Sunday, 6 March 2011

Green Index Ranks Global Destinations

Last year I was involved in a program led by Oracle that created 36 small-size sustainable event pilot projects outside of North America. It was an exceptional opportunity to learn about the capacity of different cities to cater to sustainable events given their prevailing infrastructure, regulations and culture. Through my limited experience it appeared that:
  • Asian properties used had high awareness of energy and water conservation, with low flow fixtures and occupancy sensors as standard. They were also more conscious about reducing waste at source.
  • Latin American venues used benefited from the lower carbon footprint of hydroelectric power and had unique community donation programs to re-purpose event supplies.
  • European destinations used featured convenient and efficient transit as well as more sophisticated recycling and waste management programs.
  • Australian venues used practiced environmentally preferable purchasing for food and beverage and things like cleaners and also had above average recycling programs.
I'm over-generalizing quite a bit here, but I found it interesting to reflect on this first-hand experience and read through Siemens Green Cities Indexes, which analyze the sustainability performance of the largest cities in Europe, Asia and Latin America. The Index provides a good barometer of what to expect if you're a planner hosting events in these regions.

Europe: Siemens AG European Green City Index

Copenhagen is the greenest city in Europe. The host city of the 15th UN Climate  Change Conference held in December 2009 performs very well in all eight  categories, as evidenced by the COP15 Sustainability Report. Second place in the overall rankings is Stockholm, and Oslo finishes third, followed by Vienna and Amsterdam.

Churchill Park, Copenhagen (Wonderful Copenhagen)

Latin America: Siemens Latin America Green Cities Index

Five of the six cities that finish above average or well above average overall in the Index are from Brazil — Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Curitiba, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo. The cities have a very high share of hydropower, which gives them an advantage in their energy and CO2 performance.

Curitiba Botanical Garden

Asia: Siemens Asian Green City Index

Singapore is Asia’s greenest metropolis. Well above average in terms of all categories assessed, Singapore is followed by Hong Kong, Osaka, Seoul, Taipei, Tokyo, and Yokohama.

Kusu Island, Singapore (Singapore Tourism Board)

Some comparisons between these regions based on the Siemens studies:
  • The share of renewables in electricity production for Asia is 11%, much lower than the figure for Latin America, at 64%, where hydropower is much more common. In addition, only about 3% of the energy Asian cities use on average is from renewable sources, which is less than half of Europe’s average share of 7%.
  • Asian cities produce less waste per capita than Europe and Latin America, but waste collection is less effective. The 22 Asian cities produce an average of 375 kilograms of waste per capita per year, less than in Latin America (465 kilograms) and Europe  (511 kilograms).  
  • Average annual CO2 emissions per capita are 4.6 tons in the Asian cities assessed, and below the corresponding figure for Europe (5.2 tons  per capita and year).
  • Water consumption rates in the Asian Green City Index are similar to Latin America and Europe.
  • Air pollution is a serious problem across Asia, with average levels of the three pollutants evaluated in the Index exceeding the safe levels set down by the World Health Organisation.

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