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Wonderful Copenhagen Convention Bureau Tells its Story Best

In this post I am very happy to share with you the highlight of our #BeeSustain Tweet Tour but before I have a very exciting announcement: this week Wonderful Copenhagen Convention Bureau has won the 2014 ICCA Best PR Award at the ICCA Congress in Antalya for their #BeeSustain campaign! The award was based on different criteria, including strong story-telling, high-visibility coverage, brand consistency, PR reaction to a crisis, and PR that showcases success, covering both traditional print and web/social media channels.

That announcement sets the theme for what I want to share with you now, as our #BeeSustain Tweet Tour also had a wonderful story over the three days. I couldn’t think about better title for this post as the one given by ICCA for thier press release: “Wonderful Copenhagen Convention Bureau Tells its Story Best”.

Good Things Await

On our first day in Copenhagen we watched the Danish documentary Good Things Await which was released on 3rd of September 2014 and since gained national and international recognition. The movie is about an 80 years old farmer, Niels Stokholm, at the biodynamic Thorshøjgaard farm north of Copenhagen which is owned by a foundation, the Thorshøjgaard Fonden (biodynamic refers to a method of organic farming).

While I don’t want to reveal too much from the movie because I highly recommend you to watch it, the storyline is about sustainable thinking and the importance of being in harmony with the nature. Niels follows his farming principles while the authorities threaten to withdraw his licence over the farm because his way of farming does not comply with their regulations.

The movie was very emotional and educating and we continued discussing it over dinner, before visiting the farm on the following day.

Thorshøjgaard biodynamic farm

Early morning on the following day we drove to Thorshøjgaard farm to meet Niels. We were hosted at his home, where the movie was also filmed. Niels is now 80 years old, before becoming a farmer in the age of 42, he worked as an engineer, job that brought him to travel the world and he speaks English fluently. He also told us that he became a farmer because of this strong believe to connect the nature and humanity in a sustainable and harmonic way and that he sees himself as one of the few who can really represent and support the farmers in front of governments and authorities.

Later we continued to see his cattle, pigs and sheeps living in their natural environment. The animal herd consists of the original red Danish dairy breed and this breed has a strong immune system and has never been mixed with industrial breeding. It has been appointed for conservation by the National Genetic Resources Committee.

I was very impressed by his energy and enthusiasm and his friendliness to welcome us in his home.

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Copenhagen Street Food

On the third day we visited and had lunch at the Copenhagen Street Food and met with Jesper Møller, the founder. Copenhagen Street Food is a social enterprise and supports the original Danish dairy breed and the Thorshøjgaard farm by donating 5 DKK from every bottle of water sold at the Copenhagen Street Food. In September this year Jesper also donated 400,000 DKK to the Thorshøjgaard foundation to help out to restore damage caused by adverse weather.

The Copenhagen Street Food can be also used as a venue for meetings and events and offers a variety of international food with over 30 food trucks.

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While there are many ways to incorporate sustainability and CSR into events, I have learned the following from Niels and Copenhagen Street Food:

  1. Choose carefully your supply chain and try to source local produce for the event. Give back to local communities or the cause you support.
  2. Look for ways of cooperation and sharing instead of owning. Look for opportunities to create strong and lasting partnerships.
  3. Integrate storytelling into the event concept and take the attendees on a journey by educating them and raising awareness of an important cause.

I am still thinking about this powerful message and will watch the movie again.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic and how you incorporate sustainability and responsible thinking into your events?

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On a #BeeSustain Tweet Tour with Wonderful Copenhagen

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.

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Two bee families sponsored by Wonderful Copenhagen Convention Bureau 

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City tour on a bike

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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.

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Giving Back – Events with an Impact

I can’t express enough the amount of happiness and satisfaction I had when we could donate money raised from a party for a good cause. If you read my post Casino Party you know that during four months we worked very hard every week organising fundraising events and all the funds went towards the end of semester party. We were a group of hard working and talented people and the great success was thanks to the great teamwork and the mix of skills we all had! In the process, our hard work was recognised by a local coffee shop which offered us a small sponsorship. This money went towards hiring an artist as we wanted to make this party an entertaining and memorable event.

After paying all the bills we had enough money left to give back to a place which gave us so much, the university WHU – Otto Beisheim of Management. And that I mean in terms of excellent educations, support while abroad, personal and professional development and much more. We have chosen to give the money to In Praxi Diversity Scholarship. This year the master program of the university was ranked 1st in Germany and 3rd world wide by the Financial Times and this scholarship covers part of the tuition fee of the program for students outside Germany.

My goal is to make every event sustainable with contribution to the local community.

Below is the full press release I wrote for the WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management website:

Exchange students donate money for In Praxi Diversity Scholarship

Every semester WHU welcomes between 100-120 exchange students from almost 200 international partner universities. During the semester, the exchange students (also called Tauschies at the WHU) organise weekly events, called “Tauschie Tuesday” in which they present their culture and sell traditional food and drinks to raise money for the end of semester Tauschie Party. This fall the Tauschies raised a significant amount of money to host a Casino themed party and were happy to donate the rest of the money to the In Praxi – Diversity – Scholarship supported by the WHU Alumni association.

Irina Trofimovskaya, Tauschie Government President: “While one of the main goals of Tauschie event is to raise money for the end of semester party, the Tauschie Government decided that we also want to give back to the community we live in. WHU is an excellent institution, which besides offering academic excellence also provides students with opportunities to develop their social and entrepreneurial skills through the various events organised on campus. The Tauschie Tuesdays gave us the opportunity to integrate faster in the WHU community and provided a great platform for cultural exchange.
We have chosen to donate the money to In Praxi – Diversity – Scholarship, which helps students outside Germany to finance their Master studies at the WHU. We chose it because we can identify with the international aspect of this scholarship and proud to be now part of the WHU Alumni network. We would like to thank all the WHU students, International Relations Office, teachers, career department and all WHU staff who supported us throughout the semester and we look forward to welcoming you at our home universities in the future.“

The Crystal hosts an exhibition focused on urban sustainability

The Crystal is a green venue and host an exhibition focused on urban sustainability.

Located in the Royal Victoria Docks (East London), area which is also regarded as London’s new Green Enterprise District, the building is just walking distance from the Excel exhibition centre and the Emirates cable car.

If you attend an exhibition in Excel I can highly recommend taking a 30 minutes break and going to explore the exhibition. If you have more time I recommend combining your visit with taking the Emirates cable car to O2 arena (or vice versa). The exhibition is free of charge.

It is also possible to host private events there. The venue has a 270-seat auditorium as well as 6 interchangeable rooms (average capacity 25).

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