In recent years, to tackle the sheer volume of landfill waste and carbon footprint generated by popular entertainment events including #sporting tournaments, #music festivals and #carnivals, a raft of organisers have announced sustainable initiatives including the London Marathon, Glastonbury and the Scottish Open. In 2018, Westminster City Council collected 5200 kg of rubbish and 3500 kg of recycling in the aftermath of the London Marathon – including about 47,000 plastic bottles.
Most recently, Glastonbury has prohibited the sale of single use plastic water bottles during the festival and urged attendees to take reusable tents, wipes and water bottles to the festival instead of single use and disposable items.
As such, testing, inspection and certification specialist Bureau Veritas has stated that while such initiatives are crucial, event organisers can still go a step further in minimising the environmental impact of large scale events.
Charlotte Matthews, assistant consultant – sustainability at Bureau Veritas, who participated in this year’s London Marathon, said: ‘As David Attenborough’s ‘Blue Planet’ effect continues to put pressure on society to take drastic action on plastic waste, it is great to see the UK’s major event organisers responding with a host of sustainable initiatives.
‘While running the London Marathon, I saw first hand the positive impact such measures can have. From giving out glucose drinks in edible pouches to allowing participants the option to run with a water belt and even introducing a unique closed loop recycling system – this year’s race was certainly the greenest in its history.
‘However, to meet the growing public expectations on reducing the environmental impact of events such as sporting events, festivals and carnivals, organisers need to act now and up their game on sustainability, especially if we are to truly transition to a greener events industry and, ultimately, society.’
From ensuring all merchandise includes plastic free packaging to introducing compulsory electronic ticketing and even rethinking flyers, freebies and samples given out for marketing – there are a number of simple measures that can make a real difference, says Bureau Veritas.
Charlotte added, ‘We understand that for many organisers – big or small – managing the sustainable aspect of event planning can be difficult and inherently complex. Our advice is to start with a strategy that creates a positive environmental culture incorporating best practice into all aspects of an organisation and its events, and then improving on that through regular auditing and verification.’
Bureau Veritas has experience and technical expertise in helping organisers of large scale events improve their sustainability performance. This includes verifying claims of zero waste to landfill and carbon neutrality, supporting organisations plan their sustainability strategy as well as guidance and support to achieve accurate data collection to inform analysis of the performance of the event.