Sustainability at heart of BestCities forum

CARBON EMISSIONS generated by a forum in Melbourne attended by representatives from conference cities have been offset thanks to a partnership with Trees4Events.

The sustainability tool from Trees4Events calculated and offset 149 tonnes of carbon emissions generated by flights, use of transport, catering, venues and other sources. 

The Lume digital-art gallery at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

Delegates at the BestCities Global Alliance’s Global Forum also helped raise US$2,500 for OzHarvest, a food-rescue organisation.

Other projects to offset emissions generated by the Global Forum’s gathering included UN carbon credits being invested in renewable energy and the planting of 967 trees.

BestCities Global Alliance consists of 13 destinations that host association conferences. The annual Global Forum is attended by officials from the alliance’s member cities, international association leaders, trade media and conference speakers. The 2024 event was held at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in January and supported by the city’s convention bureau; the forum moves to Dublin next year. 

“Our alliance offers unparalleled support in sustainability, legacy and impact, ensuring events achieve success while leaving a positive mark,” said Loren Christie, managing director of BestCities Global Alliance. 

“Together with our partners, we help associations streamline the planning process, access relevant resources, and gain essential educational insights.”

The four-day event featured an education program with speakers including:

  • Mark McCrindle, social researcher and futurist, who discussed five demographic trends that are changing associations; 
  • Belinda Moore, consultant on association strategy and membership, who leveraged new research to demonstrate how associations can advance their purpose and provide value to members; 
  • Mike van der Vijver, co-founder of, who discussed the added value of well-designed programs for meetings and events;
  • Olena Lima, digital marketing expert, who shared how digital trends such as AI tools can benefit professional associations; and
  • Natalie Simmons, global business consultant, who hosted a team building activity aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Julia Swanson, Melbourne Convention Bureau chief executive, said: “The curated program at Global Forum Melbourne was designed to facilitate peer-to-peer connections between associations and engagement with convention bureaux to establish enduring strategic partnerships beyond mere transactions.

“Our ambition is to cultivate a community where mutual learning drives the success of business events. The Global Forum was a terrific opportunity to also showcase how our city’s exciting events calendar, state-of-the-art infrastructure and world-class supply chain can enhance conference and meeting offerings.”

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Delegates also experienced Cargo Hall by Showtime Event Group, a reimagined former docking shed with a nod to its maritime past; and the Marvel Stadium.

Social programs included a tour of THE LUME Melbourne digital art gallery; a dinner starting at rooftop bar Madame Brussels and a reception at the Langham Melbourne, followed by a boat ride to the Australian Open for evening matches at Melbourne & Olympic Parks’ Rod Laver Arena.

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