SUSTAINABILITY
& DIVERSITY

Our values in action

SUSTAINABILITY & DIVERSITY. OUR VALUES IN ACTION.

At Smart City Expo we’ve been working for twelve years towards creating efficient and sustainable cities that leave no one behind, and we’re proud to say that Fira Barcelona has obtained ISO 14001 certification, the most widely recognized international standard in the field of environmental management.

For more than a decade, we’ve attracted the most disruptive brands and voices to influence what’s next in urban planning and smart urban solutions around the world – to build more participatory, fairer, and greener cities together.

So we as an event should naturally lead by example by integrating diversity and sustainability into everything we do, making sure that everyone feels represented and has a voice here.
We’re proud to share the best practices we’ve been putting in place to reduce our environmental footprint, enhance equity, and promote green consciousness.

We’re excited to build upon the success of previous years, while also introducing new initiatives to deliver the best version of our event.

Circularity. Everything gets a second life

All of our beautiful venue decoration is carried out using circular elements, including carpets made from recycled materials, and other repurposed structures used to assemble our modular stand packs. An impressive 1,503kg of material were reused at last year’s event, while 9,180 kg of carpet were recycled.

We strive to be smart and sustainable by design, and we’re thrilled to see how exhibitors build up their stands with a circular mindset to reduce the high environmental impact of their participation at the event. In 2023, we recognized Bioo (Spain) with the Green Exhibitor Award for saving energy in their stand with the revolutionary Bioo Panel, which uses natural microorganisms to generate power, sequester carbon, and preserve water. Thanks for your efforts!

No single-use plastics. Less paper. Tons of recycling

Four years ago we got drastic with plastic and said goodbye to all single-use plastics in the whole venue. We even set up water fountains so attendees can refill reusable bottles for free. In 2023, this helped us save 2,134kg of plastic waste.

In addition, containers for separating waste are always distributed throughout both halls of the event, with dedicated volunteers on hand to help visitors. Last year saw 1,618kg of selective collection of waste.

We also try to reduce paper usage, so we exclusively use the event app for all the event information – and we encourage exhibitors to provide digital information and avoid printing, too!

All the (green) power
to the venue

We’re committed to green energy. Fira de Barcelona only consumes electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind, hydraulic, tidal and geothermal, along with biomass and biogas. This includes all energy consumed at the venue (stands, exhibition areas, congress-related activity, etc.) and in its offices, generating 12,500 fewer tons of CO2 per year.

Our venue has one of the biggest rooftop photovoltaic plants in the world, with 25,947 panels over an area of 135,000 m2 that generate 5.86 GWh of electricity per year, avoiding the emission of 2,200+ tons of CO2. Moreover, Fira de Barcelona has become a pioneer in Spain by furnishing an entire venue with IoT technology to optimize energy consumption. We’ve also installed low-consumption lighting systems.

Plant some trees, help the planet breathe

Year after year we team up with Plant for the Planet to support reforestation initiatives and raise awareness around the global climate emergency. Money collected from attendees’ donations and merch sold has resulted in thousands of new trees. Last year, donations went to the Planting for Doñana reforestation project. Doñana is one of Spain’s most emblematic biodiversity hot spots, and one of the most important protected natural areas in Europe.

In parallel, all CO2 emissions generated by the event are offset by buying Verified Emission Reduction Carbon Credits for sustainable projects. Attendees are given the option to do the same with the emissions linked to their journey and their stay in Barcelona. Last year, 203.97 tons of CO2 were offset.

Full accessibility ensured

Electric scooters are available for people with reduced mobility, as well as reserved spaces for wheelchairs or electric scooters in the food courts and in the audience of all Congress rooms.

We’ve also partnered up with Navilens to implement an accessibility and guidance system for the visually impaired. Labels are set on fixed venue elements which, through an app installed on a mobile phone, provide visitors with voice instructions.

Room for
all beliefs

When it’s time to eat, nobody will go hungry. Our food stalls offer a variety of lunch menus with veggie/vegan, halal and kosher options. And what about food that’s not eaten? We strive to avoid food waste by donating retrieved food to the NGO Nutrition Without Borders, which is distributed by community kitchens.

In addition, dedicated prayer rooms adapted to all needs are available in the venue.

A congress empowering diversity

Every year, we shape a diverse multidisciplinary lineup of speakers from different backgrounds and geographies. Equal gender representation is assured within a 600+ speaker roster. Also, an information and support point for gender safety is located at the entrance of the venue.

Last but not least, our conference program includes specific sessions about gender inclusivity, equality, accessibility, barrier-free design, and green urbanism. Key topics for making cities – and events – a better place for all. By celebrating the event’s diversity, we can become a positive force of inclusion and look to drive social change.

Working together, a positive impact will spread within the 3-day event and far beyond.

Stay tuned!

Tell us what interests you and be the first to hear about #SCEWC24