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Messe Frankfurt introduces internationally recognised environmental management system EMAS

26 Jan 2023

As part of its ongoing sustainability campaign, Messe Frankfurt aims to obtain a certificate for the internationally recognised environmental management system EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) by the end of 2023. According to EMAS, this means that Messe Frankfurt will be the first company in the German trade fair sector to introduce this system.

This seal of quality for sustainable environmental management, which was developed by the European Union, is geared towards companies that continually improve their environmental performance on their own initiative. As Wolfgang Marzin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Messe Frankfurt, emphasises: “EMAS is the most rigorous environmental management system in the world and a real driving force for change. With this validation, we are improving our environment performance resolutely on an ongoing basis – and are also documenting this very transparently for our business partners, shareholders and interested members of the public.” Messe Frankfurt will conduct the audit for all companies at its Frankfurt base until the end of the year and will then measure its progress every year from then on. EMAS’s analysis and audit will include not only Messe Frankfurt GmbH, Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH and Messe Frankfurt Venue GmbH but also the two subsidiaries Messe Frankfurt Medien und Service GmbH and Accente Gastronomie Service GmbH.

The strict requirements and regular independent assessments by EMAS extend to almost all areas of the company. The core indicators are the energy, emissions, material, water, waste disposal and land usage/biodiversity sectors. Other indicators such as social responsibility are also evaluated. The entire process and the information included in environmental statements are audited by independent external environmental verifiers. The EMAS assessment system is supervised by the Federal Ministry for the Environment. Sustainability is a central pillar of Messe Frankfurt’s corporate strategy. In past years, the Group has undertaken a series of voluntary commitments relating to sustainability, such as the United Nations Global Compact, the Charter of Diversity and the ‘fairpflichtet’ sustainability code. In 2022, Messe Frankfurt completed an ESG rating (Environmental, Social and Governance) for the first time and was awarded a bronze medal. As well as supporting the sustainability initiatives of sector associations AUMA and UFI, the company has signed the Net Zero Carbon Events Pledge.

New generation committed to transformation process

Messe Frankfurt employees of all ages and disciplines are actively involved in the company’s sustainable transformation process. Trainees and students at Messe Frankfurt are also working extensively on sustainability issues – with very positive results! In 2022, German trade fair and exhibition association FAMA awarded Messe Frankfurt Young Professional Valerie Grimm first prize in its Messe-Impuls-Preis 2022 award for outstanding degree theses. In the bachelor thesis she wrote as part of her studies at DHBW Ravensburg, she examined the sustainability of congresses based on a case study of Messe Frankfurt. She also developed a matrix and an online tool that maps the carbon footprint of congress events specific to each location and makes it possible to plan the individual parameters interactively.

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Background information on Messe Frankfurt

The Messe Frankfurt Group is one of the world’s leading trade fair, congress and event organisers with their own exhibition grounds. With a workforce of some 2,200* people at its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main and in 28 subsidiaries, it organises events around the world. Group sales in financial year 2022 were around €450 million*. We serve our customers’ business interests efficiently within the framework of our Fairs & Events, Locations and Services business fields. One of Messe Frankfurt’s key strengths is its powerful and closely knit global sales network, which covers around 180 countries in all regions of the world. Our comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. We are using our digital expertise to develop new business models. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services.

Sustainability is a central pillar of our corporate strategy. Here, we strike a healthy balance between ecological and economic interests, social responsibility and diversity.

With its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent).

* Preliminary figures for 2022

Sustainability at Messe Frankfurt

The Group’s strategic orientation is determined by its sustainable business practices. The Sustainability Board drives forward the transformation with input from different disciplines. Having already completed an ESG rating (Environmental, Social and Governance) in 2022, the company’s aim for 2023 is to be the first trade fair company to secure a certificate from environmental management system EMAS (Eco Management & Audit Scheme). Since 2010, Messe Frankfurt has geared its sustainable business practices towards the ten principles of the UN Global Compact and the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. The company has also committed itself to the Charter of Diversity and the fairpflichtet sustainability code. Messe Frankfurt supports the sustainability initiatives of industry associations AUMA and UFI and of the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC) in their efforts to organise climate-neutral events.

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Markus Quint

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Markus Quint