In our latest Excellence in Practice feature, we talk sustainability with Naomi Cooper, Business Development Manager at Lancaster Conferences +.
The University prides itself on its commitment to sustainability and to supporting the environment, with all of its recently refurbished buildings achieving ‘Very Good’ BREEAM rating – the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for infrastructure and buildings.
Here, Naomi gives us an insight into how Lancaster Conferences + is living and breathing sustainability throughout everything it does:
What initiatives have been introduced at Lancaster Conferences + to ensure sustainability?
We’ve introduced a number of new initiatives over the last year, to encourage our delegates to think greener and help us support sustainability wherever possible.
One of the biggest investments we’ve made is the introduction of our conference app. The app has been designed to encourage delegates and event organisers to steer away from paper programmes and delegate guides, providing digital resources instead.
The app, which is free of charge, allows conference organisers to upload their event’s agenda, maps of the conference and even links in with the conference’s social media feeds, to create a community element across the event.
Since its launch in spring 2018, there’s been more than 10,000 sessions of the app and nearly 50,000 hits. The Professional Services Conference in April 2018 used the app exclusively, saving the printing of more than 200 paper programmes.
Additionally, we’ve made numerous other changes including shifting our marketing activity away from printed materials into almost exclusively digital assets, changing from paper to digital feedback forms, switching the pens we use to ones made from recycled plastic and introducing a travel policy that actively encourages car share and greener commuting.
And, we’ve made changes across our catering service, too.
The packed lunches we offer delegates are now served in recyclable containers, with clear information visible on the packaging to ensure delegates do recycle them after use, and each of our four catering vans is electric.
Plus, in our kitchen, we’ve introduced a digital system to cut back on paper wastage.
Historically our kitchen team would print out the schedules and menus for each event we hosted, whereas now they have a live digital screen.
All of these initiatives are helping us vastly cut back on paper usage and, in turn, ensuring we’re a more sustainable conference destination.
How important would you say sustainability is to delegates, and how can they get involved?
Sustainability is becoming increasingly important to delegates and, as a venue, it’s up to us to lead the way and play our part in making our offering more environmentally friendly, encouraging greener behaviours wherever we can.
As it’s such a core value for us at Lancaster University, we actively promote sustainability to those who use our venue for events.
Incorporating green initiatives into events is a great way to do this, for example, we’ve hosted green initiatives such as tree planting ceremonies as part of events in the past.
And, through the university’s well documented green initiatives, including the onsite wind turbine which is projected to generate up to 17 percent of Lancaster University’s annual electricity consumption, we can give delegates the reassurance that our sustainability values are credible and making real change.
Accreditations such as BREEAM and Food for Life accreditation – which assures delegates that we’re serving fresh, sustainability sourced food across campus – also give event organisers and attendees real confidence that they’re choosing a sustainable venue.
Sustainability is set to become a bigger and bigger factor in how event organisers choose a venue and venues need to respond. At Lancaster Conferences + we’re proud to be at the forefront of this movement.