© Philipp Kirschner

Green events: Why Leipzig is an attractive destination for sustainable events

Leipzig is well on its way to becoming a smart city for sustainability, resource conservation and environmental protection. Numerous initiatives, concepts and certifications show how Leipzig manages to be an attractive venue for events and at the same time set new courses in terms of environmental standards. In this article, we show you how and in which aspects Leipzig is a pioneer in this field.

1. Leipzig’s commitment to a sustainable future

Many regional and local initiatives already show that Leipzig is becoming an increasingly sustainable city. What’s most exciting is that not only the authorities, but citizens themselves and the local business community are getting involved to make the city more liveable. A special map – the Wandelkarte Leipzig – provides an excellent overview of what Leipzig has to offer. It includes more than 250 businesses and initiatives that promote the common good and sustainable business practices – from natural bakeries and packaging-free grocery stores, to second-hand outlets and repair workshops. With its sustainable approach, Leipzig is also part of the EU smart city project Triangulum – with concepts for environmentally conscious, sustainable and socially inclusive cities. It is one of three projects selected for funding by the EU Commission as transnational lighthouse projects in the Europe-wide competition “Horizon 2020 Smart Cities & Communities”. By 2024, Leipzig will develop and test a sustainable energy supply in new and existing neighbourhoods. A section of western Leipzig is serving as a laboratory for the future direction of a “smart city” strategy that will encompass all of Leipzig.

2. Green lungs: Top air quality thanks to allotment gardens and green spaces

The more green spaces a city has, the better this is for air quality, the urban climate, and absorbing noise. Parks and gardens ensure a higher quality of life and at the same time promote the biodiversity of animals and plants. Leipzig impresses with its vast amounts of green space: the city ranks sixth in a Germany-wide ranking of large cities with the most green space per inhabitant. Allotment gardens play a special role in this. With a total of 278 clusters of allotment gardens, they are an important part of the city’s green lungs. Accounting for 30 per cent of all green space, they cover an area of approximately 1,240 hectares, with more than 39,000 plots. The allotment garden site “Dr. Schreber”, founded in 1876, is one of the oldest such allotment associations in Germany. While the focus used to be on working outdoors, nowadays people are almost as keen to simply grow their own fruit and vegetables. One of today’s hip urban community projects is the non-profit ANNALINDE, whose aim is to offer a platform for exchange through community gardening – focusing on growing produce locally, biodiversity, sustainable consumption, and forward-looking neighbourhood and urban development.

3. Leipziger Messe as a pioneer in the field of green meetings and events

A beacon of sustainability in the event business is Leipziger Messe. In 2009, it was the first German trade fair company to be certified according to Green Globe standards, a rating it successfully defends every year.And 2022 was no different, with Leipziger Messe securing the seal of approval once again. With this rating, it guarantees its exhibitors, visitors and partners sustainable standards as well as a systematic approach to resource conservation both on the exhibition grounds and in the Congress Center Leipzig (CCL) and KONGRESSHALLE am Zoo Leipzig. The certification considers around 300 criteria on social, ecological and business aspects. These include sustainable mobility, good public transport links to the exhibition grounds, charging points for e-vehicles, and a charging station for e-bike batteries. Catering is another area where principles of sustainability are brought to life. The subsidiary fairgourmet, for example, serves only certified organic, fair-trade coffee, attaches importance to using regional and fair-trade products throughout its catering services, and works together with regional producers and suppliers.

4. Guide for sustainable events with concrete tips on how to act

According to the Meeting & EventBarometer 2021 / 2022, sustainability is a trending topic in the event industry. And not without reason: when the whole world is discussing the consequences of climate change, aiming to reduce CO2 emissions and conserve resources, these aspects play an important role, especially at events. The good news is that Leipzig provides event planners with a guide to organising sustainable events in the city and offers intensive support from the planning stage onwards. The 36-page guide (in German) is packed with valuable tips as well as clear and measurable recommendations for action in areas such as mobility, the careful use of resources, regional and fair trade, and social responsibility. It also shows how planners can act sustainably when choosing transport, which hotels have made sustainability commitments, and where marketing material can be printed in an environmentally friendly way using recycled paper and eco-printing processes. The guide is available for download online.

5. Leipzig is already working today on sustainable concepts for tomorrow

Leipzig is already positioning itself as a sustainable city suitable for green meetings and events. An exciting variety of ideas reflects Leipzig’s awareness of personal and social responsibility. The city is systematically working on developing and expanding this aspect and has launched an integrated urban development concept (INSEK) for the Leipzig of 2030. INSEK is all about sustainable growth and resource efficiency in everyday life. Leipzig wants to position itself as an economically attractive region, but at the same time integrate social and ecological aspects as equally important factors. The central goal is that all residents can feel comfortable and develop in a growing Leipzig, while the environment and natural foundations are preserved and improved. The topic is receiving new attention with the creation of the city administration’s new Department for Sustainable Development and Climate Protection in 2021. This institutional commitment goes hand in hand with many civil society initiatives such as the Forum Nachhaltiges Leipzig (Sustainable Leipzig Forum), which brings together citizens, local businesses and the city administration in the name of sustainable growth.

Conclusion: More and more planners rely on Leipzig for sustainable events

Minimising CO2 emissions, integrating green spaces throughout the city, and using clever concepts to shape the sustainability of tomorrow – this is how Leipzig is already positioning itself today. And it’s why the city has become an in-demand destination for sustainable conferences, events and meetings. Recent examples show what sustainable collaboration for events can look like in practice: together with the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) and Leipziger Messe, the City of Leipzig will host the world cycling summit Velo-city, the world’s most important cycling congress, from 09 to 12 May 2023. The ECF deliberately chose Leipzig because of its sustainable urban development policy. Furthermore, Leipziger Messe will be the location of the International Broadcast Centre for UEFA EURO 2024. The international media centre will be transformed into a hub for all media partners involved. Sports mayor Heiko Rosenthal cannot wait for the tournament: “The City of Leipzig is already preparing thoroughly (...) to present itself as an outward-looking host and to welcome all guests. I also very much welcome the fact that there is a greater focus on sustainability (...). UEFA’s agenda is thus very much in line with our city’s own resolution to stage future major events in a manner that considers the climate.” These and other major events bring guests from all over the world to the trade fair and congress city of Leipzig, with so much potential to make them sustainable.

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