BELGIUM – Greener meetings in Brussels
The meeting industry is increasingly sensitive to the importance of sustainable development, particularly in relation to the environment.
A large number of players in the sector, from hotels and agents to event sites and caterers, have already obtained one of the several labels introduced to recognize and encourage sustainable behaviour, particularly in the areas of energy and resources conservation. Others are busy working towards obtaining a label.
As an international city with some 66,000 registered meetings a year, the ‘Capital of Europe’ is playing a leading role in the organization of sustainable meetings and events. On a wider scale, Brussels is classified jointly with Copenhagen as Europe’s n° 1 city for public environmental policy. And now they plan to become an even greener place to meet by 2014.
On a practical level, Brussels has introduced its own regional label for promoting environmental best practice: the ‘Eco-dynamic Enterprise’ label. Based on a three-star evaluation system, this label rewards all companies in Brussels – including the meeting and tourism sector – for their progress in implementing practices for sustainable development.
Other labels driving the change towards a sustainable meeting industry are: Green Key, awarded to establishments in 36 countries including eleven of Brussels’ top hotels; EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme), a management tool developed by the European Commission; and Green Globe, the worldwide travel and tourism industries’ certification program for sustainable tourism.