Hannover, Germany. Sustainability is a key factor toward ensuring Deutsche Messe's long-term competitiveness: "Sustainability-relevant topics such as decarbonization, the recycling economy and resource efficiency, are firmly in the spotlight of the flagship trade fairs held at the Hannover Exhibition Center. Sustainability is also a cornerstone of Deutsche Messe's corporate strategy. Our transparently defined sustainability goals, concrete measures and milestones underscore our commitment to responsibility towards society and maintaining our standing as an attractive trade fair venue in the long term," says Dr. Jochen Köckler, Chairman of the Managing Board of Deutsche Messe AG. "With our company-wide sustainability project Fair2Future, we have set out on the path toward a progressively more sustainable 'trade fair business model'."

Deutsche Messe's sustainability levers, such as those focused on energy, mobility, and waste management, are all encompassed within the Fair2Future project. The goal is to make the Hannover Exhibition Center carbon neutral by 2035, with CO2 emissions in Scopes 1 + 2 to be reduced by 65 percent by 2030. The aim in Scope 3 is to achieve quantifiable improvements in emissions falling within Deutsche Messe's sphere of influence.

With the area of energy in mind, a comprehensive energy transformation concept was therefore developed in 2023, and is currently being progressively implemented. The first steps involve replacing gas burners with heat pumps in all permanently used buildings by the end of 2027, and installing a photovoltaic system on exhibition halls 19 and 20. Both these measures are being carried out based on the premise of electrification and scaling up the proportion of energy generated by the Hanover Exhibition Center itself. Deutsche Messe's electricity supply has been 100-percent green since as far back as 2019.

In the area of mobility, Deutsche Messe aims continuously to expand the e-charging infrastructure on the exhibition grounds. The goal of decarbonization is also a priority when it comes to Deutsche Messe's own vehicle fleet: it is planned for the existing vehicles (including passenger cars, light commercial vehicles, special vehicles) to have been replaced by carbon-free alternatives in a phased approach by late 2025. To facilitate the transition to using public transport, Deutsche Messe is covering the cost of the Deutschland-Ticket – a digital transit pass entitling holders to use local and regional public transport throughout Germany – for its employees.

"Resource efficiency and the circular economy, too, are crucial to our endeavors toward sustainability. We see ourselves as having a special responsibility in this context, both within the company and toward our customers," emphasizes Dr. Jochen Köckler. In 2023, for example, the waste management in Deutsche Messe's office buildings was completely revamped in the area of disposal. It was also decided exclusively to use certified paper made from 100-percent recycled paper in everyday work and for all unavoidable printed materials.

The range of rental systems on offer by Deutsche Messe has likewise been reconfigured with sustainability considerations in mind, and the recycling rate among rental system stand materials already stands at over 90 percent today. The increased integration of lower-carbon, more energy-efficient components (e.g. recyclable floor coverings, graphic materials, LED lighting) into the service portfolio now makes a further scaling back of the ecological footprint possible. The sustainable offerings are highlighted in Deutsche Messe's online booking system, thus making for transparency among the options. Furthermore, Deutsche Messe is aiming for a substantial scale-up in the use of sustainable outdoor advertising materials in 2024.

The key tasks of Fair2Future also include reporting in accordance with the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS). Deutsche Messe has secured the support of Bosch Climate Solutions GmbH (BCS) in creating the organizational prerequisites, besides which the additional position of a sustainability controller has been established within the Corporate Finance department.

The cooperation with BCS not only encompasses calculating a comprehensive carbon footprint (Scopes 1 – 3) and carrying out a double materiality analysis but also involves identifying carbon reduction potentials and using that data to derive effective minimization measures in Scope 3. Andrea Aulkemeyer: "ESRS-compliant sustainability reporting will be mandatory from fiscal year 2025 onward. The focus is on developing a comprehensive sustainability strategy for Deutsche Messe. This will include resilient goals, measures, and milestones in the areas of environment, social issues, and corporate governance. We are addressing this task in a company-wide process."

Based on this understanding, Fair2Future is in a process of continuous adjustment and expansion. Deutsche Messe sees itself as part of a complex ecosystem within the event industry. As a signatory to the Net Zero Carbon Events Pledge (2021), and in continuous dialog with its partners, customers, and other stakeholders, Deutsche Messe is actively committed to taking significant and quantifiable strides toward organizing and hosting truly sustainable events.