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2017 UFI Sustainable Development Award Goes to Fira Barcelona

UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, has announced Fira Barcelona as the winner of its annual Sustainable Development Award. The theme of this year’s  competition, “Best destination approach to implementing sustainability”, was chosen in order to recognize initiatives that combine the efforts of a destination, in partnership with a professional exhibition operator, to implement sustainability around an individual exhibition or a series of events. The award jury was composed of members of the UFI Sustainable Development Committee and Dianne Young, chair of the UFI Sustainable Development Committee and CEO of the Exhibition Place (Toronto, Canada), said: “Fira Barcelona’s entry demonstrates a very broad approach to sustainability which goes much beyond the stand-alone direction. Their strong collaboration with the City Council and other organizations is an important part of maximizing change and innovation, and as highlighted below several of their results are very impressive. The jury would also like to congratulate Marina Bay Sands from Singapore and RAI Amsterdam from the Netherlands who were finalists for this year’s award”.

After implementing certain measures around their own events (energy efficiency, eco-design, waste management, CSR program and paperless processes) and guest events (such as free consultancy and donation room), Fira Barcelona realized that they needed to expand their scope: they therefore began to develop joint initiatives with their City Council and other relevant entities. These joint initiatives included:

– Development of a “Good Environmental Practices Manual” in conjunction with the Catalan Regional Government and the Catalan Waste Management Agency;

– Admission to the Barcelona Sustainable Tourism program developed by the Barcelona Convention Bureau;

– Promoting the use of public transportation among the attendees with the Barcelona City Council and other entities;

– Launch of the “Towards Zero Waste” program as a part of the “Smart City World Congress”.

Constantí Serrallonga, general manager of Fira de Barcelona, declared: ”Fira de Barcelona’s commitment towards sustainability is a long-standing one. Not only have we implemented many initiatives over the past few years around our own events, but we have launched new events focusing on making companies, cities and the world a better place and have tirelessly encouraged our partners, clients, attendees and fellow cities to join us in this collective effort. Sustainability has indeed become a part of who Fira de Barcelona is and receiving the UFI Sustainable Development Award is not only an honor but a reward that further strengthens our determination to continue developing even better initiatives.”

The entries submitted by the 2017 UFI Sustainable Development Award finalists, together with the three additional entries selected during the first round of the competition as examples of best practices: BVV Trade Fair Brno (Czech Republic), CTICC (South Africa) and Meetings Africa (South Africa), are all available at www.ufi.org/sdaward.

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