By Begoña Puigmoltó
Feria Valencia is aware that sustainability must be a priority that governs its strategy and actions, and it maintains a strong commitment in this area in order to contribute to social, economic and environmental progress.
Below are the different actions taken by Feria Valencia to this end, based on the implementation of various practices that help to identify the impact that its activity has on its surroundings and on its different stakeholders, including its Clients, Employees, Suppliers, Administration (GVA and City Council), Institutions and Associations, Civil Society and Citizens.
These actions have been classified according to the different fundamental areas related to social responsibility. Likewise, each of these areas has been aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.
An organisation’s decisions and activities generate an impact on the environment associated with its use of resources, the location of its activities, the generation of pollution and waste and the impact of the organisation’s activities on natural habitats.
Thus, for years, Feria Valencia has been implementing specific policies aimed at improving the environmental impact of its activity, such as energy saving systems through the installation of LED lights, the management of the wastes generated by its trade fair activity, minimising the use of paper, the digitalisation of its processes, and so forth.
In this regard, the main actions related to this area during 2021 are listed below, by way of non-exhaustive examples:
- Measures to minimise and optimise electricity consumption throughout the exhibition centre.
- In 2009, an Electricity Consumption Optimisation Plan was implemented in which different parameters are periodically measured, such as:
- Study of the lighting levels required in halls and their adaptation.
- Correction of lighting in unused rooms and premises by means of our own surveillance circuits.
- Modification of lighting circuits to create more sectors, thus making available more lighting options between minimum and maximum.
- Regular replacement of conventional lamps with energy-efficient lamps.
- By 2021, 13,000 energy-efficient light points have been commissioned throughout the exhibition grounds through:
- New electronic starters
- Replacing conventional fluorescent tubes with LCDs
- Priority use of LED lighting and energy-saving lamps to replace conventional downlights and other inefficient systems.
- Change of bollard lights in Plaza Ajardinada from 50 watt dichroic lamps to 3 watt LEDs.
- Reduction in the level of lighting (previously excessive) on the outer perimeter of Level 1.
- Replacement of 1300 78 watt stairwell evacuation lights with 3 watt LEDs.
- Replacement of the surveillance lights in the car parks and halls by replacing 3000 fluorescent tubes with electromagnetic starters with new direct connection LCD tubes.
- The Feria Valencia management centre constantly monitors electricity and the site uses electricity from 100% renewable energies and natural gas as a resource.
- Feria Valencia has 5 electric vehicles that are used daily by security, maintenance and cleaning staff to move around the site; in addition, in 2021 it installed 8 new electric vehicle charging points, through an agreement with Iberdrola, which are available for visitors and employees.
- The setpoint temperature in the air conditioning systems of the offices and halls is controlled and limited centrally.
- Feria Valencia is also committed to the progressive reduction in the use of paper in all its procedures through the digitalisation of many of the usual internal and external processes, such as:
- Elimination of Press Dossiers and Maps. Use of QR codes that digitise all this information.
- Implementation of an app that digitalises the relationship with exhibitors and visitors.
- Installation of double screens in the workstations that require it, to avoid operational printing, and when using paper is unavoidable, Feria Valencia is committed to the use of recycled paper, as well as environmentally friendly inks.
- Use of sustainable materials in fair and event set-ups. Through its suppliers, Feria Valencia promotes the use of recyclable materials such as wood and chipboard in its installations and stands. It also promotes the reuse of its decorations for different fairs and events.
- Certified waste treatment management. Feria Valencia has a certified procedure for the subsequent collection and recovery of this waste by an authorised waste treatment manager. It also has an exclusive and separate area for the reception, recovery and management of solid waste from the dismantling of stands and decorations at trade fairs. Separate collection of this waste. All these procedures are subject to the regulations set out in Law 10/2000, of 12 December 2000, on Waste in the Valencian Community.
- Finally, it should be noted that Feria Valencia’s commitment to the environment and sustainability is also reflected through the promotion and organisation of two of the leading trade fairs in this field:
- Ecofira, International Trade Fair for Environmental Solutions and Ecological Transition
- Efiaqua, Fair for the Digitalisation and Decarbonisation of Water
Practices in-line with SDG 7 · 9 · 12 · 13
The full and effective participation and inclusion of all groups in society, including vulnerable groups, offers and increases opportunities for all organisations and individuals concerned.
- Feria Valencia is committed to the General Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and their Social Inclusion (LGD).
- In terms of equality, currently, 46% of the staff at Feria Valencia are women, who carry out their jobs in conditions of full equality and competition with their male colleagues.
- Practices in-line with SDG 5 · 10
These practices are summarised in the various policies and practices related to work performed within, by or on behalf of the organisation, including outsourced work.
- Work-life balance
Feria Valencia aims to promote the work-life balance of its employees, offering flexibility in starting times, as long as each employee completes their hours in accordance with the employee agreement, as well as paid leave that helps to reconcile work and personal life.
Along these lines, during the months of July and August, Feria Valencia offers employees the possibility of working intensive hours.
Likewise, Feria Valencia tries to allow its employees to choose their holidays, coordinating as a team to meet the obligations set down by the calendar, but always aiming to favour the work-life balance of its employees as much as possible.
- Protocols during COVID-19
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Feria Valencia set up procedures to enable employees to work from home and balance their work-life commitments.
During the months with the highest incidence of the pandemic, the Institution allowed employees with children in confinement to work from home, thus ensuring they were able to continue to look after them.
- Continuous training
Feria Valencia’s strategy includes the continuous training of its employees.
In this way and during the pandemic, Feria Valencia continued to provide online training to employees, focusing in 2021 on issues related to communication, creativity and social media.
- Practices in-line with SDG 3 · 4 · 8
ACTIVE PARTICIPATION AND COMMUNITY
Active participation and community development are integral parts of sustainable development.
- Feria Valencia receives more than 450,000 visitors every year through the nearly 70 fairs and events it organises every year. All of this causes a constant flow into and out of the exhibition site. In this area, Feria Valencia is committed to public transport in the field of sustainable mobility in order to minimise the impact of this activity on the environment, especially as far as private vehicles are concerned. To this end, Feria Valencia has:
- Direct connection to the urban public transport network right at the entrance to the exhibition site:
- EMT Line 62 stop
- Tram stop Line 4 Feria Valencia
- Various taxi ranks At large fairs, Feria Valencia sets up the side of Hall 7 as a continuous taxi drop-off and pick-up circuit
- Shuttle buses between Joaquín Sorolla AVE station and the exhibition site, when required, to optimise visitor arrivals, as well as coaches to transfer groups of guests to/from hotels.
- Feria Valencia’s activities have a powerful, decisive and fundamental impact on the economic and social development of the Valencia Region. In 2021, the governing bodies of Feria Valencia were presented with the findings of the study that the Valencian Institute of Economic Research had carried out, based on data for 2019, to measure the impact of Feria Valencia’s activity on the economy of the autonomous region, and which, specifically, estimated that:
- Feria Valencia accounted for 0.63% of GDP (€660.5 million) and 0.66% of employment in the region (13,289 jobs) in 2019.
- The fiscal impact of Feria Valencia in 2019 was 273.2 million euros, distributed between VAT, social security contributions, corporate tax and personal income tax.
- Feria Valencia’s commitment to its environment and society in general. As an Institution and through many of its events, Feria Valencia carries out various social actions, including the following in 2021:
- FV Material logistics warehouse for Associations involved with vulnerable groups:
Feria Valencia collaborates with the “Sumando Contigo” movement promoted by the Institution’s staff, providing a space for the logistics related to donations aimed at different local Associations involved with the most needy; collecting material and regrouping it according to the profile and needs of the associations with which it collaborates:
- Asociación Invisibles (care for the homeless).
- Mensajeros de la Paz (improving opportunities for the most needy).
- Ca La Mare Association (vulnerable groups).
- Hogar Infantil Santa Ana (care for minors).
- Fundación Ayuda Una Familia (support for families at risk of social exclusion).
- Fundación Pequeño Deseo -Valencia branch-.
Since 2018, Feria Valencia has been hosting the headquarters of the Fundación Pequeño Deseo in Valencia.
- Expojove fair tickets and rides for minors in the Centros Acogida (Shelter Centres).
Through the “Sumando Contigo” movement, since 2018 Feria Valencia has given tickets to attend Expojove and tickets for rides and attractions for children from different centres.
Unfortunately, the delicate situation due to COVID in December 2021 forced the cancellation of Expojove 2021.
- The Gastrónoma event offers a stand to the Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid (CEAR) where they give visibility to the organisation and collect profits from the direct sale of products they make at the fair itself.
- The Gastrónoma event carried out a direct action to help La Palma after the eruption of the volcano.
- Cold Campaign
The employees of Feria Valencia make a collection to buy sleeping bags during the cold season for people sleeping rough on the streets.
- Practices in-line with SDG 1 · 10 · 11
- Feria Valencia, health logistics warehouse to fight against COVID-19
Faced with the health crisis unleashed by the COVID-19 virus, in May 2020 Feria Valencia made its facilities available to the regional and local administration.
Specifically, Feria Valencia’s Halls 7 and 8, with a surface area of more than 20,000 square metres, were used as a warehouse for the reception of all the health materials arriving directly from GVA and donations from companies and individuals.
Masks, respirators, health tests, etc. All the materials destined to fight against the pandemic and to restore the health of the thousands of people affected, dispatched from Feria Valencia to Valencian health centres.
With this action, Feria Valencia reconfirms its commitment to Valencian society, a mission that complements its role as a driving force for the Valencian economy and a commercial platform for the region’s economic fabric.
The project ‘Generation and Development of the COVID Feria València Logistics Platform’ received the Health Logistics 2021 prize, which was awarded to the GVA by the Spanish Logistics Centre (CEL) for its management of the materials used to combat COVID-19 in the warehouse at Feria Valencia.
Feria Valencia has continued with this work in 2021 and will continue to do so for as long as the authorities deem appropriate in order to, together, continue to tackle COVID-19.
- Feria Valencia stored the Las Fallas statues from 2020 for more than a year.
Since the beginning of the health crisis caused by COVID 19, Feria Valencia has placed its facilities at the service of Valencian society.
As a result of this collaboration, from the middle of March 2020, the Las Fallas statues that were already present in the streets of the city waiting to be burnt on 19 March, and others that were in the workshops of Fallas artists or rented warehouses, were mostly moved to Feria Valencia’s facilities to await the celebration of the city of Valencia’s main city-wide festival, which had to be postponed until 2021, and was held for the first time in its history in September of that year.
With this action, Feria Valencia reinforces its links with the city of Valencia, something that complements the promotion and internationalisation of the productive fabric of the Valencian Community, without forgetting the economic impact that its activity has on the city of Valencia itself.
- Practices in-line with SDG 3 · 10 · 11
Feria Valencia is aware that, due to its activity and uniqueness, it generates a significant impact on society. In this context, it has initiated a diagnosis that allows it to understand and contrast its performance in the different dimensions, social, environmental and economic, while defining and proposing specific actions that will undoubtedly shape Feria Valencia’s strategy in the coming years to make it the benchmark in sustainability in its sector.