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Sustainability Report 2023

Sustainability Report 2023

For us, sustainability is action

Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre is committed to promoting sustainability in our business and we work hard in the areas of social, economic and environmental responsibility.

2023 was a special year for us: we placed sustainability more clearly at the heart of our strategy. We took significant steps forward by clarifying the sustainability themes relevant to our business through a double materiality assessment and by defining clear indicators for each theme.

As a pioneer in the events industry, we have published our sustainability report from 2020 onwards. Now we have started preparing for the changes brought by EU’s sustainability regulation (CSRD) and for the first time we are reporting on our sustainability projects using the ESG model.

For us, sustainability is first and foremost about actions. Concrete efforts and helping customers to become more sustainable are critical to the success of any company, including Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre.

Anni Vepsäläinen, CEO

Our values
> Licence to smile
> We renew ourselves boldly and by learning
> Responsibility bears

Sustainable Business at Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre

Three sustainability themes

During the reporting year, sustainability became a priority area in Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre’s updated strategy. The strategy states that sustainability is first and foremost a matter of action.

The mission of Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre is to create growth through encounters. We promote our customers’ business, provide inspiration to our visitors and strengthen the business community. Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre is Finland’s largest event organiser, producing high-quality events and renting out both its facilities and its services as an area for various events.

Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre’s strategy states that sustainability is first and foremost a matter of action. We aim to increase economic growth and social well-being, while minimizing the environmental impact of our operations.

During the reporting year, we conducted a sustainability survey of key stakeholders, which led to a double materiality assessment in collaboration with Greenstep Ltd. The analysis highlighted three key sustainability themes in our operations:

Attractive and safe events that enable encounters
 SDG 8, SDG 11, SDG 17
Sustainable events
 SDG 12, SDG 13
Prosperous employees and partners and a safe working environment
 SDG 8, SDG 11

Theme 1

Attractive and safe events that enable encounters

Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre has a significant economic impact on the metropolitan area. The internationally renowned SHORE certification verifies our high-quality safety practices.

In the latest survey by Taloustutkimus (2022), Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre generated revenue of EUR 128 million for the Helsinki Metropolitan Area (EUR 63 million in 2021). The corresponding figure in the most recent measurement prior to COVID-19 in 2019, the year with the full programme, was EUR 357 million (Taloustutkimus 2019).

At fairs, each business sector takes turns being the focus of media attention; the fairs also serve as a platform for social debate. In the year under review, 4,600 media representatives and influencers visited the events organised by Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre itself, to find stories for their content.

Highly valued by business decision-makers

Customer NPS was 46 (45) during the year under review. According to Taloustutkimus survey in 2023 for working life decision makers, Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre was among the leaders in its sector and the overwhelming number one of companies within the business sector in terms of functionality, service offering, reliability and operational reliability of the fair and exhibition facilities. Moreover, Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre received the highest rating from business decision-makers for its professional customer service and the competence of its staff. The Net Promoter Score (NPS), which measures willingness to recommend, was the second highest among the fourteen exhibition industry companies evaluated.

Our management system is certified according to the ISO 9001:2015 standard. Our operations are continuously improved through audits in cooperation with DNV GL. The GOLD Excellent level SHORE safety certificate certifies first-class safety practices and risk management both at Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre and at the Holiday Inn Helsinki – Expo hotel owned by Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre. The certificate is awarded by the international, independent risk assessment expert SAFE Asset Group.

Close cooperation with authorities helps to assess risks and maintain safety. Companies and associations from different industries are involved in the development teams and bring valuable expertise to the development of the events.

Important networks in which we are active include Helsinki Travel Advisory Board, Makers of Helsinki, Urban Climate Leaders, The Finnish Hospitality Association MaRa, the event industry association Tapahtumateollisuus ry, The Association of Trade Fair and Event Organizers in Finland, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry UFI, Congress Network Finland and the International Congress and Convention Association ICCA.

Maailman kiertotalousfoorumi WCEF järjestettiin Messukeskuksessa kesällä 2023. Kansainvälisten kongressien talousvaikutus Suomelle on huomattava.
The World Circular Economy Forum WCEF was held in the summer of 2023. The economic impact of international congresses held at the Exhibition Center on Finland is significant.

Theme 2

Sustainable events​

We identified the direct and indirect sources of emissions from our activities and established in relation to them carbon footprint calculations at a company level. Additionally, we prepared event-specific carbon footprint calculation.

Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre is an ISO 14001 environmentally certified company. Our environmental goal is 100% carbon neutrality by 2029 through efficient waste management and recycling, energy efficiency and using renewable energy.

We generate solar energy in a solar power plant on the roof of the halls, and utilize geothermal energy, district cooling, heat recovery, LED technology and motion sensors for lighting.

Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre has a strong network of partners in climate work: we are a climate partner of the City of Helsinki, a member of the Sustainable Travel Finland programme and committed to the tourism industry’s global Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action in Tourism.

Circular economy themes for events

Sustainability is increasingly reflected in the contents of events. Examples for 2023 include the Save the Baltic Sea Award at the Vene Båt Boat Show, the new Choice area at Habitare, the circular economy competition at the I love me fair, the circular economy area at the Child Fair and the sustainability competition at the Matka Travel Fair. At international congresses, we help congress organisers find meaningful local sustainability projects and partners to integrate into the congress programme.

In the year under review, we recycled 19% of our waste, 75% went to energy production and 6% to material recovery. Environmentally friendly products are labelled with an eco-label in our product catalogue. All our facilities include recycling possibilities and during construction and dismantling our customers are assisted by an environmental supervisor circulating around the premises. During the reporting year, we also opened up the possibility for our staff to work as sorting guides to support our customers.

In the construction of trade fairs, we are increasingly focusing on recyclable solutions, where as much of the materials used as possible can be reused in other events. In the reporting year, Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre’s new restaurant partner NoHo Partners started a double materiality assessment of its own operations in relation to ESG issues. Responsible sourcing, resource efficiency, food waste prevention and carbon footprint calculation are common goals in the partnership between NoHo and Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre.

Habitare’s new theme area, Choice, showcased companies that have consciously made responsible decisions towards a more sustainable future. The structures of the area were also fully recyclable.

Theme 3

Prosperous employees and partners, safe working environment

Sustainability work in the area of social responsibility extends beyond employees to a wide range of stakeholders. Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre fosters safety and equality in its premises and events.

Our long-standing cooperation with UNICEF Finland continued. With the support of monthly donors that joined during fairs, warm blankets were provided to nearly 4,400 children in Ukraine.

Cooperation with the Live Vocational College continued as well. We provide a safe learning and working environment for students with special needs. In the year under review, around 200 students gained work experience in event production. Cooperation with Spesia Vocational College was launched in the prevention of food waste.

Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre also supported the aid organization Hurstin Apu for the lonely and marginalised in organizing a Christmas party. The party was held for the seventh time at Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre.

Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre offered internships for students, work experience for school children and free admission to selected events for school groups.

A significant contribution to social sustainability is made by Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre’s largest shareholder, The Finnish Fair Foundation. The foundation supports Finnish expertise annually with grants, scholarships and recognition awards for a value of EUR 500 000.

Increased employee satisfaction

Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre offers its employees a working environment that maintains well-being at work and high-quality occupational health care. The employee benefit app ePassi opens doors to sports and cultural services. Staff is regularly trained in safety at work and other safety-related issues. The office premises are equipped with ergonomics and first aid equipment to promote well-being at work.

We support our personnel to study while working and offer the possibility of study leave. We also develop the professional skills of our personnel through in-house training. As part of their own work, our staff can also visit events and take part in training courses organized during events that suit them.

Personnel satisfaction is monitored through regular surveys. In 2023, the eNPS measuring staff satisfaction was 37 (36).

Messukeskus staff at the autumn season opening

ESG indicators

Revenue and employment impact EUR million128 (2022)63 (2021)
Recycling Rate %1919
CO2 emissions from waste management–51 tonnes CO2e-28 tonnes CO2e
Group CO2e, tonnes (Scope 1-2)26752567