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Environment and sustainability

The infrastructure of the Frankfurt exhibition grounds is not unlike that of a small town. With up to 300 or so events, including set-up and dismantling, there is activity on the exhibition grounds 365 days a year. Transportation, logistics, energy supply, water supply, sanitation and waste management – all of this must work seamlessly and be sustainable at the same time. 

As an organiser and exhibition venue operator, we are fully aware of our responsibility. Using resources efficiently while maintaining consistently high quality standards calls for ongoing optimisation processes to be carried out by the company as a whole and by each of its employees.

Conserving energy is intricate work

Conserving energy is intricate work

Messe Frankfurt operates an active energy management system across all departments. Efficient technologies, avoiding unnecessary consumption, active involvement by employees – the wide range of measures and activities undertaken have a noticeable impact on the amount of energy saved.

In 2014, we set up an Energy Team consisting of all those with an influence on energy management at Messe Frankfurt. Our energy manager ensures that we use energy resources as efficiently and sparingly as possible. For instance, solar energy has been playing a key role at Messe Frankfurt for years.

Three photovoltaic systems – electricity for 500 households

Photovoltaic systems on the hall rooftops

The solar powered systems on our exhibition grounds will be able to harvest up to 2 GWh of electricity in future. Since the end of 2018, our third photovoltaic system – located on the roof of hall 12 – has been generating energy on the exhibition grounds. It was built for Messe Frankfurt’s own use and, measuring some 9,000 square metres and consisting of 5,300 solar modules, is as large as our other two systems put together.

In 2009, our first large photovoltaic system was installed on the roof of hall 10 with the aid of Mainova AG and was then expanded at the end of the year.

Working together with the Sonneninitiative e.V. association, Messe Frankfurt set up its second system on top of the Rebstock multi-storey car park in September 2010. Solar carports are also integrated here.

Individual and forward-looking – whether new or renovated, buildings need to have an energy-optimised design and to be efficient in operation. This might include, for example, compound cooling systems between exhibition halls, or an exceptionally energy-efficient construction as in the case of Hall 12, which has been in operation since September 2018, having been designed to adhere to the demanding KfW 55 energy-efficient criteria.

Incidentally, the Kap Europa congress centre’s high ecological standards already earned it a platinum certification from the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) back in 2014.

100 percent of power from renewable energy sources

The Frankfurt exhibition grounds are becoming even greener. As of 2020, we will be switching over completely to green power and sourcing 100 percent of the electricity we need for stands, halls and the rest of the exhibition grounds from renewable energies.

This eliminates an estimated 19,000 tonnes of CO2 every year – a significant amount when you consider that it takes approximately 80 trees to compensate for one tonne of CO2, which in turn means that more than 1.52 million trees a year would be needed to offset this quantity of CO2.

For Messe Frankfurt, driving forward our energy targets as part of an integral energy performance also means actively taking part in the climate protection plans of its shareholders – the City of Frankfurt and the federal state of Hesse.

Climate-neutral mobility

Climate-neutral mobility

At present, there are around 20 charging stations on the exhibition grounds and on the Rebstock multi-storey car park for customers and for Messe Frankfurt service vehicles.

Efficient recycling management

Thousands of cubic metres of stand construction material and other items pass through our halls and exhibition grounds while our events are being set up and dismantled. They are delivered and taken away again. Many tonnes remain in the form of waste, but only for a short period of time. This is because an estimated 90 percent of this is fed back into the material cycle.

For example, with the aid of our partner, recycling company Meinhardt, carpet goods are shredded and converted into plastic pellets. Similarly, waste paper is incorporated as the raw material for paper production, while wood is used both for the production of new chipboard and as fuel at the Flörsheim/Wicker bio-power plant.

Meinhardt Städtereinigung GmbH & Co. KG has been looking after Messe Frankfurt’s waste disposal needs since 1990. This company, which is based in Wallau and has a branch location in Gustavsburg, offers comprehensive closed-loop recycling management and disposal concepts. It is certified in accordance with the Ordinance on Specialised Waste Management Companies (EfbV) and with EN ISO 9001:2015 and is also subject to the controls of the Regional Administrative Authority in Darmstadt. 

And so that the amount of waste is reduced consistently, we provide our exhibitors with practical tips about environmentally-friendly trade fair participation, for example through our waste management experts. 

Mobility with a minimal carbon footprint

Mobility with a minimal carbon footprint

Due to their central location in Frankfurt, our exhibition grounds can be reached quickly and easily by public transport, by bicycle or on foot, thereby minimising the strain on the environment.

The suburban rail (S-Bahn) stops at the “Messe” station in the centre of the exhibition grounds, while the underground train (U-Bahn) station and the tram station are located directly at the City Entrance/Festhalle. Frankfurt Main Train Station (Hauptbahnhof) is only a short walk away as well.

Since 2002, we have issued combined tickets to our Group events, meaning that admission tickets for events also entitle holders to make use of the entire public transport network.

Getting to Messe Frankfurt

In cooperation with Deutsche Bahn, Messe Frankfurt has offered its customers return tickets at all Deutsche Bahn stations in Germany since 2007. Since 2013, Messe Frankfurt customers have travelled to and from events on Deutsche Bahn’s emission-free long-distance trains, using 100 percent green power.

Messe Frankfurt also received a certificate from Deutsche Bahn for 2018, confirming that a total of 2,629,660 passenger kilometres had been travelled emission-free using 100 percent green power.

Incidentally, Messe Frankfurt employees at the company’s Frankfurt base also have their public transport travel subsidised.

A bicycle-friendly company

Tarek Al-Wazir and Wolfgang Marzin

In 2017, Messe Frankfurt was selected for the bike + business award by the FrankfurtRheinMain Regional Authority, cyclists association ADFC Hessen and the administrative union for the Kassel area (Zweckverband Raum Kassel). The award was presented by Tarek Al-Wazir, Hessian Minister of Economics, Energy, Transport and Regional Development, to Wolfgang Marzin, President and CEO of Messe Frankfurt.

More than ten percent of the company’s 1,000 or so employees at its Frankfurt base cycle to and from work. There are now over 340 bicycle parking spaces on the exhibition grounds – and around 140 company bicycles are provided for getting from A to B quickly on the large exhibition grounds.

Our “Arbeitskreis Fahrrad” working group helps to further optimise the infrastructure for cyclists and regularly provides information updates on the intranet. In a specially set up community, it also invites employees to make suggestions.

A green oasis within our exhibition grounds

Trees on the fairgrounds

The trees in our exhibition grounds make up a wooded area of over 32,000 square metres – roughly half the total outdoor area at our Frankfurt base.

There are now an estimated 880 trees, ranging from native varieties such as linden, red oak, horse chestnut, robinia, hornbeam, sycamore, pine and wild pear trees to tulip trees and catalpas – not to mention dawn redwoods and a pagoda tree. As well as creating diversity and a pleasant microclimate, the wooded area is an ideal place for taking a break during a busy day at the trade fair. 

The dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) was actually considered extinct until 1941, when living specimens were discovered in China. Still rare, this deciduous conifer is ideally suited to the city climate.

Messe Frankfurt locations

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