Coex is a leading exhibition and convention company in Korea that has integrated an extensive environmental strategy in its business model. The strategy promotes responsible social and environmental values and reduces CO2-emissions through energy savings.
Coex organises large exhibitions and conventions, both in Korea and internationally, and staged the G20 Seoul Summit in 2010. It is owned by the Korean International Trade Association, KITA, and has been acknowledged by the LEED and EarthCheck certification programmes for its environmental efforts.
Woon Gok So, member of Coex’ Sustainable Management Team, presented the company’s environmental activities and achievements at Nordic Innovation and OECD’s Green Business Model Innovation in the Tourism and Experience Economy Conference on May 21.
Real time monitoring of energy consumption
Among the steps Coex has taken towards a more sustainable future is to replace older buildings with large-scale, environmentally friendly facilities and develop its own Building Energy Management System, BeMS.
- We manage a number of very large buildings, including the convention centre, an underground shopping mall - the Coex Centre - and two office buildings. We urgently needed to manage our energy use, which is why we started developing BeMS, says Woon Gok So.
The Coex BeMS performs real-time monitoring of energy consumption in the buildings in order to optimise energy efficiency. Using the system has allowed Coex to reduce its energy- and water consumption considerably and cut annual CO2 emissions by approximately 1,400 tons.
Furthermore, Coex recycles 160,000m3 water per year through wastewater reclamation and reuse systems, and has a waste recycling rate of 71%.
Strong sustainable management
Woon Gok So explains that Coex’ direction is highly proactive in integrating the strategy.
- Our CEO, Hong Sung-won has put emphasis on sustainability in all our operations and is very active in enforcing the new, green strategy throughout the entire organisation, he says.
Coex has three teams that are essential in the direct implementation of the strategy - the Sustainable Management Team, the Technical Support Team and the Facility Management & Operations Team.
- Also, we are represented in the Green Management Council, which consists of seven different companies from the Korea World Trade Centre, where Coex is situated. The council meets quarterly to evaluate the impact of our sustainability initiatives and green management programmes.
Encouraging a sustainable lifestyle
Coex welcomes over 100,000 visitors every day and has more than 200 members of staff. According to So, Coex wishes to influence all these people to lead a sustainable lifestyle.
- Our staff is actively involved in identifying things that can be improved and coming up with solutions that promote sustainability in the company. It is very important for us to make people realise that it is the small things that count, and that we all need to do something for the environment, he says.
- We have therefore suggested 20 ways in which our employees can put the green lifestyle into practice and ask them to self-evaluate their efforts with a web survey every month. It is an opportunity to get them to think more about sustainable issues in their life, So continues.
An obligation to promote sustainability
Coex’ owner, KITA, is the most influential business association in Korea and has been essential in creating a vivid trade environment and economic success in the country. This position, says Woon Gok So, obliges them to take on a leading role in integrating sustainability in the Korean business environment.
- When we implement green management initiatives, the industry is likely to follow our example. This is yet another reason for why we need to stay innovative and be ahead in our green management efforts. We see it as a long-term business strategy and an investment for the future.
Páll Tómas Finnsson