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Sustainable Meetings & Events

From electronic application forms to virtual conference apps – "green" meetings and events don’t only protect our environment, they’re also good for the image and leave a lasting impression on the participants.

An aerial view of the city of Bern shows the dense development, the Aare meandering through the city, surrounded by green spaces and the Alpine panorama in the background.

Instead of causing huge piles of garbage and long traffic jams, events nowadays strive toward energy efficiency, avoiding waste and an environmentally friendly journey to and from the event. So-called "green meetings and events" are highly popular in the tourism sector, because sustainable events contribute to the protection of the environment, support regional supply chains, take social responsibility, and leave a good impression on the community, guests, customers and sponsors. Bern Welcome is committed to a sustainable tourism sector in Bern and its surroundings and actively promotes sustainable change.

Bern: the Ideal Location for Sustainable Events

If you are planning a "green meeting" or a «green event», looking for a keynote speaker specialized in sustainability or want to organize a climate-friendly team event, Bern is the perfect place – here’s why.

Did you know that, when it comes to sustainability, little Switzerland is often at the forefront? This is demonstrated, for example, by the international study "Environmental Performance Index" (EPI for short), which compares the environmental performance of countries and companies and creates a quantitative scorecard: Switzerland always ranks in the top 10.

Bern – Actively Sustainable

Regional resources, barely any waste, high efficiency. What sounds like a dream is clean reality in Bern. For years, the city has been committed to a sustainable use of energies and resources, which is why, in the year 2019, the city was awarded the label "European Energy Award Gold" for its commitment to a sustainable energy policy for the future. Furthermore, Bern has been carrying the title «Fair Trade Town» since 2017, and the city intends to continue playing a leading role as a growing, creative, green, open-minded and social city in Switzerland.

Energy and Environment

Topics related to energy and the environment are part of the most important economical and scientific clusters in the greater Bern area.

Virtual and hybrid events

In the age of globalisation and in a world that is increasingly aware that sustainability has not only an ecological and social but also an economic component, virtual and hybrid meetings and events are becoming more and more common. Although they cannot completely replace face-to-face meetings, they can come close if they are done right.

Swiss Champion – in 2019, that title didn’t only go to Bern’s soccer and ice hockey team: the federal city can also call itself "Energiestadt-Meister", Energy Champion. With 87.2 out of 100 possible points, Bern scored the highest ever rating for an Energy City in Switzerland. In the last eight years, the city was able to lower its emissions by about one tonne of CO2 to five tonnes per capita. And regarding heat supply, the emissions have been reduced by an impressive 28 % since 2008.

Projects and awareness-raising measures

The City of Bern is committed to sustainable development with the following projects and awareness-raising measures:

  • Climate platform of the economy

    A co-operation between the administration and private companies with the aim of contributing to the reduction of pollutant emissions.

  • Environmental Award

    As part of the City of Bern’s environmental management and sustainable procurement programme, an environmental prize is awarded every two years.

  • Bern Energy Prize

    It honours companies that are strongly committed to energy efficiency and renewable energies.

  • Bernese Social Star

    The Social Star is awarded to companies that are particularly committed to helping people with mental disabilities.

  • Cycling in Bern

    With the bicycle offensive, Bern is steering traffic towards bicycles. Ideal for a lively and attractive city. The aim is to double the proportion of total traffic travelling by bike by 2030.

  • Bern Environment Day

    The Bern Environment Days offer a platform for all those who are committed to a more sustainable future with their campaigns and projects.

Sustainability at the University of Bern

“Sustainability is, on all levels, a trademark of the University of Bern. With its cutting-edge international research, the University of Bern wants to make a concrete contribution to the sustainable development of society”, said principal Christian Leumann in an interview with the scientific magazine UniPress on 21 February 2020.

The University of Bern is actively committed to sustainable development in research, teaching and business operations and promotes the respectful use of ecological, economic and social resources. Among other things, it conducts excellent disciplinary, inter- and trans-disciplinary research with an international focus on issues such as the climate, responding to global change (north-south relations), and the regulation of world trade.  Topics such as biodiversity and research on resources, particularly water and energy supplies, as well as gender studies are also focal points.

International network: The specialized research centres at the University of Bern that focus on sustainability are well-connected nationally as well as internationally, and their research is held in high esteem internationally.

If you are looking for an interesting keynote speaker for your next congress or a guest speaker that will leave a great lasting impression, you should consider someone from the following research centres at the University of Bern:

If you are interested in a presentation, contact the corresponding centre directly.

Center for Development and Environment

The Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) is a strategic centre at the University of Bern and employs some 100 people from 25 different disciplines. The CDE has an innovative approach to research and teaching in order to be able to spark substantial transformations toward sustainable development. It works on different projects with various partners such as the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) or the foundation Stiftung Risiko-Dialog. By the way: the CDE contributes substantially to the United Nations Global Sustainable Development Reports

Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research

The Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR) is one of the strategic centres of the University of Bern and a centre of excellence for climate change, bringing together scientists from 14 institutes and four faculties that conduct interdisciplinary research at the forefront of climate change studies. At the OCCR, researchers from the fields of economy, political science, history, archaeology, philosophy, physics and medicine all work together. Some of the centre’s members are part of international committees such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC.


A globally leading research and implementation centre in the field of humans and nature is being set up at the University of Bern: the “Wyss Academy for Nature”. On four continents, teams of scientists will join forces with experienced experts and representatives from the fields of politics, economy and society to develop innovations aimed at protecting nature and ensuring the sustainable use thereof. The implementation-oriented applications, strategies and policy guidelines are tested at the centres of the Wyss Academy and then extended to other regions. The different stakeholders cooperate in a novel way: it breaks up the conventional silos of science, nature conservation, international aid and policy making, enabling a quick application and implementation of the scientific findings.

Hotels and Venues

Green is not only the colour of the trees outside the window of the meeting room anymore. Bernese congress, seminar and event venues are proactively switching to a green, environmentally friendly and sustainable approach: from regional products to social responsibility to climate-friendly travelling. Here’s an overview of local service providers that are committed to protecting the environment:

On the roofs of Berne, there is great excitement. Ten queens and some 300,000 bees keep watch on the terrace of the Kursaal Bern. Those staying at the Swissôtel Kursaal Bern can enjoy home-made honey for breakfast and honey ice cream in summer. Once a year, even the bears in the BärenPark have something to cheer about: In spring, when they have finished hibernating, honey from the Kursaal is part of their menu. More information in the video.