Comfort, luxury and technical infrastructure are no longer the only considerations while organising international congresses. As the importance of environmentally responsible practices has dramatically grown in every aspect of life, congress tourism was also affected by this phenomenon. As host of the 5th World Water Forum, Istanbul put environmental concerns at the forefront of its agenda. Sustainability in the meetings, incentives, events and the conference industry in general have become a key issue for meeting planners, national associations and corporations in the city. Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) and the Governorship of Istanbul help meeting planners in organizing environmentally responsible practices. Bureau Veritas and the Turkish Hotels and Investors Association (TUROB) teamed up to launch “The Hotel Greening Project” in order to move the environmental agenda forward with Istanbul’s hotels by encouraging them to employ environmentally friendly strategies. The pilot project was realized during the 5th World Water Forum’s Green Forum Initiative to raise awareness on hotel greening techniques and to allow participating hotels take the first step toward greener accommodations. Twenty-six hotels volunteering to participate in the Hotel Greening Project were audited according to the measurements of energy efficiency, water conservation and waste management practices, among other criteria. Hotels attaining a minimum standard received a certificate from Bureau Veritas and the GFI. Top performers in specific star categories received the “Green Steps Award”.
Istanbul CVB supports green initiatives, in order to maintain that the city of İstanbul can easily and quickly move forward on the corporate social responsibility front. Several meeting venues in Istanbul lead a variety of initiatives that create a natural environment, reduce energy usage and use minimal non-renewable resources.
Some of these initiatives are:
• Maximum natural light
• Heat insulation
• “Energy Smart Lighting” within venues such as LED lightening system that provides energy savings and efficiency
• Water purification system enabling consumption of pipe water
• Environmentally-friendly technologies
• Congress facilities located in the city center offer delegates the opportunity of walking
• Easily accessible public transportation
• Recycling bins for papers, plastics, glasses placed within the venues
• Several venues employ a system for distilling waste oils in the kitchens
• Recycling pens are being used at the meeting rooms
• Smoking is banned in all closed public spaces within the venues
Istanbul has many four and five stars-hotels and meeting venues that acquire different certificates highlighting their environment-friendly practices and technologies.
In addition to all these important notes; meeting planners, congress organizers,corporations and associations can help promoting green efforts in İstanbul by contributing to reforestation and other environmental cleaning projects led by NGOs. Venues and hotels in İstanbul predominantly use the food that is produced in locally in İstanbul and Türkiye. Therefore this measure adds more sustainability to the environment by decreasing transportation.