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Adding value with sustainable business practices

Jun 25, 2018

For Messe Frankfurt, sustainability means acting as a responsible corporate citizen while continuing to strengthen the Group’s performance – it is something that encompasses economic, ecological and social factors. Social, economic and ecological aspects of sustainability are key components of our business and are reflected in the various activities of all parts of the Group worldwide. CSR activities are divided into four areas: Environment/Sustainability, Social Responsibility, Education/Science and Commitment to Culture.

As a trade fair company, Messe Frankfurt is constantly active in the interests of its sectors with its expertise and worldwide network, focusing on the business interests of exhibitors and visitors. Partnerships are of particular importance – partnerships with stakeholders, customers and sectors at Group events and partnerships with guest organisers. The constant aim of the Group is to generate added value for its customers, for its shareholders and for its employees.

One of the ways in which Messe Frankfurt demonstrates its commitment to CSR is by participating in sustainability networks. Since 2010, Messe Frankfurt has been a member of the United Nations Global Compact – the first German trade fair organiser to join its ranks. The worldwide CSR network is committed to sustainable corporate management and to the ten principles set out in the areas of human rights, labour standards, environmental protection and anti-corruption activities. In addition, the company supports the “fairpflichtet – rightandfair” industry code for the sustainable organisation and implementation of events. Messe Frankfurt is also a member of the Charter of Diversity.

The Frankfurt exhibition grounds are among the largest and most modern anywhere in the world and are constantly being enhanced with regard to appearance, functionality and environmental efficiency.

The Kap Europa congress building, which has been in operation since mid-2014, was the first congress building worldwide to be awarded Platinum Certification by DGNB (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen). The DGNB certification process looks at a building’s entire life cycle.

Energy efficiency and the conservation of resources are of central importance for the company. Messe Frankfurt’s energy policy is defined by a common understanding of energy and by strategic paths of action. Suitable measures in the area of energy efficiency and resource protection were defined as part of long-term energy monitoring activities. The company aims to bring about a ten percent reduction in base load energy consumption at its Frankfurt base by 2020, compared with the 2014 figure. This is expected to reduce energy consumption significantly outside event times.

By using efficient exhibition hall technology and tailoring systems operation to actual needs, it is possible to bring about a sustainable reduction in the consumption of electricity, water and heating energy.
There are currently two photovoltaic systems on the roof of Hall 10 and the Rebstock multi-storey car park. A third system on the roof of Hall 12 will be providing energy for some 240 households.

Using green power from renewable sources is becoming more and more important at the company’s Frankfurt base, particularly with regard to its congress and conference business, where it is used by more than 60 percent of customers.

Messe Frankfurt leads the sector with the systematic separation and recycling of waste at its exhibition grounds, with up to 90 percent of waste generated each year being fed back into the material cycle.

A key factor contributing to sustainable mobility and logistics is the central location of the Frankfurt exhibition grounds, which offers excellent connections with all important transport routes. With a light rail station situated in the middle of the Frankfurt exhibition grounds and an underground train and tram connection at its City/Festhalle Entrance, Messe Frankfurt has an environmentally friendly public transport system that takes the strain off the city’s traffic. Given its close proximity to Frankfurt Central Station, train travel is a viable and environmentally friendly option. Exhibitors and visitors with a combination ticket can use public transport at no additional cost.

The company has one of the most advanced traffic management systems in the trade fair sector. By networking the traffic management systems with the logistics processes extensively and efficiently, it has succeeded in reducing set-up and tear-down times for its events. This strategic management helps to alleviate traffic congestion and also to reduce traffic build-up caused by drivers looking for parking in and around the exhibition grounds. This in turn lessens noise pollution and emissions as well as the considerable burden on the immediate environment.

The issue of environmentally sustainable business practices also affects the catering sector. At Accente Gastronomie Service GmbH, our catering subsidiary, this begins with the purchase of predominantly local and regional food. Wherever possible, we avoid using disposable packaging and food containing dyes, preservatives and additives.
The 80 or so catering companies that provide meals and refreshments during events only use reusable dishes and easily biodegradable materials.

Messe Frankfurt’s commitment to culture is a reflection of its business fields, events and communities and is documented in the organisation of events, sponsorships and awards for outstanding achievement in music, architecture and design. As well as this, the company is involved in a series of social projects such as collecting donations for children’s charity Children for a Better World e.V. at its Frankfurt base in keeping with the slogan “With Children. For Children”. In India, a reservoir was built together with the Planet Water Foundation, providing clean drinking water for the village of Jaunti, near New Delhi.

As innovation platforms, it stands to reason that Messe Frankfurt’s flagship events are also a driving force when it comes to sustainability. Its worldwide flagship events are ideal platforms for communicating future trends and the importance of social responsibility. In many segments of the textile industry, Messe Frankfurt and its flagship events are putting their weight behind efforts to create a green future market, from home and household textiles to technical textiles, textile processing, textile care and fashion. Sustainability is not a passing trend in the consumer goods industry but rather a paradigm of the modern age, one that is documented in many ways at Messe Frankfurt flagship events. Under the umbrella of technology exhibitions are, among other things, innovative platforms for efficient building management, intelligent networking, security of supply, design and sustainable usage of scarce resources, namely energy and water. Messe Frankfurt is also active worldwide in the area of Environmental Technologies, currently with three environmental trade fairs. Sustainable pioneering technologies also play a key role in the Mobility & Logistics business field in a wide cross-section of areas such as alternative drives, lightweight construction and energy efficiency.

Background information on Messe Frankfurt
Messe Frankfurt is the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. With more than 2,400 employees at 30 locations, the company generates annual sales of around €669 million. Thanks to its far-reaching ties with the relevant sectors and to its international sales network, the Group looks after the business interests of its customers effectively. A comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services. With its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent).
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