Conferencing & Events blogSustainability

It’s been a busy start to 2023 for our team! As well as being kept on our toes supporting a plethora of events over the last few months, we’ve been busy bees continuing our focus on sustainability, ensuring this remains one of our top priorities.

Back in October, we were delighted to receive a Green Meetings Gold Award thanks to the collaborative efforts of three teams: Conferencing & Events, Catering and Sustainable Strathclyde. The award recognises how the teams have worked together to make our services and products more sustainable, encouraging our clients to do the same with their events.

Conferencing and Events staff attend a workshop on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in a conference room

In the midst of December’s festivities, we welcomed our lovely colleagues from the Glasgow Convention Bureau to discuss how we can help raise awareness of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals when planning events. After mapping our day-to-day operations against the goals, we were pleased to see that many of our practices already address them. Some examples include:

  • Adopted a plant-forward approach to hospitality – completely removing red meat from our menus, focusing instead on a wide range of vegan and vegetarian options as standard
  • Encouraging active travel to the campus, by bike and public transport
  • Removed all single-use plastic from hospitality delivery
  • Implemented a brand-new stock management system, helping us record and reduce food waste, and designed menus with food waste in mind
  • Reduced carbon footprint by working with local suppliers

In addition to our new stock management system and as part of our commitment to deliver events as sustainably as possible, we’ve also been looking carefully at other ways to prevent and reduce food waste. Being seasoned events professionals, we know that even the best laid plans can change at the last minute; sometimes fewer delegates attend on the day than have registered in advance so we’re working with the University of Strathclyde Foodbank Society, and our approved food redistribution partners such as Launch Foods, to introduce a new initiative where we can donate any ingredients no longer required, on a client’s behalf. Don’t forget to ask us about this the next time you’re in the venue!

Nourish cakes and pastries

February saw us attend a workshop run by the team from Climate Fresk, an international NGO on a mission to spread climate education around the world. The workshop teaches attendees the fundamentals of climate science in a fun and collaborative way in just 3 hours, equipping participants with a high level of climate literacy and empowering them to spread climate knowledge and take effective action. We were certainly thinking out of the box that day!

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, we can’t wait to welcome the Guidelines International Network in September who selected our venue based on our green credentials. Elaine Harrow, CEO said: “As an international network, we recognise the importance of the innovation that happens when people get together and interact - this cannot be fully replicated online. Therefore, we need to consider how we support our members to meet and maximise human interaction, collaboration and innovation, while minimising our impact to the environment and promoting sustainability. 

We have changed our conference model to reflect this.  Our starting point for our 2023 conferences was to look to the Global Destination Sustainability index of sustainable tourism and conference cities and we selected several locations from the top 20.  We then looked at venues that could deliver a fully hybrid event within those locations and full proposals were developed for 5 venues. The locations were narrowed down to three and in 2022 our board selected the Technology and Innovation Centre at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.’

The Conferencing and Events Team

To top off our sustainability activities, we’ve recently been featured in The Sustainable Event Buyer's Guide 2023 alongside some very inspiring businesses! Of course, the hard work doesn’t end there! The team continuously evaluate our working practices and is keen to introduce new initiatives to support our green credentials so if you would like to share your ideas then we’d love to hear from you!