Navigating sustainably into the future

For many years now, NürnbergMesse has been committed to using resources responsibility, ensuring equal opportunity, and expanding its venue sustainably. In 2021, it anchored these many different initiatives and projects in a sustainability strategy, setting goals for the future.

Pointing the way: Our Sustainability Compass

To work out just where NürnbergMesse is situated in matters of sustainability, what projects are already getting results, and where there is still potential for improvement, a cross-functional sustainability team analysed the results of current initiatives and set goals. The result was the Sustainability Compass – a signpost pointing the way towards a wholly sustainable exhibitions company.

The first step was an all-inclusive strategic analysis. Where are the areas where the company should act, in-house and outside? On that basis, ten areas for action in sustainability that are significant for NürnbergMesse were identified and their relevance to the company was defined in a materiality matrix.

Our ten areas for action in sustainability:

  • Customer focus and customer inspiration are among the most important pillars of our sustainability strategy. Treating clients fairly and as partners is fundamental for NürnbergMesse.

  • Employees are the key to NürnbergMesse’s success as a company. Employee performance and dedication are major contributors towards NürnbergMesse’s success story.

  • NürnbergMesse believes that the way it holds events offers special potential for helping to protect the climate and the environment. That is why it is steadily expanding its efforts to make its trade fairs and other events more sustainable.

  • Treating the natural environment responsibly is fundamental at NürnbergMesse. The Company is well aware of its great ecological responsibility, and meets that requirement with a comprehensive system for environmental and energy management.

  • NürnbergMesse is certain that personal dialogue and a direct, in-person experience will remain the heart of trade fair events in the future – but that digital formats can also significantly enrich any event.

  • Trade fairs are platforms where attendees from all over the world can talk shop. Many of NürnbergMesse’s trade fair formats provide an important showcase for sustainability.

  • NürnbergMesse is an important economic engine in the Nuremberg Metropolitan Region and makes a positive contribution towards its region’s socioeconomic development.

  • Advancing digitalisation in every aspect of the company means that data protection and IT security are an important component of corporate responsibility.

  • Complying with applicable law at all times and acting in line with our values are foundational for NürnbergMesse’s business operations.

  • As a matter of corporate social responsibility, NürnbergMesse supports its employees’ volunteer activities.

A conversation

On the path to a sustainable trade fair

An interview with Prof. Dr Matthias S. Fifka, Director of the Institute of Economics and Professor of Business Administration, and an expert in the strategic implementation of sustainability and corporate social responsibility

Prof. Dr Matthias S. Fifka
Picture credit: Marek Matustik

The environment and

climate change


One year ago, you and NürnbergMesse set out to develop a sustainability strategy. What was the situation you found at the time?

NürnbergMesse had already done a good deal for sustainability by then: but the individual activities and steps still had no overall structure. That is always a challenge anyway, because the subject is so diverse. But the management was already doing something about it, and the employees absolutely want to be included in developing the strategy.

What are the most important steps you have taken since then?

The first thing we did was set up a sustainability team with members from all segments of the company. That cross-functional composition is important – first of all because sustainability affects every unit at a company. But also because it makes coordination and collaboration a lot easier. Then we took stock in several areas and conducted a strategic analysis. What’s already in place? What are the strong points and weak points in terms of sustainability? And what risks and opportunities does the subject offer for NürnbergMesse?



What were the special challenges for a trade fair company?

Holding a trade fair depends of course on many different players, and you don’t have unlimited influence over them. That raises some challenging questions. How much can I expect from an exhibitor, for instance, in terms of what materials they use for their booth? How much influence do I have over the products or services they exhibit?

What’s the role of the carbon footprint in all that?

It’s a very big one! Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century, and accordingly it’s attracting lots of attention from policymakers and the general public. Things aren’t going to work unless we can cut emissions. There’s a lot of potential here in the way that events are held in big halls, and also because of the travel activity associated with attending an event. NürnbergMesse has already sent a worldwide signal right here with Halls 3A and 3C, which are energy masterpieces. We need to keep moving ahead along the same lines.

Trade fairs give people a way to meet up with large numbers of current and potential business partners all in one place. Imagine meetings all those people individually – you’d have 40 times as much travel activity. And of course there are also digital options, and NürnbergMesse is taking advantage of those, for instance with hybrid formats.



What are the next goals the sustainability team has taken on? What’s coming up?

What we need to do now is keep up the momentum we’ve developed and draw people in even more, both in-house and outside. The first step will be to include the international subsidiaries more completely. We also want to expand the stakeholder dialogue in order to acquire outside perspectives more systematically and identify the main areas for action. That will open the way for an even more comprehensive integration with corporate strategy.

And finally, another major goal is to really spotlight the subject at events. After all, what better platform for sustainability could you want than NürnbergMesse’s many international trade fairs?

“A management that’s doing something about sustainability, and employees who absolutely want to be a part of that.”

Prof. Dr Matthias S. Fifka