Team NEC was awarded the 2013 AEO Sustainability Award at Old Billingsgate, London, on Friday 21 June for the organisation “deemed to be making the greatest strides to operate in a sustainable manner”.
Tough opposition for the title awarded by AEO, the consumer events and service trade exhibitions trade body, included entries from the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company, Edinburgh International Conference Centre, Manchester Central and GES, but the NEC took its second successive AEO victory after winning Venue Team of the Year 12 months ago.
Ground breaking initiatives detailed in the award submission included:
- Achieving zero waste to landfill two years ahead of schedule in September 2012, which in turn has enabled the NEC to freeze waste management charges to organisers for 2013 and impact waste reduction right down the supply chain
- The rolling out of electricity and water saving metering and reducing Co2 emissions throughout the venue
- Receiving planning permission for a ground-breaking £100million Biomass Energy Centre, one of the first in the UK and the only one in the events sector; it will make the whole venue self-sufficient for power and heat and will also support the energy requirements of local businesses and communities and contribute low carbon electricity to the National Grid
“Sustainability is at the heart of all we do,” says Paul Jenkins, the NEC’s sustainability and environmental manager. “We monitor the environmental impact of all our operations and undertake key projects to make our venue more environmentally responsible.
Through training and company values the NEC encourages every member of Team NEC to play their part in managing the facility’s environmental impact and it encourages staff involvement in projects such as Choose 2 Reuse – where it stops consigning things to waste and finds a second use for them – and WWF’s Earth Hour in March where the lights were switched off for an hour across the NEC site.
“We’re committed to being industry leaders in the drive for sustainable solutions and winning this award is a really positive step forward in achieving that objective,” added Jenkins.
The NEC is now working towards achieving the EN ISO: 14001 standard – an environmental management system used to develop and implement its environmental policy and manage its environmental impacts of our operations – and changing the processes and overall culture of the venue.