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Green conferences in Amsterdam

We often hear about the ingredients of the perfect conference, but the hefty environmental price tag often goes unnoticed. Business Destinations took a trip to the Netherlands to discover why Amsterdam RAI is the perfect sustainable partner for events


Socially responsible enterprise is a hot topic in Europe currently and is subsequently coming to prominence in the convention industry. Add up the effects of air miles, car kilometres, kilos of paper, furnishings and promotional materials, and let’s not forget the half eaten buffets. Being ‘greener’, having a more responsible and sober approach does not have to be hard.

Amsterdam RAI is Europe’s leader in the exhibition and convention industry, and has high ambitions in the field of socially responsible enterprise. Its intention is to be the most sustainable convention centre in Europe by 2013. At the moment there are plenty of options for organising and holding a congress or meeting in a socially responsible manner from start to finish. Our clients are also increasingly looking for sustainable locations or wish to organise a sustainable event. For example, Amsterdam RAI has set up a step-by-step plan with tips for organising sustainable events. This tool enables organisers and exhibitors to make an event as sustainable as possible.

Sustainable catering
The sustainability policy is also expressed in Amsterdam RAI’s catering from the sustainable coffee it serves – some 1.5 million cups annually – to waste processing and the training of young cooks as part of a regional catering concept ‘Hartverwarmend Amsterdam’ [Heartwarming Amsterdam]. The coffee selected to be Amsterdam RAI’s standard since 2011 is Tierra Intenso from Lavazza. This makes the RAI the first convention centre in Europe to serve this 100 percent sustainable coffee to all its guests.

‘Hartverwarmend’ Amsterdam
Amsterdam RAI’s kitchen consciously decided to use, where possible, regional products with added value and to remove vulnerable ingredients from its standard menus. The choices in this concept differ, but the products always provide added value to the region or society in general. Care farms for psychiatric day care or education, small local farms, urban greenhouses and cheese farms from the local area are suppliers, but also inspirations. This supports and utilises vulnerable products from our urbanised surroundings which are fabulous, unusual, local and seasonal. Amsterdam RAI has already received various certificates. For instance, it has been awarded the ‘Zuiderzeezilver’ certificate which indicates that Amsterdam RAI guarantees the use of sustainably caught freshwater fish such as pikeperch. If packaging and disposables have to be used, then biodegradable and natural materials such as bamboo, coconut or palm leaves are utilised whenever possible.

Greenest convention centre
Amsterdam RAI is the greenest convention centre in Europe and has been awarded two important certificates in this respect: the Gouden Green Key [Gold Green Key] and the international Silver Earth Check certificate (formerly referred to as Green Globe). In June 2009 Amsterdam RAI won the Sustainable Initiative of the Year Award for its socially responsible enterprise policy at the international AEO Excellence Awards. The company’s social involvement is evident from the sponsoring of good causes, such as AMREF Flying Doctors and the Dutch EMMA Children’s Hospital. Amsterdam RAI has also been awarded the ISO-14001 certificate. It is the first convention centre in the Netherlands to achieve this internationally accepted standard for environmental management systems. ISO-14001 assists companies in meeting environmental regulations and laws, and reducing their impact on the environment. Achieving ISO-14001 accreditation is entirely in line with Amsterdam RAI’s high CSR ambitions.

110 years event experience
Besides the sustainable policy, there are a whole host of other reasons for organising an event in Amsterdam RAI. With 110 years of experience in organising and hosting events, Amsterdam RAI is one of Europe’s most attractive and innovative exhibition complexes. It hosts over 50 national and international conferences, 70 (trade) exhibitions, events and over 1,000 smaller conferences, meetings, presentations and other gatherings a year.

The convention centre has recently been upgraded and restyled. The fully air-conditioned RAI complex covers a total exhibition area of 87,000sq m (936,460sq ft). All the eleven halls are conveniently interconnected, with state-of-the-art IT Infrastructure. The congress centre comprises 48 congress and conference rooms with a capacity up to 1,750 people. In addition, the state-of-the-art ballroom offers event space of up to 1,883sq m (20,268sq ft). When more capacity is needed, the exhibitions halls can be fitted out as fully fledged conference halls. The staff speak many languages and they are dedicated to making your event a success.

Location, location, location
The success of Amsterdam RAI is in part due to its excellent location: the largest exhibition and convention centre in the Netherlands is just eight minutes from Schiphol Airport and Amsterdam city centre. Amsterdam RAI’s location means that it can be reached inside a day from across Europe. The airport, the hotels and downtown Amsterdam are all nearby. The convention centre is located just south of Amsterdam’s centre. Just a few minutes from the city centre, Amsterdam RAI is easy to reach by car or public transport and has ample parking facilities inside and outside the venue.

As Amsterdam is a surprisingly compact city with excellent public transport, travelling around is quick and easy. Amsterdam is the ideal place for planning an extra informal meeting with your colleagues. What about arranging to meet up in one of the 51 museums, many of them within walking distance of the city centre? Or in one of the 25 beautiful old courtyards, 1,215 pavement cafés or 55 theatres. After a busy day you might appreciate a relaxing stroll back to one of the 350 excellent hotels to take your mind off things.

For more information please visit www.rai.nl

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