Sustainability as a contemporary principle

– The Zurich Convention Center sets clear signals with its partnerships: The future is green - also in the event industry. CEO Roger Büchel explains why green meetings are standard at the Zurich Convention Center in an interview with Sven Berther, Managing Director of ClimatePartner Switzerland.

What is a Green Meeting?

Sven Berther: This refers to events that integrate environmentally friendly concepts into their planning and realisation, therefore reducing the impact on the environment.

Roger Büchel: For the Zurich Convention Center, we focus on the aspect of climate neutrality. This means that if you hold an event at our venue, we compensate for the CO2 emissions that are produced. Without additional costs, effort or organisation for the organiser. We see climate protection as our service to customers and the environment - that was already clear to me when I started in January 2019.

«Our customers and guests leave no carbon footprint.»

Roger Büchel, Chief Executive Officer Zurich Convention Center

Sustainable major events - that sounds contradictory. How can an event take place in a climate-neutral way?

Sven Berther: By considering all the service components and how they can be implemented in a sustainable way. For example, a sustainable event includes seasonal and regional catering. The mobility behaviour of the employees, the energy supply of the building, recycling, material requirements in the office and much more also play a role in the calculation. With all these points, the first thing to look at is where emissions can be avoided or reduced. Whatever remains at the end of the day - the unavoidable emissions - will be compensated by supporting clima te protection projects.

Roger Büchel: For us, this is a forest conservation project in Peru. We only have an indirect influence on the CO2 emissions on how our guests arrive. Fortunately, the Zurich Convention Center is easily accessible on foot or by public transport. We also offer our clients advice and support on this topic.

 

Are digital meetings also part of the solution?

Roger Büchel: Of course. For example, we have a professional TV streaming studio that enables live broadcasts and digital participation in events at the touch of a button.

 

Is the term "Green Meeting" too short? The issue of climate neutrality is very complex.

Sven Berther: For the event industry, the term is suitable and common. Our aim is to take responsibility in accordance with the polluter-pays principle: we become part of the solution because we are also part of the cause.

Roger Büchel: For the Zurich Convention Center, the concept of sustainability is central. This includes not only climate-neutral action, but also the cultivation of sustainable partnerships, whether with employees, customers or suppliers. Anyone who acts sustainably does not aim for short-term returns, but thinks about the future in all its aspects.

«There is a worldwide agreement that something can and will be done.»

Sven Berther, Chief Executive Officer ClimatePartner Switzerland

Does this really meet a customer need?

Sven Berther: Absolutely. International corporations have long since anchored climate neutrality in their policies, and the Zurich Convention Center is a perfect match. There is a worldwide agreement that something can and will be done.

Roger Büchel: The environmental issue is also attracting a high level of attention among guests and employees - we see that, for example, in the demand for vegan food. There are needs and we offer solutions, and this is where the circle is complete.

 

So the Zurich Convention Center is at the forefront of this topic?

Sven Berther: Fortunately yes! Climate neutrality is often offered in the industry on request and as an option. But the Zurich Convention Center does things the right way. It offers customer-friendly packages - entirely, ecological and transparent.

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