Q&A: Bastian Mingers, director of ProWein
Trade fair ProWein has once again pledged its support for our annual Green Awards. We caught up with Bastian Mingers, director of ProWein, to find out why sustainability is so important for the drinks industry.
Why does ProWein continue to support our Green Awards?
Even though the topic of coronavirus currently dominates many areas, climate change still plays an important role in the wine and spirits industry. Rising temperatures, drought and extreme weather prove both an opportunity and a challenge for wine growers around the globe.
And that’s not forgetting such aspects as energy efficiency and resource-saving processes, which play a pivotal role for efficient operations. Therefore, we have extended our commitment and included two more trade fairs from our portfolio in support of the db Green Awards: Energy Storage Europe is the leading trade fair for the global energy storage industry, with a focus on energy-storage system applications and industrial decarbonisation, as well as EuroCIS, Europe’s leading trade fair for retail technology. Both trade fairs will take place from 16 to 18 March 2021, almost simultaneously with ProWein.
This co-operation leverages synergies in the areas of energy efficiency and the reduction of greenhouse gases in retail. For ProWein, as a trade fair for agricultural products, saving the environment and the climate has always been a top priority.
The approach to highlight the ‘green heroes’ on a yearly basis is super important. With the drinks business being top notch in the wine and drinks media, this award generates the needed awareness of climate protection and ecological topics.
What are the greatest challenges for producers and ProWein exhibitors trying to reduce their carbon footprint?
Effective irrigation, the development of new and cooler wine-growing areas or the cultivation of other, probably non-autochthonous grape varieties are definitely crucial issues for wine growers. Distributors, in turn, have to sound out to what extent higher production costs can be asserted on the demand side. Our ProWein Business Report 2019 looked at these aspects, in particular, and could definitely provide assistance for coping with climate change in the wine industry. And it will, of course, be exciting to learn at the forthcoming ProWein, in March 2021, how vintners, importers/exporters and dealers are already responding to this major theme for the coming decades.
What has Messe Düsseldorf done to limit its own impact on the environment?
For Messe Düsseldorf it is growing increasingly important to take a social, economic and ecological stance. Commitment to sustainability is in demand and called for by our customers – by both exhibitors and visitors. We operate a strategic energy-management system in accordance with the international ISO standard 50001, doing our utmost to reach a positive carbon footprint. As a result of the various measures undertaken to reduce electricity and heating energy consumption, Messe Düsseldorf saves 5,000 tons of CO2 annually. This corresponds to annual electricity consumption of 2,300 households.
And we also have effective and clean-grade waste management by our recycling partner, Remondis.
Food service plays an equally important role. Our two major partners, Stockheim and SV Group, are quite advanced in this respect, having used sustainable, compostable packaging since 2018. The third food-service partner operating on the premises also changed over to plastic-free tableware in 2019.
How have things been for the company during lockdown?
After ProWein had to be postponed in March 2020, all activities came to a standstill. Messe Dusseldorf was closed for company holidays during Easter and then went into short-time working. Our first trade fair in times of corona was the Caravan Salon – the world’s most important trade fair for caravanning. The fair took place on site in Düsseldorf at the beginning of September. With 107,000 visitors, the Caravan Salon sends an important signal for the entire trade fair industry in Germany and Europe. The trade fair was a success, with its well thought-out hygiene and infection-protection concept. This autumn we are planning several digital trade fairs, as well as a hybrid event. Planning for next March’s ProWein is already in full swing. The response to ProWine in Shanghai in November 2020 has also been very positive.
What kind of green-focused initiatives do you have planned for ProWein 2021?
The issue will certainly continue to occupy us. We will again be giving the topic of organic wine a lot of space at ProWein itself, and will continue to support such great initiatives as the Green Awards. We take care to use more efficient glass cleaning, to reduce non-reusable stand construction, and to reduce energy waste and waste water by centralising consumption and distribution. In addition, we will reduce paper waste by only producing online ticketing and online exhibitor passes.