Earlier this month, Aalborg Congress & Culture Centre became Denmark’s first official ISO 20121 certified sustainable event venue.

The big, all-round venue with more than 500,000 visitors each year has worked intensively towards reaching this milestone for the past few years, committing the Centre to integrating sustainable solutions, both in terms of environment, people, and economy.

Aalborg Congress & Culture Centre has already come a long way in the use of renewable energy, e.g., from windmills, LED, water saving appliances, and focusing on food waste. Additionally, recycling has played a central role in this preliminary year of the process in which the new CEO, Nicolaj Holm, has been at the head of the project during the last six months.

“In order to obtain the ISO 20121 certificate, it has been a requirement to outline all work procedures and facilitate a culture where employees’ thought processes naturally incorporate sustainability,”

said Nicolaj Holm.

“Such a process stretches well beyond a few work hours. My colleagues have done the groundwork meticulously – allowing us to speed up the entire work process of the past six months – and, thereby, become the first Danish certificate holder. A certificate proving that our work with sustainability is a prominent, clear, and comprehensive vision put into the systems of the entire organisation. The certificate company, DNV GL, has also acknowledged our clear communication and implementation of the vision within the entire organisation – and yes, we are proud here in North Jutland.”  

Aalborg Congress and Culture Centre has more than 1,600 events annually within culture, meetings & congresses, and trade fairs & exhibitions, and Nicolaj Holm expects that the certificate will bring them a strong competitive edge in the future, a future that is already beginning to stir.

“Especially in regard to conferences, meetings, and congresses, of which we host more than 1,300 annually, we already sense a growing demand for green and sustainable meetings. When we win a bid on big conferences, both national and international ones, it is often by a small margin, and the competition in Denmark is only becoming fiercer. This is where our sustainability strategy will play an important part,”

predicts Nicolaj Holm.

As to recycling, the all-round venue has explored new paths with great inspiration from the employees. Bags, uniforms, and beanbag chairs are made from banners, and the décor consists of recycled furniture from a social economic company. Then, when a large congress ends, people who might be interested are invited via social media to come pick up usable disposable tablecloths and rugs. Surplus furniture are also distributed to all of North Jutland. Recently, no less than 1,500 people on Facebook wanted to pick up some of the 48 chairs that were on offer. Hence, North Jutland provides plenty support to the new sustainability strategy, which will unfold with the ISO 20121 certificate now and in the years to come, documenting both managers’ and employees’ capabilities of carrying on the vision of sustainability.

Congratulations Aalborg!