Vy över korsvägen, Svenska Mässan och Gothia Towers
Photo: Anders Wester/Svenska Mässan & Gothia Towers

On 17–21 September 2017, Gothenburg will host the European Conference on Optical Communication (ECOC). This will be the 43rd conference in succession and is the largest conference in Europe in the field of optical communication. This year, for the first time, the conference will be environmentally certified.

This is the third time ECOC will be held in Sweden, and the second time at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre in Gothenburg. The conference is an opportunity for over 1,000 researchers and product developers to catch up on leading research achievements and scientific discoveries in the field of optical communication. A large exhibition will take place in parallel with the conference and is expected to attract up to 5,000 delegates from around the world.

Gothenburg is a great choice for hosting sustainable meetings
In an effort to reduce environmental impact the organisers of this year’s conference have for the first time chosen to environmentally certify the conference to Swedish Environmental Base (Svensk Miljöbas) criteria. This is an important part of the city’s environmental profile, since Gothenburg is ranked as one of the world’s leading destinations for sustainable meetings*. A number of the measures that led to environmental certification focus on catering. The ECOC organisers have for instance chosen to serve fish that is fished sustainably (MSC labelled), fewer meals contain meat and there is always a vegetarian option at lunchtime. All coffee and tea that are served are organically sourced and Fairtrade labelled. All sandwiches have at least two organic main ingredients.

The organisers are also buying credits to partially offset travel by the delegates to and from Gothenburg. Because the conference venue – the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre – is located close to the city centre, visitors can easily walk to hotels and social events, and thus avoid the environmental effects of transport.

Conferences generally have considerable environmental impact. Environmental certification is encouraged by the city and helps to promote the development of sustainability efforts. It is hoped that more conferences will follow the same route and choose environmental certification as a way of making an effective difference and contributing to global sustainability goals.

More details about environmental certification and the work of ECOC can be found at

ECOC 2017 is organised by Chalmers University of Technology, the Technical University of Denmark, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden Acreo, Telia and Ericsson. The conference organiser is Sweden MEETX.


Steampipe Production Studio AB/Göteborg & Co.
Steampipe Production Studio AB/Göteborg & Co.

“I love the city, it is so nice, I will definitely return in the future and I sincerely hope Kenes will be able to host more congresses in Gothenburg in the future.” This was the comment of Marlies Steinebach, Global Director of Business Development at Kenes Group, following Kenes’ visit to Gothenburg.

Decision-makers and representatives from key sectors of the global meeting industry visited the city recently and their feedback was very positive. The praise for Gothenburg as a City of Meetings was echoed by INCON. Earlier this year, IAPCO also visited the city, which made a great impression on them. Jan Tonkin, Chairman of IAPCO, was very pleased with their visit.

“My overall impression of the congress venue and the hotel and the whole layout of it, are really impressive, an environment I very much would like to hold a meeting in. If I was being asked, why Gothenburg, I think I refer back to the slogan, you have ‘a city made for meetings’”.

The City of Meetings intends to host further influential delegations, including one from the Association World Congress, which brings together decision-makers from well-established international meeting organisations. Each year they hold an international meeting for managers and decision-makers involved in international and strategically important meeting organisations.

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Foto: European Choir Games.

“We are really looking forward to the city being filled with the joy and sense of community that choirs bring, as well as this opportunity to host a high-quality international competition,” says Max Markusson, Events Manager at Göteborg & Co.

The choirs will compete in several different classes and styles of music. All age groups, from children to senior citizens, will be represented. The event will include colourful shows, often with a national flavour.

Region Västra Götaland supports and promotes choir singing through Körcentrum Väst choir community, and sees the European Choir Games as a great opportunity for the region’s choirs to develop and exchange ideas internationally. Choir singing is the most popular movement in Sweden today and the efforts to bring the event to Gothenburg were part of a deliberate commitment in partnership with Göteborg & Co.

“I hope that many Swedish choirs will want to take part, either as competitors or in the rest of the entertainment programme that will take place during the event,” says Marit Zetterström from Körcentrum Väst.

The European Choir Games are supported by Interkultur, which also produces the world’s biggest choir competition, the World Choir Games. The European Choir Games are held every alternate year and in 2019 the fourth series of the games will be hosted by Gothenburg. The event will take place around central Gothenburg at venues such as the Scandinavium arena, Gothenburg Concert Hall and various churches.

“Gothenburg is truly the perfect city for the competitors. The hotels, concert hall, churches and great venues are all within walking distance. This will be a fantastic event in 2019,” says Fred Sjöberg, General Artistic Director at Interkultur.

körning Frida Winter14563
Gothenburg is the top international destination for sustainability according to the Global Destination Sustainability Index. This will be reaffirmed when the city hosts the Longines FEI European Equestrian Championships on 21–27 August.

“Our ambitions are high. The goal is to make this one of the most sustainable sports events in Europe this year,” says Katarina Thorstensson, Sustainability Officer at Göteborg & Co.
The city of Gothenburg has won several international awards for its efforts to promote sustainability. They include the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDSI), in which Gothenburg was recently ranked in first place among destinations around the world.
This achievement has spurred on the city’s efforts to improve the sustainability of meetings and events. Sustainability was therefore given a high priority during planning of the FEI European Championships.
“It covers all three elements of sustainability: social, economic and environmental. Because Gothenburg already has a strong lead it makes our work easier, for example almost all our hotels are environmentally certified and we can focus on pushing the development of sustainability issues,” says Katarina Thorstensson.

Almost all big meetings and events in Gothenburg now gain environmental diplomas, just like the FEI European Championships. August is an eventful month in the city, and both the Way Out West festival and Gothenburg Culture Festival have won awards and publicity for their sustainability efforts. The FEI European Championships will be the third big event of the month.

“Sustainability requires collaboration and cooperation to solve the various challenges. This is something we are good at in Gothenburg. We have long experience thanks to hosting a number of European championships with a high sustainability profile, and of course the Culture Festival and other annual events.”

 Facts about Gothenburg as a sustainable destination:
• 86 per cent of hotel rooms in Gothenburg are environmentally certified.
• Landvetter Airport has held the highest level of environmental accreditation – “European Airport Carbon accreditation” – since 2011.
• 90 per cent of public transport in Gothenburg runs on renewable energy.
• There are 1,000 “Styr & Ställ” city bikes to rent at 60 different locations in the city.
• In autumn 2013, Gothenburg became the first city in the world to issue a green bond for investments that benefit the environment and the climate.
• Gothenburg is a green city, partly thanks to its closeness to forests and parks, but also to the compact layout of the city. Gothenburg is a small city where almost everything is within walking distance.

Här är några av de stolta pristagarna på byrån Elemental. Från vänster Victor Oddo, Juan Ignacio Cerda, Diego Torres, Alejandro Aravena och Gonzalo Arteaga
Some of the staff at Elemental. From the left: Victor Oddo, Juan Ignacio Cerda, Diego Torres, Alejandro Aravena och Gonzalo Arteaga

Architect Alejandro Aravena has won the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development of SEK 1 million. “Aravena is an innovative Chilean architect who, along with his colleagues in the ‘Do Tank’ firm Elemental, applies a design philosophy based on making inhabitants part of the solution instead of regarding them as a problem – building bridges of trust between people, companies and governments.”

This is part of the jury statement regarding the winner of the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development. Alejandro Aravena, 49, is based in Santiago, Chile and is noted for his work in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas. Elemental is an operational think tank that works to develop strategies and produce good-value housing for economically disadvantaged groups. They operate similarly to a traditional think tank, but they also implement ideas and visions and work to combat segregation, for instance through socially and environmentally sustainable production of economical new housing. Their concept includes providing home buyers with information that enables them to build part of the house themselves. This allows more people to build houses in areas where they would otherwise not have been able to afford to live.

The jury for the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development consists of Lotta Göthe (CEO, Ecoplan In Medio), Elin Eriksson (IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute), Björn Siesjö (Gothenburg city architect), Johanna Stål (editor-in-chief, Camino magazine), Emma Peterson (Hifab) and Thomas Kåberger (Professor, Chalmers).

In 2016, Aravena won the Pritzker Prize, one of the world’s most prestigious architectural awards. In the same year, he was invited to be Director of the Venice Architecture Biennale. He will receive the Award on 22 November at Draken, Folkets Hus in Gothenburg. His colleagues from Elemental will also attend the award ceremony. Seminars and lectures will be organised during the award winner’s visit.

Read the whole jury statement on