COP27 and the future of events

November 2022

COP27 concluded on 20 November in a historic moment for climate justice, with an agreement to establish a loss and damage fund for countries most affected by climate change. However, the outcome of the 27th United Nations’ (UN) conference on climate change also represents a significant step backwards in the fight against fossil fuels. 

The final text of COP27 has been criticised for its ambiguous reference to ‘low-emissions energy’. Katie White, Executive Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), said: “While a deal on loss and damage finance is a positive step, it risks becoming a down payment on disaster unless emissions are urgently cut in line with the 1.5°C goal.” There is widespread concern that the vague wording around ‘low-emissions energy’ could allow for the development of further gas resources. Although gas produces lower emissions than coal, it is still a major fossil fuel responsible for significant amounts of global emissions.

Outside of global international agreements, we should all be doing our part to limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5°C. Warren Campbell, General Manager, 15Hatfields, said: “It’s more important than ever that organisations are proactive in the fight against fossil fuels. Gas is out of the question at 15Hatfields. As the official venue of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), we’re committed to leading by example when it comes to energy efficiency and investment in renewable energy. Venues will need to demonstrate greater accountability for their emissions, as event planners increasingly call for evidence in the form of data, benchmarks and accreditation.”

As the professional body for environmental health, CIEH has long been campaigning around the UK Government’s Environment Act and drawing attention to the impacts of the climate crisis on food security, air pollution and water quality. CIEH has been urging for greater government funding in energy efficiency and recently joined Warm This Winter. This campaign is backed by over 60 anti-poverty and environmental charities who are calling for a national programme of insulation and investment in renewable sources of energy.

Continue reading to learn about the energy efficiency and waste reduction measures at our venue. For conferences, networking and fine dining events hosted in our Elements Suite, we can work with event planners to track water usage, food waste, recyclables and electrical consumption.

Electrical consumption and renewable energy

We have installed new electrical digital meters to improve our ability to establish energy-saving benchmarks across larger events. For events taking over our ground floor, lower ground floor or entire venue, we can accurately track and report on electrical consumption. And don’t forget – electricity at 15Hatfields is certified to come from 100% renewable sources!

Transport emissions and food miles

When calculating the carbon footprint of an event, delegate travel often comes to mind, but what about the journey that the food has taken to get to the plate? Seasonal menus help to minimise food miles by taking advantage of ingredients while they’re in abundance and available to purchase locally. Finding a dynamic catering company is key – food lovers who are driven not only by a commitment to cut carbon emissions but also delight in the creative opportunities that arise from seasonal menu planning.

For 15Hatfields, being a central London event venue is ideal. Our delegates benefit from the range of public transport links and hotels on our doorstep. Meanwhile, we’re able to draw on South Bank’s thriving businesses and local champions of sustainable practices, including event catering specialists Eden Caterers. If you’re curious about where our food comes from, contact us to discuss the food miles for your next event.

Food waste and ‘over catering’

Prioritising local produce can also contribute to a wider waste reduction strategy. One approach for tackling food waste is to reduce the chances of food spoilage, by choosing ingredients that will spend less time in transit and storage.

Perhaps the most notorious cause of food waste in the hospitality industry is ‘over catering’. Venues and caterers that are serious about sustainability will have a food waste reduction strategy in place which ensures delegates are well-nourished provides while avoiding unnecessary wastage. We know that circumstances can change at the last minute, so we allow event planners until 4pm the day before their event to finalise catering quantities.

Plastic pollution and recycling

When it comes to tracking and eradicating plastic waste, as a venue the process is twofold. Firstly, thorough auditing is necessary to identify where plastic appears in the supply chain. We collaborate with all our suppliers to ensure that if a plastic-free substitute exists (and there are many!) we’re using it.

Secondly, the importance of getting to grips with waste management cannot be overstated, especially in cases where plastic-free alternatives do not yet exist. Many recycling outlets do not recycle certain plastics found in confectionary packaging and cleaning products. If in doubt, TerraCycle has guidance for 'hard-to-recycle' items and a number of free recycling programmes which you can sign up to. We’ve been working with TerraCycle since 2019 to recycle plastic bottle tops and vinyl gloves.

Selecting a waste management system with a zero to landfill policy is also crucial to guarantee recycling is handled appropriately once it leaves the recycling bin. Pulse Environmental arranges for any non-recyclable waste to be sent to a local carbon capture energy recovery plant rather than landfill. In monthly reports, Pulse Environmental provides us with a full breakdown of our recycling activity as well as energy recovered from non-recyclables.

Let’s work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at your next event. Contact us to arrange a venue visit with one of our sustainable event experts.

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