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How the events industry can play its part in the fight against climate change

31 October 2021

This weekend marks the start of the UN’s Climate Change Conference, or more commonly referred to as COP. The 26th running of the sustainability summit takes place in Glasgow, Scotland, after several delays caused due to the pandemic. 

 

It is being billed as one of the most significant climate events of its time; aiming to go further than the ground-breaking 2015 Paris Accord. All countries, governments and industries are being called upon to use this moment to make their stance… and the events industry is no exception.

Indeed, earlier this year, Andrew Griffith, the UK’s Net-Zero Business Champion for COP 26, encouraged the sector to “do more, act earlier” in the run up to the event scheduled from 31 October until 12 November. 

At ExCeL London, we have longed valued the importance of sustainability and ensuring we create a positive impact on the local community and the world around us...after all, we are now home to the world’s most sustainable motorsport series Formula E. 

That’s why we are proud to be part of the world’s largest sustainability initiative – the UN Global Compact – and are certified to both ISO14001 and ISO20121 classifications (the ISO20121 is the environmental standard for the events industry).

Our strategy focuses on four key areas: reducing waste, increasing energy efficiency, delivering more sustainable food choices and supporting our local community.

That’s why we’ve instigated measures such as having a 100% of our electricity supply come from renewable sources, whilst our gas supply is carbon offset using UN credits. Indeed, over the last five years, we have also replaced our light fittings with LED eco-friendly ones, saving 70% energy per fitting and reducing our overall consumption by a noticeable 22%.

 

 

Those entering the venue from the West Entrance will have also noticed our ‘living wall’ of more than 9,500 plants, helping to remove air pollutants and improve biodiversity. We also use waterless urinals, which save over 16 million litres of water every year – that equates to over 328 million litres of water since ExCeL opened back in 2000.

You may have also noticed our transition to digital signage throughout the venue, helping to reduce printing and wastage with the overall goal of sending zero waste to landfill. That’s complemented by our #NoPlastic campaign and our commitment to reducing single-use plastic waste, together with initiatives such as reducing red meat and buying British seasonal fruit and vegetables.

We also support five charities in and around Newham, East London, covering a wide range of topics.

And, perhaps best of all, we are home to the UK’s largest commercial wormery, which recycles vegetable waste from our kitchens, generating fertiliser for green spaces around ExCeL.

For sure, the events sector is well on its way to making a positive change, but there are still significant steps forward to take, not to forget that we all must work together to reduce our carbon footprint.

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