Back in September I hosted #EventPlannersTalk Twitter chat about sustainability and green events, topic I see of a great importance for the meetings and events industry but unfortunately still overlooked by many. It was then when I e-met Ulrika from Wonderful Copenhagen Convention Bureau who shared with us their recent #BeeSustain initiative to promote sustainability and responsible thinking within the global events industry among planners, suppliers and destinations. The initiative was first launched at the IMEX Frankfurt 2014 and became also nominated for the ICCA Best Marketing Award 2014 taking place this week in Antalya.
Last weekend I was invited to take part at a #BeeSustain tweet tour, organised by Wonderful Copenhagen Convention Bureau and Visit Denmark. The tweet tour started just before the 40th Session of the IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change that from the 27th – 31st October attracted over 800 global politicians and decision-makers to the green capital to edit the report which is a main guide for governments on climate change.
In the recent years Copenhagen has increased its global image as a green meetings destination so many companies organise events that go hand-in-hand with it. One of the examples is Mercedes who launched their new hybrid car in Copenhagen on a press event in September 2014 with over 300 international media visits over 10 days.
I have lots to share with you about the venues we visited and activities we had but before I want to share with you some of my first impressions from Copenhagen (as it was my first time there) and the story behind this initiative and give a further overview about sustainability and responsible meetings.
I flew to Copenhagen from London Heathrow with SAS and it was a very easy and pleasant journey. Copenhagen airport is located just about 20 minutes by metro from the city centre and upon arrival and check-in in the Scandic FRONT hotel we immediately started the tour. The surprise was that we took the hotel bikes, something that I found particularly great as I am not used to urban cycling but often do it when on holidays. We went on a quick tour around the city to get a first introduction and stopped at different venues.
Our first stop was the Botanical Garden, where we visited the urban beehive which is part of the Copenhagen City bee project ‘ByBi’ (City Bee) launched in 2010 with the aim of increasing the number of bees in the Copenhagen area. Today major local companies, including Wonderful Copenhagen Convention Bureau sponsor bee families. The project has also a CSR mission by integrating people from underprivileged economic backgrounds, refugees and children to help take care of the 4.5 million bees. In 2013, the project successfully harvested 5 tons of honey.
Why was the bee chosen as a symbol of sustainability in the meeting industry?
Firstly, the bees are an endangered species and extremely crucial to our eco system due to their pollination abilities, which in turn is important for at least third of our food production. The bees need flowers to keep pollinate, but can’t with pesticides in the flowers. Additional influence comes from intensive agriculture, climate change and new bee-diseases that require more frequent care by the beekeepers.
Here is the role of sustainable meeting planning comes in and calls for sustainable and responsible thinking and planning. Sustainable initiatives can range from using only organic produce for food and decoration to planting trees, educating local community and supporting green initiatives.
Secondly, the adoption of the two bee families by Wonderful Copenhagen CVB became one of the elements of the #BeeSustain initiatives.
Lastly, the bee symbol is associated with the language we often use in our industry: create buzz, social media buzz, generate event buzz and so on. Maybe you saw the buzz created by Wonderful Copenhagen CVB during the IMEX Frankfurt 2014, when they were dressed up as bees and invited everyone to join them on a sustainability storytelling tour.
During the three days of our Tweet tour, we also generated a great buzz on social media and the tweet reach has been close to 100,000 impressions from over 100 tweets using the #BeeSustain hashtag. Since the launch of the campaign in May, the total tweet reach for #BeeSustain has exceeded 1,6 million impressions!
Have you organised or attended events in Copenhagen or Denmark? Would love to hear your experience and impressions in the comment section! Very soon I’ll share with you more from our #BeeSustain tour so stay tuned for more updates to come in the following days! Until then, you can also follow the #BeeSustain hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.
Two bee families sponsored by Wonderful Copenhagen Convention Bureau
City tour on a bike
Ice Watch exhibition: 100 tonnes of ice were unveiled on Sunday 26th October on the City Hall Square prior to the opening of the ICPP on the 27th October. The 12 blocks of ice represented a ticking clock and were brought from Greenland to demonstrate the facts: ice is melting, temperatures are increasing and sea levels are raising. This was a physical wake-up to action to the public to engage in a dialogue on climate change which is now mainly led by governments and media.
All photos © The MICE Blog