Sustainability – the power of collaboration

Date: 18/03/2024


With 2024 now in full swing and many venues playing host to a packed program of events over the year ahead, we can safely say that confidence has returned to the business events sector. However, there is a looming date on the horizon – the Paris Agreement target to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 is now only six years away.  

None of us has to do this – or even can do this – on our own. This is where collaboration is key. 

IMEX has been working hand in hand with its venue partner – Messe Frankfurt – since the launch of its first show over 20 years ago to ensure its annual tradeshow in the city is as environmentally responsible as possible. 

For the second year running, IMEX worked with sustainability consultants MeetGreen® to measure and evaluate progress at IMEX Frankfurt – the resulting report can be found here. It details sustainability successes at IMEX Frankfurt 2023 – notably around waste reduction, low carbon F&B and energy use – as well as pinpointing areas for future development 

Four highlights from the report: 

  1. Water wise: Despite a 26 per cent increase in attendance for 2023, water consumption at IMEX Frankfurt rose by only 1 per cent compared to 2022. These figures are a testament to Messe Frankfurt’s overall operational efficiency – they use a closed re-cooling system to reduce any resulting water spray and, where possible, use rainwater to flush toilet facilities and irrigate green areas.  
  1. Think local: IMEX Frankfurt show menus intentionally featured Fair Trade Darboven Coffee, Gschwendner Organic Teas, as well as Hassia Mineral Water from nearby Bad Vilbel, fruit and vegetables from Hanau & Oberrad, and Schwälbchen dairy products from Bad Sulzbach - all located near to Messe Frankfurt. 
  1. Going behind the scenes: Both IMEX and Messe Frankfurt teams performed waste-oriented back of house audits at Messe Frankfurt, key hotel properties and the Alte Oper (site of the IMEX Gala Dinner), as well as an in-person site visit to the Meilo Recycling Facility in Gernsheim, Germany. This helped both teams learn more about the processes, technology, and materials accepted in the Frankfurt RhineMain region. 

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, says: “Our sustainability efforts at IMEX Frankfurt and also at IMEX America are part of our wider strategy to achieve a more positive impact. As we make progress over time, success comes from focusing on some of the fine details while looking at every decision we make through a green, lower carbon lens. This impact can’t be achieved in isolation, however, and working with Messe Frankfurt along with our other, colleagues and friends across the industry is paramount.” 

Wolfgang Marzin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Messe Frankfurt, adds: “Ecological, social and economic responsibility is part of our business strategy. Our sustainable business practices are founded on a wide range of voluntary commitments. As well as an EMAS certification (EcoManagement and Audit Scheme), we take part in ESG ratings and actively support German and international sustainability initiatives. As sustainability is a joint effort, we’re thankful for our long-term successful partnership with the IMEX Group that leads us closer to a sustainable future for events.”  

There’s always room to improve and innovate on the journey to 2030 and the ultimate goal of reaching net zero by 2050. The journey’s more productive and powerful, however, when a partnership approach is taken. By working closely with clients, suppliers and colleagues, venues can make a more positive impact.    

The IMEX Frankfurt 2023 sustainability report can be downloaded here. 

IMEX Frankfurt 2024 takes place at Messe Frankfurt 14 – 16 May.  To register – for free – click here.  

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