Destination Canada, the country’s national tourism organization, has been bestowed the 2023 IMEX-EIC Innovation in Sustainability Award, recognizing its pioneering Canadian Business Event Sustainability Plan.
This acknowledgment highlights the organization’s commitment to enhancing sustainability and innovation in Canada’s business events sector.
Launched in 2022, the groundbreaking initiative aims to bolster the economic, socio-cultural, and environmental sustainability of business events held across the country.
The initiative represents a crucial step towards Canada’s business events industry meeting its target of net-zero emissions.
“This recognition signals that Destination Canada, in partnership with our city partners, is leading change globally,” stated Marsha Walden, President and CEO of Destination Canada.
In her acceptance speech, Virginie De Visscher, Senior Director, Business Events, emphasized the collaborative nature of their efforts, stating, “We’ve always said that sustainability requires a collaborative approach. This reaffirms that we are all in this together.”
The award, granted annually, assesses nominees on factors such as innovation, collaboration, socio-cultural, economic and environmental impact, legacy, commitment to continuous improvement, and industry education.
IMEX Group CEO, Carina Bauer, praised Destination Canada’s creativity and commitment, while Events Industry Council (EIC) CEO, Amy Calvert, hailed the plan as a model for the industry.
As part of the Sustainability Plan, sixteen Canadian destinations have already joined the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index). The list includes major cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Ottawa, amongst others.
By spring 2024, the Plan is expected to offer comprehensive sustainability programs to global clients, thus propelling the entire business event industry towards sustainability.
Reflecting on the journey so far, Chantal Sturk-Nadeau, Executive Director, Business Events, Destination Canada, highlighted the instrumental role of Virginie De Visscher in launching the initiative at IMEX Frankfurt 2022.
“This award is a testament to Virginie’s approach,” she added, looking forward to continued collaboration and standard-raising in Canadian business event sustainability.