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Edmonton casts a new ray of sunshine as it joins Global Destination Sustainability Index

Edmonton casts a new ray of sunshine as it joins Global Destination Sustainability Index

Set in the sunniest province in Canada, Edmonton is fast-growing and fast-learning.  It has just joined GDS-Index to be benchmarked for responsible and regenerative tourism under Explore Edmonton, a Climate Smart-Certified marketing organisation. 

It’s the first city in Western Canada to do so and looks forward to measuring and improving its sustainability strategies and skillsets with the GDS-Movement. It has the mindset already, as interim CEO of Explore Edmonton, Maggie Davison, demonstrates.  

 “Explore Edmonton continues to strive to be a leader in sustainability,” she emphasises. ‘We offer carbon offsetting for meetings and events coming to our city. Our venues, Edmonton EXPO Centre and Edmonton Convention Centre, are Green Key and Climate Smart certified. Explore Edmontonhopes to gain from theglobal collaborative approach theGDS-Movement offers andwill work to identify best practices and develop new sustainability strategies.”  

“We believe that with strong partnerships and collaboration with government, we can support a strategic future of the global event industry that demonstrates sustainability,” says Melissa Radu, Director, Social and Environmental Sustainability. “The GDS-Index allows us to take a holistic approach to sustainability at the destination level and assess what new partnerships, sharing opportunities, and strategies can help us to further advance this important work and attract more major business, sporting, and entertainment events to Edmonton.” 

The sustainability efforts already in place across the city are inspirational. Here’s a tiny taster:  

– Edmonton offers climate-conscious visitors increasingly more bicycle lanes, electric buses, light rail transit, electric vehicle roll-out, and electric scooters and Segways.

– The National Hockey League arena and events venue, Rogers Place, and the Edmonton International Airport are highly efficient, healthy, and cost-saving green buildings that are LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

– The City of Edmonton’s Ribbon of Green ensures that the North Saskatchewan River Valley and Ravine System can be enjoyed without damage to its essential ecological corridor, celebrated recreation area, and culturally-significant local attraction.

– Social concerns are as high on the list as environmental and economic ones are, and food security is a central part of it. The Edmonton Food Bank is the country’s first, actively supported by continuing donations from convention centre, exhibition grounds, and arena.

– In 2020, Explore Edmonton launched a carbon neutral initiative to ensure that any event that chooses Edmonton can tap into free, expert support to lessen, measure and offset emissions generated as a result of events.

“In so many ways the tourism industry can be a powerful mechanism for change to help inspire a more sustainable world,” says Melissa. “It is when a destination can come together in collaboration, work together to take meaningful action, that we begin to realize the huge potential we have as an industry to serve our community and our planet.”  

 “We welcome Edmonton and its open-minded, full-hearted approach,” Guy Bigwood, Chief Changemaker at GDS-Movement says warmly. “The latest IPCC report highlights, with hard data, the deleterious impact human beings and human doings are having on the planet and its peoples, but it also highlights the pathways to a more regenerative future. Being counted is the first step to sustained and sustainable change. We look forward to supporting Explore Edmonton to empower and enable their tourism and events businesses and visitors to make Edmonton a better place to visit, meet in and live in.”    

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