GLASGOW is the only UK city to be included in a new sustainability ranking of leading international conference destinations – an achievement that is expected to give it a competitive advantage in securing major events.

The Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index), initiated by the Scandinavian Chapter of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) in collaboration with professional conference organiser MCI Group, is geared towards driving the growth of sustainable meetings destinations worldwide.

It brings conference destinations together to benchmark and improve the social and environmental performance of the cities themselves and their business events industry.

Evaluation criteria cover city environmental strategy and infrastructure, social sustainability performance, industry supplier support in relation to restaurants, hotels and convention centres, and convention bureau strategy and initiatives.

Glasgow’s inclusion in the index was announced yesterday by Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, which noted it was the only UK city to be included.

The GCMB said that, over the next two years, Glasgow would host 20 energy, sustainability and low carbon industry-related conferences, which are expected to deliver nearly 60,000 visiting delegate days and boost the city’s economy by more than £23 million.

Kathleen Warden, director of conference sales at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, said: “We welcome this very important initiative. This recognition and ranking as the only city in the UK on the GDS-Index amongst leading international conference destinations will undoubtedly put Glasgow at a competitive advantage and underlines the city’s appeal as a world-class sustainable events location.”

Councillor Frank McAveety, leader of Glasgow City Council and GCMB chairman, said: “From the installation of ‘smart’ LED streetlights and significant investment in low-carbon travel options to the creation of renewable energy schemes and green jobs, we are committed to improving quality of life for our communities, protecting our environment and developing a green economy with sustainability at the top of the agenda.”