MCI Academy 2014 Environmental diploma and successful collaboration

In early 2014, one of the world’s largest congress organisers, MCI, held its annual round of staff training and certification in Gothenburg. Gothenburg Convention Bureau (GCB) was involved in arranging the evening programme, and guests had the opportunity to visit the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre, Gothenburg Museum of Art and a number of large hotels. MCI is committed to minimising its carbon footprint and welcomes ideas and feedback that can make its meetings as ecologically sustainable as possible. MCI also promotes destinations through a green sustainability policy and a clear commitment to social responsibility. MCI chose to obtain an environmental diploma for its meeting in Gothenburg, and this was achieved in record time since both the organiser and the conference centre already had a sustainable infrastructure for meetings in place. Coordination with other key organisations, including the City of Gothenburg Environment Administration and Göteborg & Co, also worked exceptionally well.

Swedental 2015 Maximising attendance and local involvement

In the run-up to the Annual Dental Congress – Swedental – Gothenburg Convention Bureau, the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre and Region Västra Götaland all worked together to promote the congress in Gothenburg. To improve regional involvement and make the most of this opportunity for professional development, Region Västra Götaland invited all dentists, dental nurses and dental hygienists employed in the region to the congress and to a special training day. A special package offer was also sent out to all delegates to encourage them to stay in Gothenburg for the weekend following the congress. These efforts to attract more delegates led to a 25-per-cent rise in visitor numbers, which naturally improved financial viability for the organiser.

International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare 2016 Record attendance and a great success

Attracting 3,400 delegates from more than 80 countries, the 2016 International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare was the biggest ever in the forum’s 21-year history (last year’s meeting in London had 2,800 delegates). In addition to the events at the exhibition centre, study visits were arranged to showcase the best quality and safety initiatives in Swedish healthcare in and beyond the city. In the run-up to the forum, Gothenburg Convention Bureau actively promoted the event to ensure high attendance.

European Obesity Summit 2016 Children and the public engaged in a vital issue

The European Obesity Summit was held at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre to provide a platform for discussions on the key public health issue of obesity and the latest research on the subject. A total of 1,500 people took part in the programme and to coincide with the summit a public awareness initiative was developed to highlight the consequences of obesity for individuals and society as a whole. In parallel with the summit, the Universeum Science Centre and the University of Gothenburg created a popular science comic strip on health, aimed at children, parents, teachers and healthcare staff. This type of knowledge transfer is one aspect of social sustainability that Gothenburg Convention Bureau is strongly committed to.

ECOC 2017 – Environmentally certified conference

During 2017 when ECOC, the European Conference on Optical Communication was held in Gothenburg, the conference and its exhibition attracted around 5,900 delegates from all over the world.

In an effort to reduce environmental impact, the organisers of the conference, environmentally certified the conference to Swedish Environmental Base (Svensk Miljöbas) criteria, for the first time. A number of the measures that led to environmental certification focused on catering. The ECOC organisers did for instance choose to serve fish that was fished sustainably (MSC labelled), fewer meals contained meat and there was always a vegetarian option at lunchtime. All coffee and tea that were served were organically sourced and Fairtrade labelled. All sandwiches did have at least two organic main ingredients.

The organisers were also buying credits to partially offset travel by the delegates to and from Gothenburg. Because the conference venue – the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre – is located close to the city centre, visitors were able to easily walk to hotels and social events, and thus avoid the environmental effects of transport.



Göteborgsvarvet City fun run with sustainability in focus

The Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon is one of the largest public running events in the world, with around 47,000 participants. The event was awarded an environmental diploma by the City of Gothenburg several years ago, but since 2016 it has also been certified to ISO 20121 – an international standard that recognises events with a high level of sustainability. The focus of sustainability efforts during Göteborgsvarvet is placed on transport, waste, disposable items, social involvement, food and health. By taking part, the runners are also contributing to sport regionally and nationally, and to charity.


WIN WIN Gothenburg Sustainability Award an event that practises what it preaches

WIN WIN Gothenburg Sustainability Award (previously the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development) is an international prize that is awarded to highlight contributions to sustainable development. The prizewinners are important role models who have each turned words into action. The prize of SEK 1,000,000 recognises the importance of this goal and what can be achieved in the battle for a brighter future.

The award may be given to an individual or organisation that has contributed to:

  • conserving resources and/or furthering renewable raw materials or ecological solutions
  • the solution to a problem (area) that can lead to a technological breakthrough or “system change”
  • driving a process that has been important for the Göteborg region as well as in a larger perspective
  • development towards greater global justice.

Hosting an event such as the WIN WIN Gothenburg Sustainability Award naturally makes it important to practise what you preach. The event has been given an environmental diploma and follows ecological, social and economically sustainable principles. These include only serving seasonal vegetarian meals during the event.

Way Out West

Since it began in 2007, the incredibly popular Way Out West music festival has become almost as well known for its commitment to sustainability as for its diverse programme of artists. In 2012 the festival stopped serving meat and became entirely vegetarian; in 2014 it switched to organic beer, and in 2015 Way Out West became lactose-free thanks to a partnership with the oat milk company Oatly. The festival has been environmentally certified by the City of Gothenburg right from the start, serves organically certified produce (KRAV) and was the first music festival in the world to be certified to ISO 20121.

Way Out West has quickly become an international example for other festivals to follow. By focusing on organic and vegetarian food it has not only contributed to the environment but also kick-started social debate on the way we live.

Gothenburg Culture Festival

With around 1.5 million visits over six days, Gothenburg Culture Festival is one of the biggest festivals of culture in Scandinavia. The festival aims to encourage sustainable attitudes and action, and actively examines ecological, social and economic issues.

The Culture Festival is committed to reducing its environmental impact and meets the Swedish Environmental Base standard for environmental certification. The event sets requirements for partners and encourages them to use environmentally friendly products, use low-emission transport and develop sustainable solutions. The festival is powered by locally produced, renewable energy. It also meets the criteria for Fairtrade City Göteborg, which means that all coffee, tea and sugar served during the festival is ethically labelled. In addition to this requirement, all food vendors must offer at least one ethically labelled product in their range.

Among other things the Culture Festival actively aims to bring a healthy mix of age groups and cultural events to the city, as this has proved to be a successful recipe for a peaceful event. No one should feel excluded from the Culture Festival on grounds of gender, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity/ expression, religion or age. In 2015 the Culture Festival won the Equalisters prize for its equality efforts on the stage. Wherever possible access is provided for people with disabilities, for example, platforms for wheelchairs and signing/audio description for people with visual/hearing impairments. The Culture Festival works with Team Gothenburg to recruit volunteers. This is a social project that engages young people in a variety of key city events all year round, with the aim of giving them work experience and skills that will help them find employment.

Gothenburg Culture Festival also does a great deal more, which you can read about at