With the advice of Hera
Increasingly sustainable trade fair events for Italian Exhibition Group (Ieg) which, among the first companies in the sector at European level, has managed to add the ISO 20121 certification to its rich palmares of records in the environmental, safety, health protection and sustainability fields. Ieg, one of the main operators in the sector, has certified the trade fair districts of Rimini, Vicenza and the organization of Ecomondo, the European exhibition for the circular economy for 25 years, and at the beginning of 2023 the procedure will also concern the Rimini Palacongressi, path which will lead it to be among the first and most important players to certify all its offices. A path of environmental sustainability that starts long ago, from the inauguration day of the new exhibition center in 2001. Starting from the prestigious international recognition Elca, Edilizia Verde di Nuremberg, Ieg then obtained the ISO 14001 Environment certification, the ISO 450001 health and safety at work, the Gbac Star Global Biorisk Advisory Council.
Ieg’s choice to aim at obtaining this coveted sustainability certification takes on a highly strategic value, aimed at increasingly qualifying itself as a mature entity committed to the transition to the circular economy. In fact, ISO 20121 certifies an activity designed and carried out in compliance with economic, social and environmental aspects: observing it means assuming a long-term and balanced approach in exercising economic activity, environmental responsibility and generating social progress, to satisfy the needs of the present and promote corporate development, qualifying it.
For the complex certification process, Ieg has chosen to make use of the consultancy and expertise of the Hera Group, one of the major Italian multi-utility companies which manages environmental, water and energy services for around 5 million citizens and which has always placed sustainability and circular economy at the heart of its strategy.During the certification process, which started in March 2022 and is particularly articulated for a structured entity like that of Ieg, the Hera Group provided its support on the various documentary, managerial, organizational and operational aspects, to complete the framework necessary to obtain ISO 20121 in terms of environmental, economic and social sustainability.
In particular, a dedicated team of the multi-utility was engaged in an intense calendar of activities: from site inspections in the offices involved to meetings with the various company areas and with suppliers, from Bureau Veritas audits to the document analysis and assessment phases with a view to sustainability, up to the revision and development of new procedures, planning of the potential development of activities and processes in a circular perspective.
In summary, the ISO 20121 certification commits Ieg directly, through its collaborators and suppliers, to: stimulate complete satisfaction in the activity performed, a prerequisite for the creation of value and sustainable development; ensure universal accessibility on the rights of persons with disabilities; use equipment, operating methods and organizational aspects that safeguard the environment with the reduction of emissions; optimize mobility systems and reduce waste production; increase differentiated waste collection and reduce energy and water consumption; employ qualified suppliers for quality, safety and environmental aspects; inform and sensitize all employees, suppliers, local partners, customers and event participants on environmental and sustainability issues.
Among the best practices introduced with the planning of the Ecomondo event, the one concerning the absence of carpet from the aisles inside the pavilions, with an environmental saving of over 140 tons of carpet per year; the collection and recovery of cigarette butts; the upgrading of electric car charging stations; accessibility to the neighborhood for the disabled; the increase in installed power relating to photovoltaic systems; the involvement of local stakeholders.
The district has 1,500 plants irrigated by surface water, the brightness in the pavilions is favored by 850 LED projectors which save emissions of 120 tons of CO2 per year and consumption of 360,000 kWh. The photovoltaic systems guarantee the production of 8.5 million kWh of clean energy, equal to that necessary to make all its Italian offices self-sufficient. The recovery of water saves 23 million litres, all the fountains are water recirculating. The underground ice bank contributes to cooling the rooms by halving consumption. The internal railway station is used by 20% of visitors and reduces traffic flows; there are 7 electric charging stations for cars and motorbikes, the number of which will soon double.
“With this important certification, which with Ecomondo we were the first to obtain in Europe in the context of environmental fairs, we give substance – says Corrado Peraboni, CEO of Ieg – to the objectives for sustainable development of the 2030 Agenda, principles that are in line with the values of Ieg and the basis of the company policy. Recognitions and best practices have generated virtuous behavior in recent years even among the hundreds of thousands of international visitors, but ISO 20121 represents a further step forward, a tangible contribution to the process of cultural change, to be declined in behaviors necessary to protect the planet ”.
“The support to one of the main operators in the sector such as Ieg – explains Orazio Iacono, CEO of the Hera Group – in the articulated certification process of its exhibition centers, and of an important event such as Ecomondo, represents the natural consequence of sharing the objectives of sustainability and circular economy, which have always been the basis of our corporate strategy. Thanks to the ISO 20121 certification, the planning of sustainable events in compliance with the economic and social aspects becomes even more strategic and tangible, while at the same time providing a balanced and long-term approach to environmental responsibility and social progress”.