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Focus on environmental responsibility within meetings industry

Focus on environmental responsibility within meetings industry ( Finland Convention Bureau (FCB), which promotes Finland as a destination for meetings and corporate events, has carried out among its members the first survey of its kind in Finland into corporate social responsibility within the meetings industry.

The purpose of the survey was to assess the current level of issues related to corporate social responsibility, as well as to provide a starting point for monitoring the future development of the meetings industry. FCB considers social responsibility to be not only a challenge for the development of the meetings industry, but also a key factor for attracting congresses to Finland in the future.

The survey is part of the programme organised by FCB for the National Meetings Industry Week that is taking place this week under the theme “Responsible Meetings”. Social responsibility has also been selected as a regular theme for future National Meetings Industry Weeks. This broad concept encompasses economic, social and ecological responsibility and has this year been initially approached from the perspective of environmental responsibility. The survey was sent to approximately 80 FCB member companies, which include venues, hotels and restaurants, transportation companies, meetings and events management companies and companies supplying special services for meetings. The response rate was 39 percent.

Over 70 percent introducing further measures

When asked about the current state of the industry in general, 65 percent of the respondents stated that issues related to social responsibility have been clearly noted in their corporate vision or strategy. The implementation of these are monitored regularly by over half (55 percent) of the companies, and the same proportion of respondents stated that quality systems were employed in their companies. A special person had been appointed to handle issues related to social responsibility within 39 percent of the companies.

Almost half (48 percent) of the respondents considered social responsibility to be a key competitive factor, and almost a third (32 percent) had experienced increased demands from customers regarding issues related to environmental responsibility. When asked if their companies had plans to increase their social responsibility, 71 percent responded positively. Among the most significant plans for the future was the target of airline Blue1 to reduce CO2 emissions by 20 percent by 2020 as part of its new environmental strategy.

Purchasing locally

The environmental responsibility of the Finnish meetings industry was most clearly demonstrated by how companies relate to purchasing materials, energy consumption and the waste and emissions produced by companies. Environmentally friendly products were favoured by 81 percent of respondents when purchasing raw materials and supplies. Over 60 percent of companies also said they concentrated their purchases on local sources (61 percent) and that they favoured local food and products made in Finland (65 percent). Over 80 percent of the respondents stated that they monitor their energy consumption and costs (84 percent) and ensure that their waste is properly sorted and transported (87 percent). Excess packaging materials are avoided by 71 percent of the respondents.

One in five have eco label

Almost one fifth (19 percent) of the companies who responded to the survey have been granted an eco label, and over a third (35 percent) stated that they use suppliers who have been granted an eco label. Examples include the six hotels operated by Scandic in Finland that have been granted the Swan eco label, Dipoli Congress Centre’s Green Office label, and the first environmental responsibility certification for a bus company granted to Korsisaari Oy.

Over half (55 percent) of the companies stated that they pay attention to the environmental impacts of transportation, while 45 percent have taken actions to reduce these impacts. Unnecessary transportation is avoided, for example, by concentrating purchases and planning journeys in advance.

Further information: FCB Managing Director Tuula Lindberg, tel. +358 (0)50 363 2540

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