Sustainability has now acquired a permanent place on the agenda of many meeting organisers. Many companies have CSR policies or have already fully anchored it in their operations. They want to see this policy reflected in their meetings and events. The great challenge for the meeting planner is to put this into practice.
Sustainability has landed permanently in Holland, and most agencies and suppliers are well equipped to help you have a green conference or meeting. An important factor is the transportation of goods and delegates. Travelling to and from your meeting destination creates a lot of CO2 emission and it is very important to make an effort to reduce the footprint as much as possible. Holland offers great ways to prevent, reduce or offset your conference footprint when it comes to transportation.
Traditionally, our country offers many "sustainable" forms of transport for participants and materials. An overview of opportunities and initiatives:
Take the train
Holland has an excellent railroad system, connecting every corner of the country, and offering fast and convenient high-speed connections to major destinations in Europe. Many cities are faster and more easily accessible by train than by plane. Moreover, windmills will provide the train stations’ electricity required in the near future.
City public transport
A dense public transport network with buses, trams and metro systems in the major cities, makes it easy to travel through the cities. The city of Groningen, for example, offers free public transport to all conference delegates. In most cities. the majority of city buses now run on hydrogen, bio-fuel or electricity.
The power of man
Because many Dutch inner cities are so compact, they are an ideal setting for all forms of people-powered transport. From hiking to biking, from water bike to bike taxi. Zero emissions and definitely a fast alternative in crowded inner cities!
More and more vehicles use electricity and are ideal as a means of transport for excursions. Whether you step on the Segway or a special e-scooter or e-bike, they are easy to deploy for small and large groups and guarantee a unique experience.
Not just a car
Holland strongly promotes electric and hybrid transportation. More and more cars use electricity as their main or secondary power source, and many hotels and conference venues have special charging stations for guests. In addition, car-sharing programmes are increasingly more popular.
Clean canal boat
One of Amsterdam's canal boat operators is already recycling the water emission, and boats run on bio-fuel. It will not be long before the first electrical boat will travel through the Amsterdam canals.
Pick your green taxi
Several cities offer fully electrical or hybrid taxis, while most have their taxis already run on bio-fuel or natural gas. Small shuttle buses and passenger vans are very popular, and it is becoming more and more difficult to spot one that is not running on bio-fuel or even entirely CO2 free.
Responsible transportation of congress materials
Where most couriers have their vans run on natural gas or bio-fuel, Holland is home to a courier service that is the ultimate CSR –example. Valid Express is a courier service run entirely by disabled and chronically ill people. Their cars run on bio-fuel and all remaining CO2 is offset. Another great example is the city of Utrecht, where a number of electrical initiatives were launched, such as the CargoHopper, that replaces large transport vehicles by small electric city transportation, thereby drastically reducing emissions and traffic congestion, and the Bierboot (beer boat), an electric boat that supplies hotels and restaurants from the canals).
Flying on cooking oil
The Dutch are quite innovative when it comes to sustainability and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines now operates several flights on bio-kerosene, a blend of used cooking oil and jet fuel.
The future: Super Bus is ready to be launched
Another Dutch initiative in sustainability is promoted by former astronaut Dr Wubbo Ockels. It is called Super Bus and, according to the people that built it, it will revolutionize public transport. The Super Bus can reach a speed of 250 kilometres per hour, and is fully electric. According to its makers, the Super Bus is interesting for metropolitan areas that do not want to invest a lot of money in railway infrastructure for hi-speed trains. It combines the speed of high speed trains with the flexibility of road transport.