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5 ways to win a bid for a big climate event

5 ways to win a bid for a big climate event

The business of big climate events is blooming. How can a destination maximise its chances of being chosen as the place to be? Take a leaf out of Glasgow's strategy tree.

A healthy ecosystem has a diversity of interactive elements in constant evolution. A healthy business and leisure tourism industry has, too. Especially when it comes to winning the bid to host the biggest conversation of this decade…  

Success does not happen in isolation; but combined strategic efforts mean wins, whether you hold an award or not. That’s because when it comes to big events, an authentic policy within the right environment can mean big business.   

Take Glasgow, for example.  

In 2019, Glasgow declared a climate emergency and committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030. In 2020, the Scottish city was declared a Global Green City by the Global Forum on Human Settlements in 2020. Today, Glasgow is a desirable choice for climate-conscious MICE and other business tourism events, and host to COP 26.  

COP 26 is the 2021 United Nations’ climate change conference. The Conference of the Parties (COP) holds regular global climate summits that gather world leaders together. For nearly 30 years, attendees have helped shape climate change mitigation and adaptation discourse, commitments, and actions. The 26th summit, the “last best chance” to reverse our contribution towards a permanently destabilised climate, is being held in Glasgow. 

Glasgow is also at home in the GDS-Index top 5, a proud position it has held since 2019. 

The GDS-Index is a performance improvement programme that shapes a more sustainable business and leisure tourism industry. Each year, it assesses the efforts of destinations across the world and guides their tourism and meetings industries towards more regenerative impact.  

While benchmarking, the GDS-Movement discovered many marvelous destinations eager to succeed, and prime examples from this year’s COP26 host. Get to grips with Glaswegian sustainability swag with compliments of the GDS-Index 2021. 


5 ways to win a bid for a big climate event:


1. Invest in a strong sustainability strategy and engage all stakeholders.

The Glasgow DMO Sustainable Policy and Action Plan begins with vision and action. “Glasgow aspires to become one of Europe’s leading sustainable tourism destinations,” it begins. “The city has an overall goal to be carbon neutral by 2030 and acknowledges the destination’s role in promoting and encouraging responsible tourism.” Glasgow works closely with public transport operators to support visitor itineraries, promotes restaurants and venues that offer local, organic, seasonal, plant-based menus, and strategically develops partnerships across the city with sustainability and responsible tourism in mind.


2. Include events in your tourism and visitor action plan and align it with projects that complement.

The Glasgow Tourism and Visitor Plan to 2023 is “a fresh, more responsible approach to Glasgow’s visitor economy that balances the interests of residents, visitors and businesses, and achieves better outcomes for our communities.” Its fourth strategic priority is to build on business and leisure events to “promote Glasgow as a world-class events destination and the perfect event experience for event owners, visitors, businesses and citizens.”The People Make Glasgow greener team comprises multiple stakeholders from Glasgow’s hospitality industry, local government, business and academic communities all working towards achieving the city’s sustainability goals.


3. Integrate circularity into the economy and create a route map and action plan for it.

“Glasgow has been part of the circular economy story for a number of years,” Councillor Anna Richardson City Convenor for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction says in Circular Economy Route Map for Glasgow 2020 – 2030, “and the development of this document takes the city’s involvement to new level.” This is also a great example of a CVB working optimally with the city to champion destination management.


4. Use legacy to change the game when it comes to climate and events.

“The Commonwealth Games of 2014 Athletes Village site has become a new, state-of-the-art, energy efficient housing development and new care home,” emphasises Gordon Matheson Leader of Glasgow City Council in the Energy and Climate Masterplan from Sustainable Glasgow, “all heated by a new and innovative Combined Heat and Power district heating system.”


5. Prioritise a biodiversity action plan and measure it.

“Glasgow has a thriving natural environment of connected, vibrant green spaces, providing places for wildlife and people, “explains the Glasgow Local Biodiversity Action Plan. “Citizens and visitors have improved health through increased relaxation, active travel and education opportunities. The loss of Glasgow’s natural resources has been halted and reversed, with habitats and species more resilient and better adapted to change. Everyone in the city understands why the natural environment is important, everyone contributes and everyone benefits. With colourful, wildflower meadows, tranquil woodlands and abundant wetlands, Glasgow is a great place to work, live and play.” What’s more, Glasgow has the 2nd largest ratio of greenspace to residents of any European city, a wild 32 percent.


Motivated? Cop 26 is on until 12 November 2021. Better sustainability action takes place all the time.


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