Discovering event sustainability in Brussels
Posted 28th April 2022 by Nick Noakes
“Our biggest challenge in this new century is to take an idea that seems abstract – sustainable development – and turn it into a reality ”Kofi Annan
To try and turn that abstract idea into something more tangible, Global Engage has joined ISLA. This is a body that is working with the events industry to accelerate its transition to a sustainable future.
To start the journey toward sustainability, we have set initial goals that begin with measuring the CO2e cost of our meetings and require all host venues to have a sustainability policy which should include a commitment to achieving Net-Zero by the end of the decade.
With last Friday marking international Earth Day, I was delighted to be part of a visit to Brussels to discover some fascinating efforts being made in that city to deliver on the sustainability agenda.
The trip was organised with the support of Hotel Republic, Eurostar, The Hotel Brussels and Visit Brussels.
Train vs Plane
We all know the train produces less CO2e than a plane, but the difference between the two is startling. Average Eurostar CO2e emissions per passenger are around 5.8 kg. This compares to 59.7 kg for the equivalent flight. A staggering 90% reduction! With a travel time of around two hours, the decision to go by train seems obvious, especially when the station is so close to your hotel.
The Hotel Brussels has taken strenuous steps to reduce energy consumption and to produce a portion of its own energy through co-generation. It is certified by Green Key and BREEAM and says that it has attained the highest level of certification. As well as being green, the hotel is centrally located and extremely comfortable with great exhibition and meeting spaces, not to mention some great views. In addition, strenuous efforts are being made to cut food miles at the hotel.
“our aims are ambitious: along with a goal to cut water use by 20% by 2023, we also intend to reduce gas use by 25%, electricity consumption by 35% and oue overall CO2 footprint by 20% … we sre already 85% of the way to achieving these goals”The Hotel Brussels
As a step towards reducing food miles, the hotel has partnered with Europe’s largest aquaponic urban farm. This startup, combining fish and hydroponic farming for greater efficiencies is barely a kilometre from the hotel. BIGH integrates its farms with existing buildings to benefit from waste energy and reduce their environmental impact. It is designed with the circular economy in mind, and water and energy efficiency.
Not every meeting includes time to go sightseeing, but if you want to go exploring, jumping on a bike is a great way to discover the City you are in. Thanks to Provelo I was able to do just that. Finally, a great restaurant such VerTige specialising in a plant-based menu with an emphasis on sustainability and nature is always to be welcomed.
We are only at the start of this journey, but have already taken steps to remove plastic use from our conferences and increase recycling and low carbon menu choices. There is lots more to come once the measurement phase is complete.
If the carbon output from travel and meetings will affect your conference options in the future, feel free to view our current conference offerings and then ask me any questions or explain any criteria you need fulfilled. That way we can show where we currently are on this journey and what we could implement to support your growing corporate requirements.
Nick Noakes, [email protected]