In years gone by, the events industry has been one of the worst offenders for waste sent to landfill every year. However by using sustainability initiatives such as upcycling materials into resources for local schools and reusing wall panels from other events to build its feature areas, UBM Live Built Environment has achieved a ten per cent decrease in waste generated at this year’s Ecobuild show.
In recognition for this and its commitment to carbon footprint reduction, better management of resources and sourcing more sustainable options, Ecobuild, which took place from 4th to 6th March 2014 at London’s ExCeL, has also been awarded the coveted ISO20121 certification for Sustainable Event Management.
Forming part of organiser UBM’s strategy for continual improvement of its sustainable performance, the Ecobuild team looked at the environment, community and economic sides of sustainability in the context of its 2014 event.
Its strategy was to firstly reduce the amount of waste that was generated through reduce and reuse, and secondly, increase the proportion of waste which is recycled. Applying these principles to its feature areas, Ecobuild created open-plan designs to minimise material usage, maximised use of hired and reusable components, and ensured waste was recycled or managed responsibly.
On top of that, organisers reduced the carbon footprint of its event guide by 28 per cent by swapping to 100 percent recycled paper for the first time.
In a bid to reduce the volume of waste to landfill generated by the event and put materials back to use in the community, Ecobuild upcycled all its PVC event banners into aprons for local schools’ profound and multiple leaning difficulties departments and donated materials such as MDF, cloth, wood, and perspex used to build its features and seminar theatres to a local school’s design and technology department.
In partnership with Ecobuild’s official show partner The UK Green Building Council, Ecobuild encouraged exhibitors to think about the sustainability of their stands and proudly shout about their green credentials through its Sustainable Stand Awards. The winners this year were BRE with no paper on their stand and a stand/contents of which over 80 percent was reusable, and University of East London for its live workshop project Willow Bird Hide designed by first year architecture students.
Organisers also worked with ExCeL this year to utilise the new LED fully addressable lighting system, ensuring electricity use was as efficient as possible. Lights were turned off in unused areas, and turned down in over-lit areas.
Alison Jackson, group director of sustainability & construction, Ecobuild comments on this important accolade:
“We are so proud to receive ISO20121 certification, which is testament to the hard work and determination of our specialist organising team, partners, exhibitors and visitors who enabled us to ‘walk the walk’ this year towards a more sustainable event. Thank you to all involved and here’s to setting the bar even higher for Ecobuild 2015!”
Further highlights of Ecobuild’s journey towards ISO20121 certification:
- Ecobuild has made a long term commitment to a partnership with CRASH, the construction and property industry’s charity for homeless people in the UK.
- Through Forest Carbon, the UK leaders in woodland creation certified under the Woodland Carbon Code, Ecobuild is making a long term contribution to the UK’s environment in recognition of our net footprint.
- Sister show Resource ensured that the principle of a closed loop supply chain was been applied to its theatre
- Worked with catering suppliers Leith’s to improve the sustainability of the catering provided
The next Ecobuild will take place in 2015 from the 3rd to 5th March 2015 at London’s ExCeL.