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Climate change is proving to have substantial implications on various industries, the events industry is no exception. We have seen an increase in event organisers beginning to consider their impact on the environment, with planners taking measures to reduce their carbon footprint and many others looking at ways their events stay in line with corporate social responsibility. It is important to remember that sustainability covers much more than just being green; the environmental, social and economic factors also need to be considered.
We were recently host to The Sustainable Events Summit 2014 which was held to bring together events professionals to discuss and promote the role of sustainable practices in the industry. This year’s summit achieved a record attendance with around 50 brands and over 250 delegates invited from agencies, venues and suppliers for networking and discussion on how to implement sustainability for a more efficient business. High-calibre speakers who spoke at the event included Dan Germain, Head of Creative at Innocent; Jane Culcheth Beard, Head of Events Western Europe at Hewlett-Packard, Inder Poonaji, Head of Sustainability for Nestle UK & Ireland and Sahar Hashemi, entrepreneur and co-founder of Coffee Republic.
It was essential that every element of the SES event was sustainable, something that we were able to commit to and had the expertise and resources to deliver. We made sure every consideration was taken, into the social, economic and environmental impacts of organising the event, ensuring all aspects were explored. Every choice, from the design of the menu to the signage around the venue was created to be ecologically and socially responsible.
At 30 Euston Square, we’re fortunate to have a number of sustainable innovations incorporated into the building design – for example, we can capture rainwater which is used to support the plumbing system and flush the auditorium toilets. We also have a lighting control system which uses PIR (Passive InfraRed) sensors so the lights switch off when no one is present.
The SES event is a great example of additional measures a venue can take when given a brief that encompasses high sustainability expectations. During the event, there were measures in place to reduce the consumption of materials such as the filtering of water and serving it in recyclable bottles, as well as plasma TVs and human signage to direct the guests. Our Wi-Fi ensured an event app could be used which eliminated the need for paper hand-outs.
Our executive head chef, Russell Benton created a bespoke menu using strictly seasonal, sustainable and local ingredients (within a 30 mile radius) and extra consideration was taken to ensure the food was organic, Fairtrade and met animal welfare standards. The chef also worked closely with the client to create innovative menus that offered variety whilst keeping the food wastage to a minimum. All filtered tap water was served in reusable glass bottles and all food ingredients and sourcing information was labelled on the catering stations with chalk boards, plasmas TV’s and on the web app, produced especially for the event.
We are conveniently located a short walk from London Euston train station, a central location that is easily accessible by public transport. We always encourage attendees to make use of the convenient public transport and we also consider the impact of travel during the planning of an event. During the SES event, almost 40% of delegates used the London Underground and over 30% used the train.
We are certified BREEAM with a score of ‘very good’ and are always looking for ways that we can improve and enhance our sustainability offering. By conserving energy, reducing waste, purchasing local products and simply consuming less, immediate results can be appreciated not just by us but our delegates.
I firmly believe that our approach to sustainability and environmental credentials attracts customers who recognise the importance of sustainability in business and events. It’s important to us that we as a business practice sustainability but also that our customers see the value of making these considerations when choosing somewhere to host their event.