Global Destination Sustainability Movement

The GDS-Index is the world’s leading sustainability benchmarking and performance improvement program for cities, their events and their visitor economy. It is a collaborative partnership between the International Congress and Convention Association, IMEX Exhibitions, European Cities Marketing, MCI Group and GUBI Consulting. Its purpose is to engage, inspire and enable destinations to become more sustainable places to visit, meet and thrive in.

How does it work? In addition to measuring and benchmarking a city’s environmental strategy and social sustainability performance, the GDS-Index also assesses criteria that are MICE industry-specific: industry supplier support (restaurants, hotels and convention centers) and convention bureau strategy and initiatives. Alongside sustainability benchmarking the GDS-Index helps Destination Management Organisations and Convention Bureaus, key industry associations, suppliers and clients to develop effective strategies and practices in support of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The GDS-Index is creating a movement of industry transformation through benchmarking; consulting, training and tools; an awards programme; and by building a global community of city focused destination sustainability professionals. Since 2019 over 60 cities in 5 continents including Barcelona, Copenhagen, the Hague, Washington DC, Geneva, Gothenburg, Frankfurt, Kyoto, Vienna, Nantes, Oslo, Reykjavik, and Sydney have started the process of benchmarking and assessment. The goal is to have 300 cities collaborating together by 2023.