IMEX-EIC Innovation in Sustainability Award winner, Wonderful Copenhagen, interview

3 mins

The impact and outcomes of Wonderful Copenhagen’s innovative sustainability projects

Whether you believe that earth’s current climate crisis is the fault of governments, the private sector or a host of other factors, there’s no denying that most of us have the power to make more sustainable choices every day.

In the meetings and events industry, as the IMEX-EIC Sustainability Award recognizes, we’re lucky to have both committed organizations and individuals who are already making a significant, positive impact.

IMEX Brand Ambassador, Tanja Knecht, sat down with Deputy Convention Director of Wonderful Copenhagen, Bettina Reventlow-Mourier, winner of the IMEX-EIC Innovation in Sustainability Award 2022.

Astrid Maria Rasmussen sustainability photo
Photo credit: Astrid Maria Rasmussen

Bettina, could you tell us more about the project?

The Copenhagen Legacy Lab (CLL) is a new, strategic innovation project embedded in our Convention Bureau.

It’s a systematic and strategic process designed to help international associations achieve a long-term, positive and sustainable impact for themselves, as well as their communities, the host destination, and society at large.

The initiative is a multi-stakeholder and collaborative that supports and aids in the sustainable development of the meetings industry. The scheme embraces knowledge sharing and insights through our open-source platform as well as through our entire meetings industry network including BestCities, The Iceberg Project, ICCA, IMEX, CityDNA and many more.

We firmly believe that the Copenhagen Legacy Lab will ensure that international congresses leave long-lasting positive impacts on our destination and global communities alike.

We’re very honored and grateful to receive this award and would like to thank the many partners and stakeholders who’ve contributed to, and supported, our initiative.

Why is sustainability within our industry so important for you and your team? What is your personal mission?

Sustainability is a natural part of our DNA. We have a common interest in, and a responsibility to, protect our planet.

We believe the next chapter requires a focus on both sustainability and legacy. Our approach is three-fold:

1) Footprint - why adopting a legacy mindset mitigates a congress’s CO2 footprint.

2) Handprint - working to improve our societies and communities.

3) Blueprint - supporting global challenges which have a positive effect on the sustainability agenda.

On a personal level, my mission is:

To pursue, contribute and inspire the development of innovative, purposeful, and sustainable solutions in the meetings industry.

Creating close collaborations with colleagues, networks and stakeholders, driven by passion, curiosity, knowledge, reflection, integrity, and trust.

This is ultimately for the further prosperity of both citizens and societies, locally and globally.

Copenhagen river

How long has sustainability been on your agenda?

It has been on my agenda for a long time, but it was accelerated in 2007 when we began planning COP15, 2009 in Copenhagen. This event was a catalyst for showcasing sustainable solutions in our country, driving sustainable product development in the supply chain and addressing sustainability both in the meetings industry and globally.

In 2012, 16 cities from the chapter formed “The Scandinavian Destination Sustainability Index” (GDSI). Since then, we’ve hosted a certified EU Presidency Council in 2012 and became the European Green Capital in 2014. In recent years, we’ve developed a comprehensive sustainability manual as well as the Copenhagen Legacy Lab.

Copenhagen street

What’s your personal hope for our industry regarding sustainability?

I hope we all commit to being part of the solution, not the problem. We have a responsibility to ensure a regenerative approach and support sustainable development as a united front for our future generations. This requires a commitment driven by knowledge and insights as well as the right decisions and actions of people, governments, organizations and businesses. 

What’s your message to our IMEX community?

Please join us on this sustainability journey. Understand why sustainability and legacy are interlinked and equally important. Realize that reducing our CO2 footprint is just one of many approaches towards the green transition. Collaborate across your entire meetings eco-system and contribute to better, more meaningful meetings in the future.

Applications for the 2024 IMEX-EIC Innovation in Sustainability award are open until 5 February. The winner is announced at the IMEX Frankfurt Gala Dinner.

About the author

Charley Murfitt is IMEX's Content Producer. She is a proud advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion, sustainability and the circular economy.

Charley Murfitt

Content Producer