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ICCA and MCI Win UNWTO Award

The ICCA Scandinavian Destinations Sustainability Index, an effective tool developed by ICCA and MCI to measure and drive progress on the industry-transforming Sustainable Scandinavian Meetings Region collaboration, has received the ‘Most Innovative Project Award’ at the 2nd United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) Knowledge Network Global Forum.

Since 2010, visionary leaders from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, the five countries of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Scandinavian Chapter, have been working with MCI to transform Scandinavia into the world’s first sustainable meetings region.

The ICCA Scandinavian Destination Sustainability Index measures and compares the social and environmental sustainability commitment and performance of capital and regional cities in the five participating countries. Recognised by UNWTO as a pioneering project, the index was declared one of the three best submitted entries in the category ‘Innovation in Tourism: Bridging theory and practice.’

“The paper was outstanding for its contribution as an innovative tool to measure and share project progress in the Sustainable Scandinavian Meetings Region collaboration,” said Dr. Hazael Cerón M., Professor at the Facultad De Turismo Y Gastronomía, Universidad Anáhuac México Norte and part of the judging committee. “The paper was evaluated on several areas, including the significance of the discussion on innovation in tourism, validity of research methods used and overall structure.”

23 cities’ sustainability performances

The purpose of the index is to benchmark and share 23 cities’ sustainability performances, driving a significant shift in the development and implementation of each destination’s sustainability strategies, communication campaigns and certification initiatives. Improvements have been recorded year-on-year, including a 7% overall increase in destination performance in 2013 compared to 2012.

Representing one of the 23 participating cities, Jonas Wilstrup, Convention Director of Wonderful Copenhagen Convention Bureau said, "This unique project has helped regional leaders from Scandinavia to develop a shared vision of a better, smarter and more sustainable future. Ultimately we believe this will create a more competitive and healthy meetings industry."

“By regularly sharing best practices and benchmarking data, each city and country is able to understand their current performance and set targets for improvement,” said Guy Bigwood, MCI Group Sustainability Director. “The project is now expanding into phase two, and has a vision and business plan to benchmark over 100 global cities by 2018.”

The ICCA Scandinavian Destination Sustainability Index was commissioned by the ICCA Scandinavian Chapter, developed and conducted by MCI Sustainability Services and sponsored by MCI and VisitAarhus.

Photo: © ICCA Scandinavia