Sydney recognised as a global sustainability innovator

Sydney has been recognised on the global stage for its innovative approach to sustainable business events practice and environmental responsibility, winning the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index) Innovation in Sustainability Award at the annual ICCA Congress in Houston.

The award was given in recognition of the City of Sydney’s Sustainable Destination Partnership, which features BESydney as an associate partner. The judging panel applauded the initiative’s work in the environmental footprinting of the Sydney hospitality sector, and the co-creation of a strategy to achieve a 70 per cdent reduction in carbon emissions and divert 90 per cent of its waste by 2030.

The award was accompanied by the announcement that Sydney has risen in the GDS-Index rankings to be named 8th in the world for sustainable business events.

The GDS-Index benchmarks the social and environmental performance of business events industries, across more than 50 cities worldwide.

“Sustainability is becoming an important requirement for our global client base when choosing a host destination, and the City of Sydney’s approach in creating a collaborative framework for our whole industry to work with them is truly visionary,” said BESydney CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith.

Sydney rated above the global average across the four pillars of the Index, and was noted as a particular leader in destination management performance, achieving a 77 per cent score – well above the global average score of 46 per cent.

The strong performance was bolstered by the aim to source 50 per cent of Sydney’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and by the innovative sustainability initiatives implemented by BESydney’s major partner, ICC Sydney. The City of Sydney was also applauded for being Australia’s first carbon neutral local government.

“We created the Sustainable Destination Partnership to work with some of the biggest hotels and tourist attractions in our city to reduce environmental impact and address climate change,” said Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

“Sydney’s leading hotels, event centres, cultural institutions and tourism bodies knew that taking action would be a real challenge, given the sector is resource intensive and has a strong demand for energy.

“This award recognises their success in becoming more sustainable and working to address the most pressing issue of our time. I hope it encourages more businesses and organisations to become involved.”

ICCA president James Rees said social pressure for action has increased as the effects of climate change become evident.

“The meetings and events industry must continue to create positive economic impact for destinations, but also help influence the social and environmental policies that are affected by our business,” he said.

“Destination management organisations are a key catalyst and enabler of a sustainable visitor economy, and I am delighted to see the GDS-Index evolving and playing a vital role in accelerating the creation of sustainable destinations.”