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Fight the Flab

January 8, 2008

2008 is here I for one am truly greateful, for another year no more turkey no more mulled wine and best of all no more Xmas pudding.


We are resolved to fight of the flab with a new and deeper push to better our sustainable credentials. What are we doing?


         Building on the Green Mark accreditation we won at the very end of 2007, of a possible 36 points we achieved 29, 80%.


         We are introducing a whole new set up menus for spring 2008; at a minimum we insist from our suppliers that all products are entirely traceable right back to their source. That’s the minimum we are hoping to gradually go much further, i.e.


o       By the year end we will be able to guarantee that none of the inputs into our centre catering or otherwise have been air transported at any stage.

o       All inputs without exception to be subject to a rigorous analysis as laid out by the centre’s new purchasing policy, the number one determinant (more important than price) being the inputs environmental impact.

o       Wherever a reliable supplier can be identified shifting to ISO 14001 accredited entities.


         We are building what we believe is the first carbon calculator specifically designed for a conference venue. Using this tool we will be able to quantify and then offset all the carbon emitted as a result of that conference, i.e. not just the carbon resulting from the operation of the centre but also those resulting from the delegates traveling to and from the centre. Recognizing the dubious value of many carbon offset schemes we have contracted with .. In Switzerland an organization recognized by the WWF as a market leader in offsetting.


         We now recycle the vast majority of our waste; the one gaping hole is our kitchen waste. We have searched and searched for a reliable recycling route for our kitchen waste. If you scale this up to all the catering waste produced across the capital, the total amount which could be collected must be truly enormous. We are hoping to join together with a number of other venues to start a daily pick up of this waste.

  Finally we would like to work with our clients and in turn their clients (exhibitors / delegates etc) to incentivise them to reduce the sometimes enormous quantities of waste left, (delegate packs / exhibitor materials etc) We are pondering the wisdom of introducing a small surcharge i.e. £0.50p a delegate to pay for the cost of recycling the waste left. If less than say 2 recycle bins are left we will refund say £1.00 a delegate. This is not a money making scheme we would pledge that we would cover any shortfall, if a surplus we would donate it to the International Coffee Organization ( the UN agency we partner and pay up to 50% of our profits to. We would love to hear what our customers present and future make of such a proposal.

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