Sydney Accelerates Positive Change Across the City

A Sponsored Message From BESydney

Author: Casey Gale       

Sydney Opera House in Sydney Harbour

The Sydney Opera House, located in stunning Sydney Harbour, has a carbon neutral certification.

The pandemic has continuously created hurdles for destinations and the meetings industry to overcome. But Sydney, known for its stunning offerings both natural and man-made — from the miles of harbor and ocean views to the iconic Sydney Opera House — seized on the pause on visitors as an opportunity to make significant and sustainable upgrades throughout the city.

Lyn Lewis-Smith headshot

Lyn Lewis-Smith

“While these projects were designed to create jobs and keep money flowing through the economy, the acceleration meant we now have some really exciting developments to share with the world now our borders are open,” Lyn Lewis-Smith, CEO of Business Events Sydney (BESydney), told Convene via email.

Increased mobility to and throughout Sydney became a focal point during the pandemic, according to Lewis-Smith, specifically ways to make it easier for locals and visitors alike to explore all Sydney has to offer. The new CBD and South East Light Rail has transformed public transportation in the heart of the city, running along 19 stops with service every few minutes, seven days a week. A new greenfield 24-hour international airport in Western Sydney is also underway, Lewis-Smith said.

“The Nancy Bird International Airport will be surrounded by an entirely new city innovation district called the Western Sydney Aerotropolis that will grow and evolve over the next 30 years,” she said, “to become a cyber-secure, hydrogen-ready, Indo-Pacific hub for advanced manufacturing, aerospace and defence, agribusiness and pharma, freight and logistics, health and education.” The Aerotropolis is one of three innovation districts under development in collaboration with industry and academia to build on Sydney’s global strength areas, including technology and medical advancements.

A Climate 40 city, Sydney is also “determined to forge its own pathway” when it comes to sustainability, Lewis-Smith said. Sydney was an early signatory to the Global Destination Sustainability Index, and the collaboration between BESydney and the City of Sydney — the Sustainable Destination Partnership — yielded a strategy for a 70-percent reduction in carbon emissions, as well as diverting 90 percent of its waste by 2030. Individual venues and businesses have also committed to sustainable practices — the heritage-listed Sydney Opera House obtained a carbon neutral certification, while Sydney Airport is on pace to be carbon neutral by 2025. These developments, along with ICC Sydney’s robust client Legacy Program that helps meetings contribute to the intellectual, social, and cultural capital of Sydney, have encouraged more clients to include environmental and social governance in their RFPs, Lewis-Smith said. “These are moves that will shift the dial, and we’ll see more and more destinations developing innovative and localized responses to demonstrate their commitment to this global necessity.”

As an intricately connected and culturally vibrant global city, Sydney has a deep “beating business heart and unique world view,” Lewis-Smith said, “that offers a remarkable opportunity for the discerning business events planner looking to create impact.”

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