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Venue Sustainability: A transformative trend in UK event management

The event management industry is experiencing a significant shift towards sustainability. As awareness of environmental issues intensifies, event planners, venues, and suppliers are increasingly prioritising green practices. Here we explore the key trends in venue sustainability and their impact on the event management industry in the UK…

The first notable trend is the increasing adoption of sustainable practices in venue operations. Venues are now actively reducing their carbon footprint by implementing energy-efficient lighting and heating systems, utilising renewable energy sources, and reducing water usage. The iconic SSE Hydro in Glasgow, for instance, has embraced this trend by installing LED lights and utilising hydroelectric power, setting a precedent for others in the industry.

Another trend is the focus on waste reduction and recycling. Venues and event organisers are striving to achieve zero waste events by implementing comprehensive recycling programmes, composting organic waste, and minimising single-use plastics. This approach is evident in events like the Glastonbury Festival, which banned the sale of single-use plastic bottles in 2019, a move that significantly reduced waste and highlighted the potential for large-scale events to operate sustainably.

Sustainable sourcing is also gaining traction, with venues increasingly opting for local and ethical suppliers. This not only supports the local economy but also reduces the carbon emissions associated with transportation. The emphasis on local sourcing extends to food and beverages, with many venues offering menus that feature locally sourced, organic, and seasonal produce.

The integration of sustainable transport options is another key development. Venues are encouraging the use of public transport, cycling, and walking to reduce the environmental impact of events. Many are partnering with public transport providers to offer discounted travel or organising shuttle services from major transport hubs. This approach not only reduces traffic congestion and emissions but also enhances the overall attendee experience.

Moreover, the concept of ‘green certifications’ for venues has become a significant trend. Certifications such as ISO 20121 and the Green Tourism Business Scheme serve as benchmarks for sustainability, providing venues with a framework for continuous improvement and recognition for their efforts. These certifications are becoming a key factor in venue selection for environmentally conscious organisers and clients.

Lastly, digitalisation and technology have played a crucial role in promoting sustainability. The shift towards digital ticketing, online event materials, and virtual event components reduces the need for printed materials and travel, further minimising the environmental impact of events.

The trend towards venue sustainability is reshaping the UK’s event management industry. It is driving innovation and creativity, as venues and organisers seek to balance operational efficiency with environmental responsibility. This shift not only reflects a broader societal move towards sustainability but also presents an opportunity for the industry to lead by example in the global effort to combat climate change. As these practices become standard, sustainable event management is poised to go from a niche consideration to an industry norm, setting a new benchmark for events in the UK and beyond.

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash


Stuart O'Brien

All stories by: Stuart O'Brien