club BCS Young Boys: The Stadion Wankdorf has solar panels on the roof of the stadium, producing up to 700,000 kWh per year and supplying energy to some 200 households. Waste heat from the nearby biopharmaceutics company CSL Behring is used to heat the field. And sustainability is also the focus when it comes to food: the ingredients are always seasonal and locally sourced and never imported by plane. Products that carry the labels Fairtrade, MSC or ASC are always preferred.
Hotel Alpenblick – #morethanjustahotel
One hotel, many faces and even more stories: The Alpenblick is not only a meeting place for travellers from all over the world and the locals from the Breitenrain neighbourhood – honeybees are more than welcome, too. On the roof of the hotel, there are three pretty wooden houses for them. You can watch them buzzing around sting-free thanks to the large glass window. And at the in-house self-service shop, there are delicious products from regional producers: milk from the farm, tart apple juice and freshly baked Bernese plaited bread.
At the Sorell hotels, economic, ecological and social measures are integrated into daily business. The kitchen uses only regional ingredients and fair-trade products, food scraps are turned into clean energy and district heating and waste oil is made into organic diesel. The commitment is also reflected in the tree sponsorships with the city of Bern as well as in the support of the WWF for the protection of alpine biodiversity. The Sorell hotels are part of hotelleriesuisse’s “Green Living Hotels” and ISO 14001 certified.
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