Greengage Solutions has linked up with some of the top UK sustainable event venues and hotels to share their most successful initiatives from 2022.
The working group of ECOsmart Platinum accredited venues meets quarterly to examine some of the key challenges relating to sustainability in the hospitality industry. While intentions to focus on greener business decisions positively increase, realistic and actionable changes continue to be a stumbling block for many in the industry.
Some of those businesses making great strides towards a future of sustainable travel and events have been reflecting on what has worked well in 2022, that other venues and hotels could consider implementing themselves.
- Cleaner walking routes: The London venue joined forces with Cross River Partnership to measure air pollution in the city and offer a service taking delegates on cleaner walking routes to the venue from Kings Cross. Air pollution was 57% lower if they took the advised cleaner walking route.
- Sustainable giveaways for trade shows: To avoid handing out wasteful giveaways, BMA House introduced free collapsible coffee cups for delegates, made by Paper Round using recycled waste from the venue.
- Green Christmas parties: In addition to standard Christmas parties, a second cheaper green option was offered in 2022, including healthy set menus, vegan sparkling wine, LED uplighting and using only local suppliers.
- Accommodating late final delegate numbers for events: A late deadline at 15Hatfields allows planners to give final catering numbers for events at 12pm the day before, significantly reducing food waste.
- Palm oil reduction: The venue has been working on being palm oil free, with numerous product replacements throughout business operation. 15Hatfields is encouraging other venues to join the “palm oil pledge”, and rather than complete removal, which is a real challenge right now, to at least audit their food and cleaning supplies to assess where palm oil could be reduced.
- More accurate measurement: Smart meters are being installed on each floor of the building to differentiate usage between event venue spaces and additional rented space not affiliated to 15Hatfields.
- Reconsidering food categorisation: Moving away from categorising ‘vegan’ and ‘meat’ menu options has increased sales for non-meat dishes (still with clear labelling).
- Researching grant opportunities: Having secured a £2.3m grant, Oxford Brookes had a geothermal system built for highly efficient energy supply. The venue is aiming for a 60% reduction in Scopes 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 2030, and net zero by 2050. There has already been a 20% reduction in CO2.
- Collecting more data: Friends House has positioned QR codes around the venue to collect live feedback directly from delegates in order to understand habits such as transportation methods to the venue. This helps to inform more conscious decisions.
- Tree planting: In 2022, the venue committed to planting 1,000 trees by 2025. So far, 150 have already been planted.
Pan Pacific London
- Digitalising event operation: For large dinners, 8x6m screens are used for menus and table plans rather than name cards which has largely reduced printing and also makes life a lot easier for last minute changes. Special lighting above tables can spotlight numbers or colours above a seat to direct guests to the right place.
- Better investment in hybrid technology: Hybrid events remain popular at Pan Pacific and can be cost effective where travel is significantly reduced. New technology is helping the wow factor: the hotel held a conference for a client where they tuned in to the international space station for an interview.
IET London: Savoy Place
- Smart technology: The main focus at Savoy Place this year has been energy. The venue has used 20% less than 2019 through smart technology.
- Controlled CO2 levels: The levels of CO2 in each event space are closely monitored and controlled so they can be adjusted to the right level according to the number of people at an event.
Church House, London
- Saving water: The venue previously had 74 urinals in the rest rooms, flushing three times an hour. These have recently been replaced by a waterless system to allow 80% less water consumption compared to 2021 – even with a much higher footfall.
- LoCASE funding: The Surrey based events venue applied for LoCASE funding in 2022 that comes from Europe and is aimed at SMEs and can offer potential grants for implementing sustainable business alternatives such as electric vehicles for deliveries.
- Visualising the sustainability story: Woodhaven House shares the importance of communicating the story of a venue’s sustainability journey not just for the booker, but the visiting delegates too, through a simple and clear graphic.