London's iconic event venues Earls Court
annually host a diverse blend of more than 300 consumer, trade and corporate projects such as exhibitions, conferences and live events all through the year inviting more than 30,000 exhibitors and 2.5 million visitors. EC&O has thus contributed to local trade and promoted London as a business and holiday destination.
Historically, the events industry has had a reputation for consuming enormous energy and generating tonnes of waste materials. Unfortunately, hardly any venues or contractors or organisers monitored waste generation or thought of waste reduction. However, the Earls Court and Olympia's sustainability projects have established their commitment to environmental obligations and are the pioneers of Event Sustainability.
The Earls Court and Olympia venues have won the Visit London Gold Award, two AEO Excellence Awards and the 2010 Event Magazine Green Award for their initiatives. Over the years, EC&O have achieved great enhancements in energy efficiency, recycling and waste management and have even developed a tool to assess sustainability.
Earls Court and Olympia are the first venues to be certified under new British Standard BS 8901 for sustainable event management system, and represent UK Venues on the committee that has developed this new standard. They are also contributing to the development of the new ISO20121 international standard.
Every year EC&O Venues produce a Sustainability Report which includes recycling and waste management, sustainability initiatives and information on CR policies, community and charity work, company values and much more.
Before 2004, EC&O did not have a defined sustainability programme. In 2005 the EC&O started removing wood, glass, plastics, metal, paint, cardboard, paper and cotton fabric from waste sent to landfill. By 2007 a recycling centre was developed at both sites and an additional levy on unnecessary waste disposal was introduced to persuade organisers and exhibitors to reduce their waste. In 2008 EC&O implemented a carbon positive process for a sustainable food disposal system at a Biogen food plant in Bedfordshire.
These measures resulted in 2801 tonnes waste removed or 82% recycled / reused in 2010, compared to 3471 tonnes waste removed or 48% recycled / reused in 2005. Each year the EC&O continue to look for new ways in which to lessen the quantity of waste sent to landfill.
In 2010 Earls Court piloted a Refuse Derived Fuel system which involves removing recyclables from the waste, and the rest then processed and turned into fuel which has various industrial uses.
Carpets supplied at Olympia are 100% recyclable. In 2010 402,322 square metres of carpets were recycled into plastic pellets which saved around 585 tonnes of CO2 emissions and 312 tonnes of crude oil. 585 tonnes of CO2 equates to the energy required to power an average family home for 16 years.
Earls Court and Olympia are very mindful of the brunt CO2 emissions have on the climate change and environment. The EC&O are dedicated to increase energy efficiency, reduce energy consumption, reduce water consumption, minimise CO2 emissions etc. In 2006 EC&O made a 7% reduction on its energy consumption. Between 2006 and 2010 an additional 26.3% decline was achieved.
The EC&O has been asked to join a team of experts that are helping Visit England build up a sustainability action plan for UK tourism. The EC&O is also a member of Green500, a London Development Agency programme to persuade 500 of the major organisations in London to reduce their carbon emissions. With Transport For London, Earls Court and Olympia have created a travel plan that encourages use of public transport, walking and cycling to reduce the number of car trips to their venues.
Earls Court and Olympia's Sustainability project raises awareness of their staff and encourages them to use the stairs instead of the lifts, to ensure that lights and terminals are turned off when they leave and tax free bikes through the government's Green Transport Plan.
About the Author: This article was written by the author for www.lth-hotels.com, official website of London Town Hotels Limited, fastest growing London hotels
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