The Green Globe Certification Standard offers companies a professional, industry-tailored framework in which to comprehensively assess their sustainability performance based on the three pillars of environmental friendliness, social responsibility and economic viability.
The European Association of Event Centres (EVVC) and Green Globe Certification worked together to develop this special process for certifying the sustainability of event venues. A selection of more than 380 compliance indicators are applied to 44 individual certification criteria. The applicable criteria and indicators vary depending on the certification category, geographical area and local factors.
This certification must be renewed annually. To achieve this, the company must be able to demonstrate continuous improvement by increasing the indicators achieved by 3 per cent. The darmstadtium once again fulfilled this requirement at the annual on-site audit.
The three pillars of sustainability
All three pillars of sustainability – environment, economy and social issues – are examined equally during the recertification process.
The darmstadtium is operated in an energy-efficient and eco-friendly manner that helps to conserve resources: there is a biomass boiler in the basement and solar panels on the roof, for example, while green electricity is obtained from a local provider. The Calla, a glass and steel funnel in the foyer, collects rainwater to be used in the toilet facilities and green spaces and draws in air for heat recovery and to cool the incoming air.
The darmstadtium’s sustainable construction and operation make it a showpiece for climate-friendly events. Among the relevant criteria for certification was the sustainability management system, which is supported by a fully trained internal sustainability group. The members of this group serve as points of contact for internal environmental issues such as sustainable office supplies, recycling and energy-saving measures. In 2014, the darmstadtium won the ‘Büro und Umwelt’ (office and environment) competition for being the most sustainable office in Germany. The competition focuses on the careful use of resources in everyday office life and consideration of environmental issues when procuring office supplies.
However, the darmstadtium’s sustainability efforts extend beyond the office. Event organisers and participants are also offered additional options outside of the congress centre’s sphere of influence, such as transport, food and drink for event participants. For example, this includes collaborations with Deutsche Bahn AG and local public transport companies as well as the darmstadtium’s two catering partners.
Social issues are not only important for the team working at the darmstadtium. The centre actively supports local urban development and works together with local and municipal service providers. It regularly holds its own Associations Day “Tag der Vereine”, at which Darmstadt’s citizens can get to know the associations, activities and services available in their city. The darmstadtium also supports events such as Senior Citizens Days, ‘Darmstadt spielt’ (Darmstadt plays) and various exhibitions. Observance of fairtrade principles and proper treatment and payment within supply chains are also compulsory for our service providers.
The economy and economic viability also play an important role in aligning the congress centre’s activities in a sustainable way. The darmstadtium contributes to the region’s economic development, recording steadily increasing revenues each year while decreasing consumption: it has steadily reduced its overall energy use despite increasing revenues by 50 per cent in the past seven years alone while at the same time hosting a growing number of events.
When undergoing recertification, the darmstadtium was able to demonstrate that it is continuously developing its sustainability indicators and regularly making improvements. The darmstadtium met 259 of the 287 indicators investigated and thus scored 90 per cent of the total points available. However, the darmstadtium does not see recertification as a chance to rest on its laurels or keep things as they are and instead will be pursuing a steady course of further developments and improvements.