Toolkit: Sustainability resources for MICE planners
• Ready, get set, go green!
Smart strategies for sustainable meetings and events whitepaper by AMEX Global Business Travel and STB. Click here
.• The Time Is Now – Sustainability in Business Events Industry
This research report published by the PCMA Foundation in partnership with STB, illustrates the next-level actions the business event industry must take collectively to scale progress. Click here
Sustainability has become imperative in the global business events industry. Not only is sustainability consistently one of the top priorities for organisers and delegates, global MICE leaders like UFI (The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry), the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and the International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC) have also pledged to become a net zero carbon industry by 2050 at the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November 2021.
Amid this growing call for change and innovation, Singapore is a shining example of a world-class destination that has embraced sustainability and is now targeting net-zero emissions by 2050. The city is creating the impetus for change with the Singapore Green Plan 2030 – a comprehensive plan outlining Singapore's sustainability goals and strategies for the next 10 years with a vision to create a more sustainable and liveable city, covering key pillars such as climate change, circular economy and biodiversity.
As a testament to its country-wide sustainability efforts, Singapore has attained the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) certification at the country level, the first in the world to do so. The certification validates Singapore's endeavour to become a sustainable urban destination across four pillars: sustainable management, socio-economic sustainability, cultural sustainability, and environmental sustainability.
This commitment to sustainability is also reflected in Singapore’s approach towards its tourism and business events industry. The Singapore Hotel Association (SHA) and Singapore Tourism Board (STB) have launched the Hotel Sustainability Roadmap in line with the Singapore Green Plan 2030, which targets at least 60% of hotel room stock to achieve internationally-recognised sustainability certification by 2025. In the MICE sector, STB and the Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers (SACEOS) have spearheaded the Singapore MICE Sustainability Roadmap to encourage business events stakeholders to go green.
For event planners, this means that organising a sustainable meeting in Singapore is easier than ever.
Champions of sustainability
With the Singapore MICE industry on a strong recovery trajectory, there is now a growing demand for sustainable business travel and events, observes Sukumar Verma, vice president for industry & enterprise at SACEOS. Sustainability is no longer a “nice-to-have” but a “must-have” in the business events industry, notes Verma, as it provides a competitive edge in attracting international attendees and new talent.
With an aim to make Singapore the top sustainable MICE destination in Asia Pacific by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, the Singapore MICE Sustainability Roadmap has outlined clear targets for the MICE industry, including having 80% of SACEOS’ members certified in sustainability by 2025 and the start of waste and carbon emissions tracking in 2023.
“Additionally, MICE planners can also do their part by implementing innovative tracking solutions at an organisation or event level,” Verma shares. “STB’s Tourism Sustainability Programme includes the Singapore Tourism Accelerator, which supports sustainability-related initiatives by matching good tech and sustainability solutions with businesses.”
As a growing number of industry players take big steps to align with the Singapore MICE Sustainability Roadmap, there are no shortage of sustainability-focused hotels, venues and restaurants across the island.
A 49-hectare green MICE playground: Resorts World Sentosa
Sustainability has been at the core for Resorts World Sentosa, an early adopter of best practices in ESG and the holistic approach to sustainable management. It is the first destination in the world to achieve both the GSTC Destination Criteria and Industry Criteria for Hotels certifications, as well as the SACEOS MICE Sustainability Certificate.
“Resorts World Sentosa takes a holistic approach to sustainability – from investing in renewable energy, rainwater harvesting and biodigesters, supporting local businesses, to funding applied research on innovative decarbonisation solutions and biodiversity conservation,” shares Adeline Lim, assistant vice president, MICE and event services, Resorts World Sentosa.
It isn’t hard to see how Resorts World Sentosa is bringing sustainable meetings to life.
As soon as delegates step foot into Resorts World Sentosa, they will find themselves in an expansive sustainable MICE destination adjacent to 2.9 hectares of preserved rainforest. The 49-hectare resort is powered by extensive solar panels and cooled by an energy-efficient district cooling plant and ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) structures made of a lightweight, durable, energy-efficient, and recyclable material. Buildings are managed by an intelligent management system that optimises energy efficiency, while water is harvested from four diversified sources and recycled across 10 waste streams.
Resorts World Sentosa offers interconnected accommodations, venues, and attractions that allow attendees to walk from one location to another without the need for additional transportation. This not only saves time but also reduces any event's carbon footprint, providing a hassle-free and environmentally-friendly experience for attendees. The seven hotels offer more than 1,800 rooms altogether, and each property boasts a range of flexible world-class meeting venues.
In addition, 70% of seafood is responsibly sourced, and the resort also provides post-event report that tracks waste, water and energy consumption to all event planners upon request. “This report will then provide insights to our clients on their sustainability impact from which we can then work with them for greener event planning in the future,” explains Lim.
There’s also a myriad of attractions for delegates to explore, from the S.E.A. Aquarium to Universal Studios Singapore that can both double up as unique meeting venues for extraordinary corporate gala dinners.
Resorts World Sentosa is not the only sustainable destination on Sentosa island. Beyond the integrated resort, the 500-hectare Sentosa island that Resorts World Sentosa sits on has also been conferred the GSTC Destinations certificate.
Sustainability in hospitality: PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay, Singapore
Singapore's hotels are also increasingly playing an important role in the sustainability movement as the expectations continue growing for venue partners to prioritise environmentally responsible practices. “As the subject of climate change, and conversations about sustainability grow worldwide, event planners have come to expect venue partners to operate responsibly, and to embrace sustainability in their business operations,” says Melvin Lim, general manager of PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay.
PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay – which embraces a ‘hotel in a garden’ design concept – has integrated sustainability into its space and operations following a recent S$45 million (US$34 million) makeover. This living hotel features an abundance of greenery and natural lighting, creating a refreshing and sustainable environment for guests. With 2,400 trees and plants spread across 1,400 square metres of space, the property offers a vibrant and immersive experience that incorporates eco-friendly elements throughout. The plants naturally reduce the ambient temperature while purifying the air.
At this hotel, sustainable dining is a key priority, with a rooftop urban farm that supplies 20% of vegetation produce used in its menus. “MICE delegates can expect the food served to be sourced locally, and the vegetables are harvested from our urban farm,” states Lim. The hotel also incorporates its farm harvests into its event catering, offering delicious and sustainable culinary creations for delegates’ enjoyment.
PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay’s 13 lifts are fully powered by 210 rooftop solar panels, while in-room water filtration eliminates 360,000 plastic bottles annually. The hotel features sustainable measures such as integrated carbon and energy management, and plastic, water, and waste reduction.
The hotel's commitment to sustainability is also evident in its meeting spaces. Ballrooms feature energy-efficient LED screens and LED lighting to save energy, while goblets and water carafes have replaced single-use plastic bottles in meetings to reduce plastic waste.
“For sustainability to make a lasting impact, it must be collectively embraced as a mindset – this transcends industries and boundaries,” Lim adds. “It is everyone’s responsibility to do their part to live and operate responsibly.”
Towards a net zero carbon events future
As Singapore charges ahead towards a net zero future, planners will discover that there are no limits on how they can achieve their sustainability meeting agenda in the city.
Sustainability can even be seamlessly integrated into meetings and incentive itineraries with STB’s refreshed In Singapore Incentives & Rewards (INSPIRE) Global 2.0 programme. This programme offers nearly 80 complimentary experiences for MICE groups to choose from that include sustainable experiences, such as farm-to-table dining at a sky-high restaurant or a marine conservation tour around Singapore's Southern Islands. By including sustainable experiences in the agenda, meeting planners can promote eco-consciousness and engage attendees in meaningful activities.
“The MICE industry has always been and will continue to be a key contributor to Singapore’s economy. But more than that, we want to do so in a sustainable and greener way,” says Verma. “As an industry, we recognise our responsibility in reducing the impact of MICE events on the environment.”
The push to raise Singapore’s green credentials will get another boost when the city hosts the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Global Conference for the first time in 2024. Taking place at Resorts World Sentosa from 13-15 November, this sustainability-theme conference is set to showcase the resort as well as Singapore’s position as a leading destination for sustainable business events.
With an impressive line-up of MICE events scheduled for 2023 and beyond and by working creatively and collaboratively with industry partners, Singapore is poised to build its prominent position on the international stage as a leading events and meetings destination committed to sustainability and lasting legacy.
Find out how to host an event sustainably in Singapore here.
This article is sponsored by Singapore Tourism Board