National Outdoor Expo Sustainability Plan

Our Goal

Our goal is to deliver a carbon-neutral exhibition inside 3 years, in time for the National Outdoor Expo 2023.

Our Plan

We have set up a sustainability working group which will focus on

  1. Assessing and reducing the environmental impact of our business (Raccoon Events Ltd)
  2. Assessing and reducing the environmental impact of our suppliers
  3. Working with our exhibitors to reduce the environmental impact of their attendance at the event
  4. Developing tools to support our visitors in reducing their environmental impact
  5. Exploring offsetting opportunities

Roadmap and milestones

We will have quarterly meetings that will include representatives from marketing, operations, our sustainability lead and our CEO.

Each of the 5 areas will have quarterly and annual targets that lead into our broader goal of delivering a carbon neutral exhibition by 2023.

Section 1 – Assessing and reducing the environmental impact of our business (Raccoon Events Ltd)

Annual objectives:

  • By March 2021 we will have developed a robust and objective method of measuring our environmental impact as a business and identified ways to reduce our carbon footprint. We should have implemented at least 3 significant changes to our business that have made a noticeable impact.
  • By March 2022 we will have insight reports for our quarterly sustainability meetings that show our progress towards carbon neutrality. We will have the tools to enable us to create a company culture that puts sustainability first and a business that continually looks to measure and reduce its environmental impact.
  • By March 2023 we will have developed a company culture where sustainability is endemic to our business with clear measurements and continuous improvements happening organically. At this point our remaining carbon footprint should be offset.

Section 2 – Assessing and reducing the environmental impact of our suppliers

  • By March 2021 we will have selected suppliers that share our commitment to sustainability and actively de-selected companies that do not. We will encourage all suppliers to consider the environmental impact of their actions, remove unnecessary or unsustainable practices and to recommend ways to reduce the carbon footprint of the event. All suppliers will be required to submit a report within 1 month of the event trading detailing their carbon impact.
  • By March 2022 we will set a carbon target for all suppliers which they will be required to meet in order to partner with us. We will encourage insetting over offsetting and will actively seek out suppliers that have a continuous improvement programme
  • By March 2023 our carbon impact target for our suppliers will be 0 – we will only work with suppliers that are able to deliver a carbon neutral event. We will favour companies that use insetting rather than offsetting to achieve this.

Section 3 – Working with our exhibitors to reduce the environmental impact of their attendance at the event

  • By March 2021 we will create an advisory booklet and messaging scheme that encourages exhibitors to adopt a more sustainable way of exhibiting. We will restrict unsustainable exhibiting practices and will develop a comms plan that helps educate exhibitors about best practice. We will start to gather data to enable us to measure the carbon impact of our exhibitors.
  • By March 2022 we will look to evolve the advice further and actively feedback carbon scoring and ideas for improvement to our exhibitors based on their relative scoring. We will set an advisory threshold for exhibitors on carbon impact. We will have a more robust measurement of the environmental impact of our exhibitors’ attendance at our event
  • By March 2023 we will seek to enforce the sustainability threshold for exhibitors and not accept bookings from companies unable to comply with this. We will have a detailed and embedded culture of sustainability amongst our exhibitors with a continuous feedback loop to help improve their carbon impact. We will be able to accurately measure and offset any remaining carbon impact.

Section 4 – Developing tools to support our visitors in reducing their environmental impact

  • By March 2021 we will have created an advisory booklet and messaging that encourages visitors to attend sustainably. We will offer visitor support tools such as bags for life, water fountains and carbon offsets. We will start to measure the environmental impact of our visitors
  • By March 2022 we will have an objective way of measuring the environmental impact of our visitors. We will dynamically serve advice on how to reduce their impact or offset it.
  • By March 2023 visitors will be able to automatically offset their environmental impact and receive dynamically served advice on how to reduce it at point of booking. We will be able to accurately measure and offset any remaining balance.

Section 5 – Offsetting

Our plans for 2021 and 2022 are to build accurate tools to measure the environmental impact of our event across 4 sections. Our is to continually MEASURE and REDUCE on a quarterly basis before considering offsetting options.

By 2023 we will have been able to measure accurately across all 4 areas above and then select an offsetting partner and ensure that the event is carbon neutral.

Project Ownership

The sustainability working group will consist of the following people:

  • Verity O’Brien (General Manager)
  • Jo Tyler (Marketing Director)
  • Matt Lambert (Operations Director)
  • Mike Seaman (CEO)

Section leads are:

Section 1 – Raccoon Events [email protected]
Section 2 – Our Suppliers [email protected]
Section 3 – Our Exhibitors [email protected]
Section 4 – Our Visitors [email protected]
Section 5 – Offsetting [email protected]

For questions or suggestions about our sustainability policy please contact [email protected]

Sustainability is very important to us and our aim is to offset the environmental impact of our event at every stage in the production chain. This page will be regularly updated with our latest sustainability initiatives, these include:

  • Challenging all contractors to be more sustainable and actively de-selecting companies that are not making efforts in this area
  • Accreditation process for exhibitors based on sustainability
  • Carbon offset for all event associated activities
  • Integrated carbon offset to visitor registration pathway

Our aim is to offset the environmental impact of our event at every stage in the production chain. We challenge our contractors to be more sustainable and actively de-select companies that are not making efforts in this area. In addition to this, we have introduced a range of initiatives that aim to make it as easy as possible for our visitors and exhibitors to manage the impact of their attendance at the show.

We have summarised our sustainable initiatives below but we are always open to new ideas so if there is anything else that you think we should be doing then please contact me at [email protected]

Meeting notes:

Sustainability strategy review meeting 1 – 12 May 2020

In attendance: Mike Seaman, Matt Lambert, Verity O’Brien and Jo Tyler

Sustainability policy has been formally agreed.

Action points :

  • Management – to communicate internally to all staff
  • All staff – Reduce travel to meetings, more meetings to take place on zoom, where possible train to meetings, staff to look at using public transport or lift sharing to work were possible.
  • Marketing – Check server supplier and their sustainability policy.
  • Marketing – Look for carbon offset provider and integrate with box office in order to offer visitors a way to offset their travel to the show.
  • Operations – Matt is looking into carbon neutral carpet options, or for us to go carpet free from year 1.
  • Those in attendance: Moving forward we are going to have quarterly meetings.

Next meeting will be 14th September.

Venue Initiatives – The NEC

  • The NEC is a zero to landfill venue with an average recycling rate of circa 80%
  • Mixed recycling and General waste is transported to a local plant just 7 miles from site where it is sorted and recyclables removed
  • Recyclable material is transported to a second plant in Wolverhampton where it undergoes further sorting, grading, is bulked and enters the commodities market
  • Remaining waste is utilised as waste to Energy, and generates electricity for homes and businesses in the Birmingham area
  • Any residual ash from the Waste to Energy process is used in road building scheme
  • Food waste is separated on site and taken 4 miles to the Severn Trent Anaerobic Digestion Plant
  • The food is composted and the resulting methane generates electricity to power the local sewage plant, with excess put back into the National Grid
  • The resulting compost is sold on to local farmers as fertilise
  • Segregated glass waste is taken to a processor in Walsall
  • High quality glass cullet from the processing is used to make further glass bottles
  • Lower quality cullet is used in road building
  • Metal waste is collected as a mixed load and transported to a processor 5 miles from the NEC
  • Large wood waste items are segregated and taken to a local processor less than 3 miles from the venue
  • Wood is sorted and utilised in various ways depending on the grade such as reclaimed/reused, biomass pellets, animal bedding, wood chippings for use on land
  • Pallets are collected, stored  and taken to a local company 2 junctions up the M42
  • Here they are checked/repaired and re-distributed into the transport industry
  • Our policy is that waste should not travel more than 30 miles from site, minimising carbon emissions and supporting local businesses
  • We have a fleet of waste vehicles based on site, so no unnecessary travelling takes place, further minimising emissions
  • We regularly find alternative ways to deal with discarded items, such as donating them to local community groups for reuse
  • Past donations include supporting community cafes with chairs and tables, community garden projects with soil/hardcore/bark, local hostels with excess food, counselling organisations with office furniture 

 

Last Updated: 03/07/2020

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