Geneva, Switzerland

Organisation: Geneva Convention Bureau 
Contact: Laura Alonso Huarte
Year: 2017

GDS-Index Category Breakdown

Category Total
Environmental Performance 66%
Social Performance 75%
Supplier Performance 63%
Destination Management Performance 29%

Destination Highlights

Hectares of green area per 100 000 population


Geneva hosted the Bruntland commission, which came up with the definition of "sustainable development" in 1987. Since 2001, Geneva has been the first canton in Switzerland adopting a policy for sustainable development. Its 50 parks make it one of the greenest destinations in Europe. Many people describe Geneva as the “smallest of the biggest capitals”. Everything is nearby and at walking distance. Despite its small size, 1/3 of the total surface is preserved as agricultural area. Geneva takes 80% of its drinking water from Lake Geneva and 20% from water tables. This water is used both as drinking water and to meet domestic, farming, industrial and hospital needs. SIG (Service Industriel de genève) provides 100% renewable energy in Geneva. Holder of the European Energy Award since 2014, Geneva has been awarded for its commitment for a future based on sustainable energy.

Energy sourced from renewables
City traffic congestion level
Waste sent to landfill

Geneva is ranked 8th in terms of quality of life by the latest Mercer report. Discover a city where Human Rights are a long-lasting tradition. Famously known as the “Capital of Peace”, the city is the European seat of the UN and the headquarters of the Red Cross. Many other International Organisations also have their headquarters located in Geneva. In 2014, the total population in Geneva was of 482'545 inhabitants. At that time, there was 309'857 full time job in the canton. Between 2000 and 2010, lodging increase by 24% in Geneva compared to 51% increase in population. Geneva is also part of the area called "Grand Genève", which includes territories in France and Switzerland (canton of Geneva & Vaud). Since 1990, the population of this area grew of 37% and nearly 451'000 new jobs were created. 66,1% of these employments are concentrated in Geneva.

Corruption Perception ranking
World Bank Inequality Index Score (Lower score represents lower inequality)
Gender Inequality Index ranking

Most Secretariats of international conventions in the field of environmental protection are based in Geneva, ensuring close collaboration and coordination of activities around global issues affecting the world (WMO, UNEP, IRENA). Many stakeholders are committed to improve sustainability programs and are involved in different labels such as GRTA for restaurants (using locally grown products) or ISO for hotels. Furthermore, free public transportation is offered to any guest staying in a hotel during the entire duration of the stay. Geneva International Airport is a great benefit for holding a congress in Geneva. Located only 6 minutes by train from the city centre, it offers direct flights to more than 140 destinations and is a hub to Europe's main low-cost carrier. At the airport, visitors can retrieve a 80 minutes ticket for a free bus or train ride in Geneva. In addition, more than 570 trains transit daily through Geneva, including high-speed connections to European cities.

City's hotels easily accessible by public transport to/from congress and exhibition centres
PCOs and DMCs have a written sustainability policy
Exhibition centres have sustainability certification

Being a pioneer city regarding the GDSI would be a first official step for the Convention Bureau to be recognised as a sustainable destination worldwide. In 2014, the Geneva Convention Bureau established Geneva Meets Green, a programme including a Green daily delagate rate (DDR). A selection of hotel partners attributes a donation of 1 CHF per delegate within their regular DDR to a local association “Association pour la Sauvegarde du Léman” (Lake Geneva Conservation Society), which aims at preserving the lake Geneva water quality. Now the Geneva Convention Bureau wishes to extend its green actions and sensitize its local partners to do so. It has set up a sustainability manager and is working in close collaborations with the local authorities of Geneva.

Yes No
Has the CVB established and is implementing a destination sustainability strategy?
Does the destination regularly measure and report on sustainable destination progress?
Does the CVB support or lead local sustainability training for cities MICE industry?
Does the CVB support or local authorities provide incentives or funding for organisations wanting to gain sustainability certification or issue a sustainability reports
Does the CVB provide free or subsidized public transport passes for major conventions?
Does CVB/DMO provide clients with ideas and resources to support the local community?

Blog Articles

Other Destination Rankings for 2017