Some speak of “sustainability”, others use the terms “environmentally friendly” and “climate conscious”. Future-friendliness is important to those who want to minimise their ecological footprint for the sake of the next generations.
The “Austrian Ecolabel” and the “Green Meeting” and “Green Location” certifi cations are regarded as the highest seals of approval for conventions and events with regard to future-friendliness, both within Austria and beyond. Like the “elk test” for cars. In Salzburg 51 tourism businesses bear the Austrian Ecolabel; eight also have the Green Meetings, Green Events or Green Locations certifi cation. Whichever provider you choose in Salzburg, you can rest assured that the level of future-friendliness is state of the art.
The Green Meeting label is not available by purchase. Rather, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management awards a licence for a limited period of time. Officially appointed auditors thoroughly examine the applicants and award points according to a detailed list. The criteria on the list range from the CO2 emissions in connection with the traffic caused by the event venue, the power and water consumption, through to the eco-friendliness of the free gifts for the guests.
Businesses applying for the label must also employ Green Meeting experts (environmental officers). Theirs is not an alibi function. On the contrary, environmental consultants are increasingly sought after. More and more organisers watch out for venues fulfilling their expectations not only in terms of atmosphere and cost-effectiveness, but also eco-friendliness.
Trend researchers agree that there is no future for non-green events. Sponsors are demanding an ecological and social focus in return for their contribution, i.e. predominantly public transport, regional foods, waste separation, no plastic and paper, and energy conservation. Austria greenlighted this development at state level almost 30 years ago with the introduction of its Ecolabel and became an international trendsetter. And the driving force in Salzburg was the convention industry: In view of the tough competition among local providers and at international level, the convention industry sees eco-standards as an asset and is constantly raising the bar of its own accord. Providers benefi t from their green image and even reduce costs. They save a lot of money in the long run with their own solar, water power or wood chip plants and by reducing waste. Switching to Green Meetings doesn’t cost a cent more. These are some of the things that the Green Events Austria Gala in Salzburg’s Messezentrum celebrated this year.
One of the environmental benefits – and also a USP of Salzburg’s event venues – is the proximity of the businesses. Hotels, congress locations and side events are all within a walking distance of one another, which saves fuel costs and simplifi es logistics. Salzburg is also a frontrunner in terms of electro-mobility. Complimentary charging stations can be found not only in the City of Salzburg, but throughout the Federal State of Salzburg, thanks to the world’s first solar route.
Werfenweng, a town famous for its sustainable transportation strategy and home to the Travel Charme Bergresort, rewards green travelers who use public transport to get there, or at least leave the keys to their (fuel-powered) car with the tourism o ce for the duration of their stay, receive courtesy electric vehicles and various discounts. St. Virgil in the City of Salzburg expressly informs its guests of alternative travel options. Additionally they have been EMAS certified since 2006. The highly demanding EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) requires, for instance, that businesses fully document all raw materials and consumables they use and constantly monitor their waste and recycling processes.
The Imlauer Hotel Pitter is one of the convention hotels bearing the Austrian Ecolabel. In 2014 a new storey was added to this famous hotel, including a roo op terrace, a restaurant and a bar, and renovations of several guest rooms are currently underway. Ecological goals have always been the top priority, says Georg Imlauer, the hotel’s owner: “The main focus of all our renovation work is on energy and heating eficiency. With heat recovery, cutting-edge central heating systems and an overall switch to LED lighting, we have been able to reduce our energy consumption by 30 percent.”
The Mariott Hotels Goldener Hirsch and Sheraton Grand are equally ambitious. They aim to reduce their power consumption by 30 percent and their water usage by 20 percent by 2020 compared to 2008. Both hotels also offer an “impact report”, which measures the ecological footprint of events.
Being top of the line in terms of ecological standards is the new normal – especially in a city that has classified more than 58 percent of its total area as parklands. On top of that, the Federal State of Salzburg is the European champion of organic farming. 3,500 farmers in the province manage more than half of their farmland in accordance with organic farming regulations. This is the highest density of organic farmers in the whole of the EU. Not only convention guests benefit from this, but future generations as well.
|Venue||Green Meetings/Events||Green Location||Austrian Ecolabel||EMAS|
|Wyndham Grand Salzburg||x||-||x||-|
|Ferry Porsche Congress Center||x||-||-||-|
|Hotel Goldener Hirsch||-||-||x||-|
|Sheraton Grand Salzburg Hotel||-||-||x||-|
|Imlauer Hotel Pitter||-||-||x||-|
|Imlauer Hotel & Bräu||-||-||x||-|
|Hotel Restaurant Ammerhauser||-||-||x||-|
|Robinson Club Amadé||-||-||x||-|
|Hotel Gasthof Gastagwirt||-||-||x||-|
To find out whether your event is eligible for the Green Meeting label, you need an agreement with an existing licensee. This can be either the venue itself or an agency.