Driving forward the sustainable transformation in the company is seen by the Messe Frankfurt Executive Board as a core management task. Environmental and sustainability performance is being improved continually and made accessible to everyone transparently. To this end, we have created a sustainability target architecture that helps us to process the ecological, social and economic dimensions in a structured way.
With the Sustainability Board, which includes senior management from different disciplines, the company has established a broad base for formulating objectives and identifying and prioritising measures. These will be implemented and expanded with the relevant departments. In its Sustainability Governance Code, the company defined the relevant areas of activity for sustainable development both in the company and at its events around the world. The Code is based on the specifications of the UN Global Compact and on the accepted general standards with regard to sustainability and climate protection. Messe Frankfurt’s Code of Conduct formulates the company’s own standards regarding ethical conduct and business practices. Its leading principles include working with others in a spirit of respect and cooperation, social responsibility, protecting the environment and natural resources, and a wide range of governance issues. As a whole, they confirm Messe Frankfurt’s principles and form the basis for the company’s long-term commercial success.
At its Frankfurt base, Messe Frankfurt completed its first ever ESG rating (Environmental, Social and Governance) and was awarded a sustainability certificate with a bronze rating. The external agency selected to conduct this audit was EcoVadis, the world’s largest provider of company sustainability ratings. This involved examining a number of areas, namely environmental protection, labour and human rights, sustainable procurement and ethics. Messe Frankfurt is now aiming to secure a certificate from environmental management system Eco Management & Audit Scheme (EMAS). The company will carry out the obligatory energy audit until November 2023 and then measure its progress every year from then on.
Since as far back as 2010, Messe Frankfurt has been a member of UN Global Compact, the world’s most important initiative for sustainable corporate management. It is committed to its ten universal principles relating to the environment, labour standards, corruption prevention and human rights and to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. 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. 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. Since autumn 2018, the third photovoltaic system on the grounds – located on the roof of Hall 12 – has been generating energy from the sun’s rays. Taken together, all three photovoltaic systems on the exhibition grounds help to reduce CO2 by an estimated 1,200 tonnes a year. They allow us to harvest around 2.4 GWh of solar energy (2021).
Messe Frankfurt switched over entirely to green power in the beginning of 2020. This includes the power supply for the stands, halls and exhibition grounds at its Frankfurt base. Efforts to reach the objective of permanently reducing the base load consumption on the exhibition grounds by ten percent are being implemented resolutely. From 2024 onwards, 30 percent of our power requirements – including our event operations – will be sourced from a solar farm in Brandenburg. This means that we will know exactly where our climate-friendly electricity comes from. It will also allow us to safeguard energy for our Frankfurt base in the long term, which is important in view of the volatile energy market. In the long term, a further 30 percent of our energy requirements are to be covered by wind energy. As well as optimising the efficiency of our operations and systems, we are using an energy-saving campaign to make all colleagues and service providers even more aware of the importance of energy efficiency – both at work and at home.
All new buildings and renovations feature forward-looking, energy-optimised construction and efficient operation, for example with compound cooling systems between the exhibition halls. Messe Frankfurt is at the forefront of the sector through the systematic separation and recycling of waste at its exhibition grounds each year. Up to 90 percent of the waste generated each year is 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. Exhibiting companies and visitors with a combination ticket can use public transport at no additional cost.
Messe Frankfurt has one of the most advanced digital traffic management systems in the trade fair sector. By optimising the flow of traffic to and from our events, this helps to reduce set-up and tear-down times for 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.
Environmentally sustainable business practices also apply to 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.
Messe Frankfurt is one of the main sponsors of the Frankfurt Marathon. The spectacular final stage of the 26-mile race takes place in Messe Frankfurt’s Festhalle.
As innovation forums, Messe Frankfurt’s flagship events are clearly also a driving force when it comes to sustainability. Its worldwide flagship events are ideal interaction formats 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. As part of its Texpertise network, Messe Frankfurt actively supports the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The Sustainable Development Goals are to be presented gradually at the 50-plus textile events in order to shine a spotlight on the most pressing challenges facing the textile and fashion industry worldwide. Messe Frankfurt’s global textile network has the ideal platforms for raising awareness of the need for greater sustainability in the textile industry.
Sustainability is not a passing fad 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. For example, when it comes to innovative formats for efficient building management, intelligent networking, security of supply, design and the sustainable usage of scarce resources (energy and water). Messe Frankfurt also organises events around the world in the area of Environmental Technologies.
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
The Messe Frankfurt Group is one of the world’s leading trade fair, congress and event organisers with their own exhibition grounds. With a workforce of some 2,160 people at its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main and in 28 subsidiaries, it organises events around the world. Group sales in financial year 2022 were around €454 million. We serve our customers’ business interests efficiently within the framework of our Fairs & Events, Locations and Services business fields. One of Messe Frankfurt’s key strengths is its powerful and closely knit global sales network, which covers around 180 countries in all regions of the world. Our 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. We are using our digital expertise to develop new business models. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services. Sustainability is a central pillar of our corporate strategy. Here, we strike a healthy balance between ecological and economic interests, social responsibility and diversity.
For more information, please visit our website at: www.messefrankfurt.com/sustainability. 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). For more information, please visit our website at: www.messefrankfurt.com
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