5. Responsibility

Accountability within the company’s management with regard to sustainability is disclosed.

The HMC Compliance and Sustainability Officer is in charge of coordinating compliance and environmental & climate protection activities.

Operational responsibility for other social matters related to occupational health and safety management has been entrusted to the Technical Services, Facility Management and Human Resources functions. The Equality Officer is appointed by the Legal and Controlling (stand-in) departments for the given reporting period.  

Central responsibility rests with the Executive Board which receives all information directly from the operational departments. All investment projects (e. g. retrofitting LED lighting equipment, installing charging stations for e-cars) are additionally subject to revision by the Supervisory Board and approval by the shareholder.  

To ensure close interaction between the company’s organisational units, a Sustainability Project Team was formed in 2019 which establishes an ongoing exchange of information on sustainability issues across the company. Furthermore, the CCH Division has appointed two sustainability representatives who work closely with the HMC Sustainability Officer.

6. Rules and Processes

The company discloses how the sustainability strategy is implemented in the operational business by way of rules and processes.

In day-to-day business operations, sustainability is implemented by all organisational units (e .g. Compliance, Purchasing, Climate & Environment Protection, Human Resources, Legal, Technical Services) of Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH (HMC).

All ecology-related activities are monitored by the Executive Board, the Supervisory Board and the shareholder.

Key guidance and principles for the related activities of HMC include, without limitation, the Hamburg Code of Corporate Governance (HCGK) [for details refer to Criterion 3], the HMC Corporate Compliance Programme [refer to Criterion 20], relevant guidelines issued by the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (FHH) and Federal Ministries, relevant legal provisions [refer to Criterion 20], and the FHH Climate Plan.

Furthermore, HMC has prepared “Green Guidelines for Exhibitors To Ensure An Eco-Friendly Exhibition“ of its own which it provides to exhibitors.

Sustainability is anchored in the HMC Operations Manual as part of the Corporate Compliance Programme. The Operations Manual contains compulsory rules for all employees.

Furthermore, HMC documented its own Climate Protection Policy as early as 2009.  
  1. We recognize our responsibility to protect the earth’s climate.
  2. We consider climate protection as a matter that must be addressed at the executive level. Therefore all managerial staff are required to help us achieve our climate protection goals.
  3. We believe that climate protection begins at the place of work. We therefore expect all our employees to do what they can in their daily work to reduce emissions of noxious substances to air.
  4. We consider climate protection as a business activity of growing importance. As a consequence our business goals do not clash with climate protection but are aligned with it.
  5. We comply with all statutory provisions regarding climate protection. As a company committed to the protection of the climate, we endeavour to go beyond the statutory requirements in reducing harmful emissions to air from our business activities.
  6. We monitor and improve our climate protection measures continuously to the extent that is possible to us.
  7. Protecting the climate is a challenge for society at large. We therefore engage in a continuous dialogue with our employees, our Supervisory Board, our Principal, our customers and suppliers and society at large about climate protection in the context of trade fairs, congresses and other events.

7. Control

The company states how and what performance indicators related to sustainability are used in its regular internal planning and control processes. It discloses how suitable processes ensure reliability, comparability and consistency of the data used for internal management and external communication.

To review and compare the environmental and climate effects of its operations, Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH (HMC) prepared a CO2 balance sheet for the previous year for the first time in 2020, which was audited externally, to validate existing CO2 reduction potential and compensation options. The CO2 balance sheet covers emissions from facility management, employee mobility, business trips, procurement and company logistics pursuant to the generally accepted GHG Protocol (Scope 1 – 3). A software tool designed specifically to ensure reliability, comparability and consistency ensures data quality and manages the readings from approximately 2,000 counters for electricity, heating and cooling, and water.

Furthermore, HMC conducts surveys among its employees every four years. The results of all surveys are correlated to draw conclusions about employee satisfaction.

Other than that, HMC has energy audits according to the German law about energy services and other energy efficiency measures (EDL-G) performed on a regular basis. The last such audit was carried out on 04 December 2019, and the next one is scheduled for December 2023.

Key Performance Indicators to criteria 5 to 7

Key Performance Indicator GRI SRS-102-16: Values
The reporting organization shall report the following information:

a. A description of the organization’s values, principles, standards, and norms of behavior.

The Values of Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH (HMC) are a constituent part of the internal HMC Code. The HMC Code, which is binding upon all employees, is a part of the HMC Operations Manual. It defines economic and entrepreneurial success as the highest goal of HMC. In turn, this success is defined as the achievement of ambitious revenue and sales targets, high indirect profitability, high customer and operator satisfaction, as well as motivated employees and contractors. The HMC Operations Manual is likewise an internal document.

The conduct of all HMC employees shall be based on the values of Trust, Performance and Accountability.  

Additionally, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (FHH) HMC is committed to the goals set by the Senate of Hamburg.

8. Incentive Systems

The company discloses how target agreements and remuneration schemes for executives and employees are also geared towards the achievement of sustainability goals and how they are aligned with long-term value creation. It discloses the extent to which the achievement of these goals forms part of the evaluation of the top managerial level (board/managing directors) conducted by the monitoring body (supervisory board/advisory board).

Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH (HMC) uses a monetary incentive system for employees in the form of a performance-based bonus in line with the relevant collective agreement (TV-AVH). The performance-based bonus is a variable extra amount paid in addition to the payroll amount. Exempt employees working under a special contract receive a management bonus. The amount of a bonus payment is determined based on the achievement of pre-defined annual performance targets. The details of this compensation system can be found in the "Company Agreement on the Implementation of Performance and Success-based Compensation, and Agreement of a Company-Wide System” (Betriebsvereinbarung zur Einführung leistungs- und erfolgsorientierter Entgelte und Vereinbarung eines betrieblichen Systems). Because of the coronavirus pandemic, no targets were agreed for the year 2020. 

The targets of the Executive Board are based on the specifications provided by the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (FHH). The Executive Board may receive a management bonus, as well. The salaries paid to the Executive Board are disclosed in the HCGK-Declaration of Compliance.

Furthermore, HMC offers non-monetary incentives to encourage its employees to embrace sustainability. For example, as of 2020 trainees have the option of receiving training from the Chamber Of Commerce to become so-called “Energy Scouts". In a course lasting several days, they receive instructions on energy efficiency and efficient use of resources. They can take this knowledge to their training company to identify solution-oriented potential for more sustainability.
In addition, HMC offers its employees discounted public transport tickets (ProfiTicket) as well as company-owned staff bicycles.

Employees are also given the option to participate in an in-house Health Day, which typically takes place every two years, and to enter the annual MOPO relay race free of charge.

Key Performance Indicators to criteria 8

Key Performance Indicator GRI SRS-102-35: Renumeration policies
The reporting organization shall report the following information:

a. Remuneration policies for the highest governance body and senior executives for the following types of remuneration:
i. Fixed pay and variable pay, including performance-based pay, equity-based pay, bonuses, and deferred or vested shares;
ii. Sign-on bonuses or recruitment incentive payments;
iii. Termination payments;
iv. Clawbacks;
v. Retirement benefits, including the difference between benefit schemes and contribution rates for the highest governance body, senior executives, and all other employees.

b. How performance criteria in the remuneration policies relate to the highest governance body’s and senior executives’ objectives for economic, environmental, and social topics.

As a wholly-owned subsidiary of FFH, Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH (HMC) is subject to the Hamburg Transparency Act, which includes a reporting obligation about the compensation paid to the Executive Board (Refer to Section 3(1)(15)).  

These Reports About The Compensation Of Executives And Managing Directors Of Hamburg’s Public Sector Organisations (Berichte über die Vergütungen der Mitglieder von Vorständen und Geschäftsführungen der Hamburger öffentlichen Unternehmen) are freely accessible online (German only). In addition, the Declarations of Compliance required under the HCGK (Hamburg Code of Corporate Governance) and the executive compensation information have been published on the HMC-website since 2013. This information comprises both, performance-based and performance-independent (e. g. salaries, supplements, benefits in kind) compensation components.  

The twelve members of the Supervisory Board receive an attendance fee per meeting which is identical throughout all public sector organisations. Four construction committee meetings, four human resources committee meetings, two finance committee meetings and four Supervisory Board meetings take place every year. For further information please refer to the Supervisory Board Manual for representatives of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.

Key Performance Indicator GRI SRS-102-38: Annual total compensation ratio
The reporting organization shall report the following information:

a. Ratio of the annual total compensation for the organization’s highest-paid individual in each country of significant operations to the median annual total compensation for all employees (excluding the highest-paid individual) in the same country.

The annual total compensation ratio can be found in the comments on personnel expenditures in the HMC balances of expense and income accounts and in the HCGK Declaration of Compliance, both of which are included in the 2020 Annual Report.

9. Stakeholder Engagement

The company discloses how the socially and economically relevant stakeholders are identified and integrated into the sustainability process. It states whether and how an ongoing dialogue takes place with them and how the results are integrated into the sustainability process.

The relevant stakeholders of Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH (HMC) can be identified by "stakeholder mapping", a method which allows to determine the expectations, needs, importance and power of individual stakeholder groups systematically. These include the following special interest groups, among others:

©Hamburg Messe und Congress

In the case of the CCH – Congress Center Hamburg, the German Convention Bureau e.V. (GCB) and the European Association of Event Centres (Europäischer Verband der Veranstaltungscentren e. V., EVVC) are additionally relevant for sustainability-related matters as interest groups, through information events (e. g. Green Meetings and Events Conference), and as powerful networking groups.

HMC's shareholder, HGV, and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (FHH) are of particular importance for HMC as a public sector organisation. As such, HMC is committed to fulfil their guidelines and sustainability targets, such as the Climate Goals of the Senate of Hamburg. HGV, The Hamburg Asset And Corporate Investment Management Limited (Hamburger Gesellschaft für Vermögens- und Beteiligungsmanagement mbH), in its dual roles as shareholder and holder of supervisory board mandates, is under obligation to drive the implementation of sustainable goals and the pursuit of the public interest by its subsidiaries.

Moreover, HMC communicates with the authorities of the State of Hamburg (e. g., Department for the Environment, Climate, Energy and Agriculture; Department for Economy, Transport and Innovation) about sustainability topics on a regular basis. This allows HMC to seize opportunities for participation in informational events hosted by the authorities which address a broad range of topics, such as preparing sustainability reports or implementing climate protection goals.

Furthermore, the employees of HMC constitute a substantial stakeholder group. To enhance general awareness of sustainability issues, HMC organises surveys, activity days and incentives, especially with a focus on sustainable mobility. Additional information addressing current topics is published on the intranet and in newsletters, and relevant documents are made available to all employees. Staff are provided with opportunities to express their personal opinions on the intranet using a bulletin board in the Sustainability section, and are encouraged to contact the Sustainability Officer with any concerns or suggestions. Those employees who are members of the cross-departmental project group are involved especially deeply. The dialogue about continued development will further be supported in the short- to medium-term by the trained Energy Scouts who will communicate their well-founded suggestions regarding a more efficient use of energy and other resources. As of 2021, interactive seminars offered by the HMC-Academy will intensify the exchange of views and information about the subject.

Similarly, external organisations are important sources of input on sustainability management. Specifically, HMC is in constant dialogue with the Exhibition and Trade Fair Board of the German Industry (Ausstellungs- und Messeausschuss der Deutschen Wirtschaft e. V., AUMA), the Community Of Interest Of German Industry Fair and Exhibition Cities (Interessengemeinschaft deutscher Fachmessen- und Ausstellungsstädte, IDFA), and The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI). AUMA is the body which represents HMC's interests on the political stage. An initiative of the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC), to launch in late 2021 within the scope of the "Net Zero" project, will help put the events sector on track to achieve zero emissions by 2050. This initiative consolidates the efforts of numerous companies of the events sector. HMC plans to subscribe to this joint initiative, as well.

As a signatory of the Climate Partner Agreement (Klima-Partner-Vereinbarung; since 2018) and a member of the Partnership for the Environment (UmweltPartnerschaft; since 2019), which includes membership in the Air Quality Partnership (Luftgütepartnerschaft; since 2020), HMC has several additional options for interacting with experts and improving its sustainability performance steadily. Within the scope of the Climate Partner Agreement, a so-called Sustainability Network (Netzwerk Nachhaltigkeit) was established to promote the exchange of information and experiences among the participating public sector organisations, and especially, the implementation of the HCGK code.
© HMC / Umweltpartnerschaft
© Hamburg Messe und Congress / Umweltpartnerschaft der BUKEA

Exhibitors form another strong interest group, expecting sustainable implementation of their events, especially HMC-organised trade fairs such as WindEnergy Hamburg, SMM and INTERNORGA but also guest events such as Heldenmarkt. Furthermore, HMC supports ecologically sustainable event participation by offering exhibitors its “Green Guidelines for Exhibitors To Ensure An Eco-Friendly Exhibition“.  

Visitors represent yet another strong interest group which is consulted in surveys and kept informed through newsletters. The means of transport used by events visitors is a highly relevant sustainability issue.

An online survey will identify key spheres of activity as perceived by the above-mentioned stakeholders. In the medium- to long-term, sustainability will be incorporated into the training workshops for HMC executives. The Executive Board is convinced that climate protection must be approached as a cross-enterprise challenge in order to achieve progress. It therefore believes it to be essential to integrate climate protection as a task at all levels of the value chain, including HMC's own business operations. The HMC website disperses Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) -related information to all interested parties.  

Also refer to: Our Contribution to The United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Key Performance Indicators to criteria 9

Key Performance Indicator GRI SRS-102-44: Key topics and concerns
The reporting organization shall report the following information:

a. Key topics and concerns that have been raised through stakeholder engagement, including:
i. how the organization has responded to those key topics and concerns, including through its reporting;
ii. the stakeholder groups that raised each of the key topics and concerns.

Exhibitors and visitors in particular show lively interest in the subject of sustainability.
HMC provides a central meeting place for various industry flagship fairs.  

The following is a list of industry fairs, events for the general public, and guest events which are explicitly linked to sustainability and are moving into focus to meet the demand from exhibitors, visitors and their respective industries. Participatory engagement of stakeholders will help meet these expectations.  

Examples: Especially among organisers of guest events and congresses, the most frequently-voiced concern is sustainability management for their event. Since late 2020, HMC has published concise one-page online documents addressing key SDG implementation measures. Furthermore, the "Green Guidelines for Exhibitors To Ensure An Eco-Friendly Exhibition“ should also be mentioned in this context.  

For the results of the stakeholder survey please refer to Criterion 2, "Materiality".

10. Innovation and Product Management

The company discloses how innovations in products and services are enhanced through suitable processes which improve sustainability with respect to the company’s utilisation of resources and with regard to users. Likewise, a further statement is made with regard to if and how the current and future impact of the key products and services in the value chain and in the product life cycle are assessed.

 Surveys and studies have confirmed the positive social and economic impact of the activities of Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH (HMC). According to the latest employee survey in 2019, employee satisfaction is increasing. A study conducted by the Munich-based ifo Institute of Economic Research in 2016 attests to the positive social and economic effects throughout the region [for details please refer to Criterion 2].

In a longer-term project initiated in 2020, many processes are being digitalised ("Digital Transformation"). The progressing transition to New Work calls for continuous adjustments to adapt to new conditions while challenging conventional strategies and approaches. To support this adaptation process, a Chief Digital & Information Officer was first appointed in 2020 who is in charge of the development and company-wide coordination of HMC's digital transformation activities. Developing employees' "digital skillsets" is considered a high priority at HMC and supported by training programmes provided through the HMC-Academy. Digitalisation will change the reality at work in general and many job descriptions in particular. This became especially evident in the context of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 when a substantial portion of work processes had to be digitalised. HMC successfully created remote working opportunities for all employees rapidly.  

Because of the pandemic, many events were unable to take place as planned. Nevertheless, WindEnergy Hamburg 2020, the IDX_FS Expo powered by INTERNORGA 2021, and SMM 2021 were held as digital trade fairs. Digital event formats will continue to be a key field of activity in the events industry going forward.
© HMC / Nicolas Döring
© Hamburg Messe und Congress / Nicolas Döring
"Our experience has confirmed our view that digital formats will play a much more important role in supporting physical trade fairs in future without being able to fully replace them," says Bernd Aufderheide, HMC President and CEO.
© HMC / Michael Zapf
© Hamburg Messe und Congress / Michael Zapf

To ensure utmost safety on the exhibition campus in times of the pandemic, HMC not only developed comprehensive Safety and Health Strategies. In 2020, HMC also installed UVC air sanitation devices in the central ventilation systems for the public spaces of Halls B1 to B4 and the East and South entrance areas as a precautionary measure in response to the coronavirus pandemic (refer to Health and Safety Guidelines, Article 3).

To reduce emissions during the assembly and disassembly of exhibition stands, HMC has implemented a slot system for its logistics contractor’s vehicles since 2018. Lorries are directed to various waiting areas in Hamburg where they remain until called to the exhibition campus for unloading or loading. This reduces emissions and saves time.


The "Guidelines For Organising Events Sustainably" (German only) contain additional suggestions for sustainability enhancements when preparing an event and assembling stands, during the event itself, during disassembly, and for recycling of materials. Working with experienced trade fair and stand construction contractors further supports an effective event life-cycle.


The innovative revitalisation of the CCH – Congress Center Hamburg placed great emphasis on the implementation of sustainable development right from the planning stages. The new CCH meets all relevant current standards. Its smart features make it one of Europe's largest, most advanced congress centres. This includes an air conditioning system which uses the natural cooling effect of the adjacent Planten un Blomen Park to cool down the building during the summer months, eliminating the need for technical cooling equipment. This will conserve large amounts of energy. The goal has been to make this building sustainable at all levels and to earn 'Gold Status’ in the certification system of the German Society for Sustainable Construction (DGNB). This would be the highest status any existing building can achieve.


The certification system accounts for the following properties, which are weighted nearly equally to create a meaningful overall assessment:
© HMC / Planung Arbeitsgemeinschaft agnLeusmann mit TIM HUPE Architekten
© Hamburg Messe und Congress / Planung Arbeitsgemeinschaft agnLeusmann mit TIM HUPE Architekten
By using 100 % green electricity as well as residual heat from a district heating network, the congress centre minimises the environmental impact of its event-related energy needs. Furthermore, the heating provider will gradually switch to regenerative energy sources in future.

By practising waste separation during events and ensuring proper recycling, the amount of waste is minimised while returning valuable resources to the productive material cycle. The service-booking-shop is gradually shifting to sustainable services. For example, a certified, fully recyclable cradle-to-cradle floor carpeting system has been offered as of 2022.  

The HMC vehicle fleet is increasing its share of state-of-the-art electric carts and cars with a minimum emissions classification of Euro 5-6 while also successively converting to hybrid vehicles.  

The positive impact of innovations becomes evident in HMC’s CO2 balance sheet. Throughout all of these measures, HMC stakeholders are consulted, informed and encouraged to provide feedback.



Also refer to: Our Contribution to The United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals



Key Performance Indicators to criteria 10

Key Performance Indicator G4-FS11
(report also in accordance with GRI SRS): Percentage of assets subject to positive and negative environmental or social screening.(Note: the indicator should also be reported when reporting to GRI SRS)

Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH (HMC) holds financial assets in the form of shares in affiliated organisations and stakes in other companies.  

Shares in affiliates:
By agreement, HMC has been Exclusive Limited Partner of MOLITA Vermietungsgesellschaft mbH & Co. Objekt Messe Hamburg KG, established on 09-02-2004, with a contribution in the amount of €10,000, which corresponds to the amount guaranteed and the share capital of the company. This arrangement, which was legally necessary in connection with the new exhibition halls, is not subject to screening based on environmental or social factors.  

Investments held:
By an agreement dated 12-08-2020, and following commercial screening, HMC acquired a share of one third in HH Tower Betreibergesellschaft mbH. The purpose of the company is the construction and operation of an entrance building, interior finishing and operation of the observation rotunda, and operation of public lifts at and inside Heinrich-Hertz Tower which is situated on the plaza in front of the HMC fair site. Furthermore, the company may operate additional property and hold events there. Business operations have not commenced as yet.