Environmental, social and governance (or ESG) is becoming an important factor in the policies, behaviours and investment of many companies. This is in turn impacting their event planning, but which venues have taken this on board and changed behaviours?
What is ESG?
Sometimes referred to as responsible investing, sustainable investing or socially responsible investing, Environmental, Social and Governance follows standard which represents the ethical and sustainable impact of company investments. Essentially, companies will focus on the ESG criteria to build a much more ethical portfolio. While ESG standards are currently not a legal requirement, they are expected to become part of UK Law by 2024 – 2025.
ESG standards have superseded the former Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) standards that were adopted around a decade ago. CSR standards were used to make businesses accountable, but only following the company’s own policies, whereas ESG aims to make the criteria much more measurable.
What are the criteria?
Environmental factors will focus on the impact and conservation of the natural world. The criteria include:
1. Policies addressing climate change
Green energy initiatives
Water and air pollution
2. Social factors focus on the wellbeing of the company workforce and the impact on the outside community.
Diversity and gender
Impact on and relationships with the outside community
Business supply chain
3. Governance factors focus on how an organisation is managed.
Board member diversity
Distribution of responsibilities and rights within the company
Transparency and reporting
Which venues are genuinely embracing these changes?
As yet, there is no one way to assess how event venues measure up against all the ESG criteria. But there are several venues we can mention off the top of our heads which are genuinely embedding them into the fabric of their business.
Here are just some examples:
15 Hatfields is an award-winning sustainable events venue in central London offering 16 accessible, flexible and light events spaces.
Sustainability, economic and social responsibility is at the forefront of the company ethos. It permeates every area of the business – examples include: seasonal menus with no waste, AV to reduce paper and allow for worldwide streaming, using environmentally suppliers, no single-use plastic (including the banning of single use cutlery, plastic sponge scouring pads, replacing plastic wrap with a plant-based compostable PLA film) and event furniture made from recycled materials. Even their reception desk is made from recycled fabric conditioner bottles – now that is real change.
The resort’s slogan is ‘More Sustainability, No Apology.’
It is not just a slogan though. Their ‘Green Team’ are assigned responsibility for the carbon footprint and energy management policy and have reduced their overall environmental impact through energy initiatives and waste reduction, including reducing their single-use plastics across the site by 42%, supporting and maintain a nature reserve with the Wildlife Trust, planting trees and natural shrubs, growing more produce on site, reducing their paper consumption, going ‘zero to landfill’ 100% of the time, reducing food waste and distributing leftover produce to shelters and food banks.
With multiple Green Awards and accreditations including waste management, recycling, energy and water conservation, Warwick Conferences are affecting change at home.
They’ve made a concerted effort to reduce energy consumption by 13% – windows are energy efficient to reduce the need for artificial lighting and heating and 70% of lighting in the Scarman and Radcliffe building are energy efficient LED.
In the kitchens, 75% of dishes are freshly prepared from unprocessed ingredients, no fish is served from the Marine Conservation Society ‘fish to avoid’ list, and they only serve 100% British free range eggs.
They also seek to support others’ in their changing behaviours too – on site there are free charging points for people who use energy efficient electric vehicles and bikes are available to hire and they have partnered with the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust to ensure their outdoor spaces are eco-friendly and are providing bees with a secure habitat to help stop their decline.
The NEC in Birmingham are transparent in what they are trying to achieve and what they still have to do as you can see by their environment and social impact page. Their social programme is designed to ensure they put people at the heart of what they do, and they are taking steps to integrate environmentally sustainable practices into their business.
Their event facilities uses LED’s, smart meters and carbon off-setting. They have an 80% recycle rate, have upgraded their bathrooms with sensor taps and dryers to save water and energy (they have saved nearly a billion litres of water in the last 10 years), 100% of their spend on disposable packaging is on sustainable products and they don’t allow their waste to travel more than 30 miles from the venue. They’ve also transformed Pendigo Lake and have a 40 metre ‘green wall’ with over 17,000 shrubs.
As ESG becomes more and more prominent within your business, so too will it impact your event planning. By working with venues that support this agenda you can deliver truly successful events.
If you would like help, advice or guidance on any of these areas, do give us a call and we’ll be happy to help!