The future of business events is sustainable and it's time to make a change. As the meetings and events industry, it's our responsibility to create a positive impact and leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.
Canadian Business Events Sustainability Plan
Destination Canada's Business Events Sustainability Plan is a first-of-its-kind national program aimed at improving the economic, socio-cultural and environmental sustainability practices of business events hosted in Canada. The plan cements Destination Canada's position as a global leader in business event sustainability and positions Canadian destinations as changemakers accelerating progress toward the industry's 2050 net zero targets.
Sustainability from Coast to Coast to Coast
Global Destination Sustainability Index
From coast to coast to coast, 16 Canadian destinations have embarked on the Global Destination Sustainability (GDS) Index annual benchmarking process — The GDS-Index is a global leading destination-level program that promotes scalable sustainability and responsible practices among tourism destinations globally. It measures, benchmarks and suggests improvements for the sustainability strategy and performance of tourism and events each year. Using 69 indicators as its guide, the index evaluates destinations across four key areas from environmental and social progress to supplier and destination management performance.
This work is aligned with internationally-recognized standards and initiatives such as the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Destination Criteria, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)'s One Planet Vision and with the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), which act as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
Legacy Impact Study
In order to host sustainable and purposeful meetings, we're not only studying the environmental impact of our events. We’re also looking at the social and economic impacts through the legacy they leave.
In conjunction with its Canadian Business Events Sustainability Plan, Destination Canada has commissioned a Legacy Impact Study. The multi-year study will evaluate the beyond-tourism benefits international business events generate in host communities aligned with the core sustainability pillars of economic, social and environmental enrichment.
Innovate Canada – Our Carbon Neutral Event Journey
At Destination Canada, we put sustainability at the forefront of our operations in a variety of ways — such as by making this year’s Innovate Canada a carbon-neutral event for the first time. Focused on the advanced manufacturing sector, Innovate Canada 2023 prioritized venues with sustainable practices, provided digital communications whenever possible, and used products from recycled and other sustainable material. And that’s only the start.
10 powerful ways to make your next event more sustainable
- Set sustainability goals
The first step is to put achievable and realistic goals in place. To do this, we recommend setting five to ten measurable goals aligned with three to five United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (UN SDGs). Once you have these goals, it’s a great idea to create a dedicated team that can help track them and ensure you're making progress.
- Choose the right partners
It’s also important to align with partners that can help reduce your event’s impact, whether that’s venues and hotels with strong green initiatives or activities that minimize attendees’ carbon footprint. As one suggestion, consider working with suppliers of green electricity or generating energy on-site via solar panels.
- Go local
Today’s business travellers don’t want their trip to have a negative impact on the environment or local communities. One way to help give attendees a feel-good factor is through using local products and sourcing from local vendors whenever possible.
- Eliminate food waste
Planners should take the time to understand proper food management, including disposal and donation options for surpluses. They can also partner with charities, food banks and innovative companies that help sustainably process leftovers.
- Make attendees accountable
Provide attendees with insights on how they can reduce their own impact while attending your event. For instance, you can highlight the power of sustainable practices like using public transport, choosing vegetarian meal options, being mindful about water usage and opting out of daily hotel laundry services. You can also use an app instead of paper printed copies of programs. Small steps like these can make a big difference collectively.
Edmonton is leading the way in helping organizations host sustainable events — offering everything from its Carbon Neutral Events program that minimizes and offsets emissions, to award-winning venues with innovative waste management initiatives, a commitment to partnering with local suppliers and more.
Check back regularly for more sustainability initiatives from our partners
Sustainability News & Resources Roundup
Explore these articles and resources to help bring sustainability planning to your next event. Embracing environmental, socio-cultural and economic sustainability, see how partners and organizations are making an impact and driving more sustainable business events.
Let’s Help You Get Planning
Reach out to learn how destinations across Canada can help ensure your next event is your most sustainable. Our team can provide:
- Specific information regarding Canada's sector expertise
- Recommendations on destinations based on their sustainability programs
- Introductions to industry leaders, academics, and economic development agencies
- Information on carbon neutral event planning
- Assistance in sourcing RFPs for conference placement