Case: Tomorrow Urban Travel 2019
With regard to the C40 Mayors Summit, we asked ourselves - and each other - what we could do to create a more sustainable future for the tourism industry. Therefore the theme of the 2019 conference was 'Commit to a sustainable future', where all were encouraged to commit to sustainability.
1. WHAT WAS THE POSITIVE IMPACT OF TUT19
The theme of Tomorrow’s Urban Travel conference 2019 was sustainability and how to commit to a greener future. Wonderful Copenhagen gathered all our partners in Copenhagen (hotels, restaurants, venues, DMC, PCO etc.) and invited several speakers to give inspirational talks on a sustainability. Our intention was to inspire and motivate our partners in the Copenhagen tourism industry to become even more sustainable in their operations and give them the tools to do so. Furthermore, Wonderful Copenhagen facilitated a networking activity with the purpose of making the partners commit to taking new sustainable steps. Looking at the feedback from the event and the changes our partners implemented afterwards, we can confidently say that TUT 2019 played a role in shifting the industry in a more sustainable direction.
2. WHAT WAS YOUR NEGATIVE FOOTPRINT?
Even though we tried to minimise ours as much as possible, the conference still left a negative footprint, given that electricity was used, international speakers transported by plane and materials printed for the networking activities. That being said, the negative footprint from this event was much smaller than the previous TUT conferences.
3. WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO OTHER ORGANISERS REGARDING VENUE SPACES?
We always recommend using a venue that has green initiatives or certificates. For Tomorrow’s Urban Travel 2019, our venue, Scandic Falkoner, was certificated by the Swan Ecolabel. This means:
- 99% of all the energy used is renewable
- All waste is sorted into 12 different categories for optimal disposal and recycling
- Special water saving toilets and water saving washing machines
- Serves only filtered water straight from the tap
- Led lights are used everywhere except for the old lightbulbs used in the theatre
- Only eco-labelled detergent products are used
4. WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY PROUD OF WHEN IT COMES TO SUSTAINABILITY?
When we look at Copenhagen and at how great the city has become at embracing sustainable change, we cannot help feeling that we played a part in that. We see the statement that we made through Tomorrow’s Urban Travel 2019 being taken very seriously and used advantageously on a competitive market by our partners.
5. WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE LIKED TO DO BETTER REGARDING SUSTAINABILITY?
At our Tomorrow’s Urban Travel conference in 2018, we calculated the CO2 footprint of all food served. Unfortunately, the venue wasn’t able to do this in 2019. The same goes for calculating the carbon footprint of the venue’s electricity use.
6. WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO OTHER ORGANISERS REGARDING SUSTAINABLE ACCOMMODATION?
Furthermore, you can choose a Copenhagen hotel marked by the Green Tourism Organization (nearly 70% of the hotels in Copenhagen) – this will guarantee a more sustainable choice of accommodation. Give simple tips to delegates on how to make their stay in a hotel room more sustainable, e.g. reuse towels and bedsheets, cancel cleaning of the room, and climate conscious water and AC usage.
7. WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO OTHER ORGANISERS REGARDING SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL & TRANSPORT?
At Tomorrow’s Urban Travel 2019, approximately half of the keynote speakers arrived by plane from abroad. The carbon emissions from those flights were about equal to the annual emissions of 12 average Danes. We have compensated this by supporting a Gold Standard certified UN carbon-reducing project. Additionally, we have committed to the 2°C global warming path, compensating by a factor of 2.5 i.e. 31,2375 tCO2e. If you choose to offset your carbon emissions, we advise you to carefully research and consider which organisation you choose, to insure that the money goes to the right cause. Some organisations are more transparent and connected to more official authorities than others. Moreover, we encouraged our delegates to leave their car at home and commute by public transport or bike.
8. WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO OTHER ORGANISERS REGARDING SUSTAINABLE FOOD?
When choosing the menu for your event, we can only recommend going for food that emits less CO2. At Tomorrow’s Urban Travel 2019 the menu was entirely vegetarian – a choice made because of the big difference in the carbon footprint of meat production compared to locally grown vegetables. Another piece of advice would be to calculate the carbon footprint of each dish on the menu and then to advertise it to delegates, allowing them to make the most sustainable choices. Finally, most of the ingredients were marked with the so-called Ø logo, the official ecological certificate in Denmark.
9. WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO OTHER ORGANISERS REGARDING A SUSTAINABLE USE OF MATERIALS AND COMMUNICATION?
In almost all our of communication with our delegates, we gave tips on how to be a sustainable delegate. This spanned from encouraging them to commute by train or bike rather than by car or plane, to suggesting that they should bring their own non-plastic water bottles and fill them up at dedicated water stations. Furthermore, printed and plastic handouts were reduced as much as possible: no programmes, goodie bags, pencils, papers or plastic bottles. All of this was made digital instead. Speaker gifts were replaced with the gesture of planting a tree in Copenhagen, which was arranged through a partnership with the organisation “Plant a Tree”. All speakers received a diploma stating ownership of that tree in Copenhagen. Their name-badges were made from organic reused material, with even the print being ecologically certificated by the Swan Label. The list goes on and our advice is to investigate every single material being used for the event and to consider how it could be made more sustainable. There are more options out there than you would think. You just have to investigate and you will find the green alternative.
10. WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO OTHER ORGANISERS REGARDING SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY?
We recommend that organisers look into how food leftovers can be donated to homelessness organisations for example. This will reduce food waste as well as improve social responsibility. Organisers should also consider how the local community can benefit from their event.