by Sarah J.F. Braley | November 20, 2017
The Global Destination Sustainability Index (aka GDS-Index) has released its second annual ranking of the sustainability performance of 40 meetings and events cities worldwide, with Gothenburg, Sweden, heading the list. The city also won the GDS-Index's innovation award for its app that facilitates greater accessibility for events.
 
The GDS-Index promotes the sustainable growth of international meeting destinations through knowledge sharing, capacity building and benchmarking in four areas: performance; industry-supplier support from entities such as restaurants, hotels and convention centers; and strategies and initiatives by convention and visitor bureaus. The 2017 results were announced during the International Congress and Convention Association Congress, which was held last week in Prague. 
 
Gothenburg achieved a score of 92 out of a possible 100 points to gain its number-one ranking. "The goal for Gothenburg is to be in the absolute top league in sustainability. All the initiatives that the city takes in collaboration with local business contribute to this success. This is very much in line with our ambition to keep on pushing every aspect of sustainability," said Camilla Nyman, CEO of Göteborg & Co., the city's destination marketing organization.
 
Glasgow, Scotland, which came in at number five, was recognized as the most-improved city for its "People Make Glasgow Greener" campaign and for driving sustainability performance in the last year. "This is a fantastic achievement for the city that would not have been possible without the collaboration between the city's tourism and hospitality sectors, academic and business communities, and local government partners," said Aileen Crawford, head of Conventions at Glasgow Convention Bureau. "It's hugely motivating to see our efforts in this area being recognized. Glasgow is working toward becoming one of Europe's most sustainable cities by 2020, and in order to maintain our position as one of the world's premier conference destinations, we recognize the importance of enhancing our sustainable business-tourism offering. Glasgow is at the forefront of developments in the energy, sustainability and low-carbon industries, and in turn, this has had a hugely positive impact on the volume of conferences we're attracting in these sectors."
 
The GDS-Index has found that destinations with a sustainability strategy for the MICE sector increased by 25 percent for 2017; and average CVB sustainability performance rose by 11 percent, with destinations such as Oslo, Norway; Aarhus, Denmark; and Malmö, Sweden, increasing their overall performance by more than 20 percent. Three new cities joined the top rankings in 2017, including Brussels (number 15), Dublin (34), and Goyang, South Korea (35).
 
"I would like to congratulate the award-winning destinations for their achievements and for being beacons of leadership," said Guy Bigwood, GDS-Index project director. "I also want to recognize all the destinations in the program for their commitment to driving performance in their destinations. They are all leaders. I am proud to say that this year's awards and ranking prove that the GDS-Index delivers results for the CVB, for clients and for participants." 
 
Listed below are the cities with the 15 highest overall scores. For the full list of cities and all the scores, click here.
 
1. Gothenburg, Sweden
2. Oslo, Norway
3. Copenhagen, Denmark
3. Reykjavik, Iceland
5. Glasgow, Scotland
6. Stuttgart, Germany
7. Helsinki, Finland
8. Uppsala, Sweden
9. Zurich, Switzerland
10. Malmo, Sweden
11. Vasteras, Sweden
12. Jonkoping, Sweden
12. Stockholm, Sweden
14. Melbourne, Australia

15. Brussels, Belgium

Photograph by Kjell Holmner/Göteborg & Co