Events offer a platform to showcase the green agenda of businesses and commitments to sustainability and the provision of alternative, greener options have been steadily climbing the agenda, with Wales leading the way in both policy and practice.
The Wellbeing of Future Generations Act 2015 established Wales’ progressive reputation as the first country in the world to have legislation about improving the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales - the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act. It attracts interest from countries across the world as it offers a huge opportunity to make a long-lasting, positive change to current and future generations.
Businesses in Wales are not just implementing incremental changes to decrease their negative impact on the environment, but actively working sustainability into their business model. Moreover, those demonstrating best practice have turned to educating other businesses on future-proofing, and maximizing their contribution to the wellbeing goals, rather than seeing them as something they need to follow.
Leaders in sustainability for business events in Wales
Wales’ leading events venue, ICC Wales considers environmental impact with every move. As a new venue, cohesion with their natural environment was a priority in the design and construction process - they incorporated nature and green space through walking trails and outdoor meeting spaces. This is replicated throughout their event delivery, procuring local Welsh produce for their menus and launching fully electric bus transfers for visitors.
Danielle Bounds, Sales Director ICC Wales
Whilst their commitment to the Future Generations Act is seen as a USP to international visitors, it is more than a tick-box exercise: “We need to educate people and shout about what venues like ours are doing in Wales for future generations.”
Mirroring the sentiment of Wales as leaders in sustainability, CAT ( Centre for Alternative Technology) turns 50 in 2023. With half a century of exploring, researching and educating on sustainability under their belt, they have been instrumental in Wales’ commitment to forward thinking.
Rob Bullen, visitor marketing and business development manager, CAT
CAT has a unique learning pedagogy which brings together the nature-rich site in Mid Wales with expert theory, hands-on experience and sustainable conferencing facilities to support the delivery of everything from team building sessions and group workshops through to our Graduate School. Through hosting corporate groups, CAT teaches practical solutions for reaching a zero-carbon society that can be applied to business events, helping to make them more globally responsible.”
After returning to his home of St. Davids, Pembrokeshire after a short period of study and travel, Andy Middleton came to the realisation that there was an ‘incredible playground’ on his doorstep. As an untouched National Park, the Pembrokeshire Coast was the perfect arena for an adventure organisation to combine sustainability and education in a way that nobody else was doing at the time.
As an event venue and producer, TYF acts as the best example of itself that it can be, as it is run by people like Andy who work strategically with businesses and policymakers to create major change and run events as spaces where people are not afraid to ask the right questions.
Eco shampoo company, Faith in Nature hit headlines in 2022 as the first company to appoint nature itself to its board of directors.
Andy Middleton, TYF
By bringing the voice of nature to decisions they make, businesses lend it a sense of personality and humanity which hold them to account. Wouldn’t it be amazing if every event in Wales was asking ‘What would nature say?’ Asking that question at the right time, like we do surrounded by natural beauty at TYF, gives people a physical anchor to the reality of what it is we need to protect. It’s a question we would love to see woven into every event running in Wales.”
International organic baby and toddler food company Ella’s Kitchen booked a two day retreat with TYF for the whole business to reconnect to nature and each other – with wellbeing and a green agenda front and centre.
Catherine Allen, Ellas Kitchen
Connecting to nature was a key goal for us for this event. We believe that happy, healthy people do the best work and our team’s wellbeing is a priority. Being on the Pembrokeshire coast brought home sheer power of nature and the importance of working with what the weather and tides threw at us."
Catherine Allen further explained how the company have now joined Adventure Tours UK B Corps by setting a net zero achievement goal by 2030.
Standing on the clifftops singing to the sea and hearing about the realities of climate change brought our goal to life and was the rallying cry we needed. Educating ourselves more on nature and climate change is now part of our strategy.”
For incentive visits Adventure Tours UK has also recently obtained the B-Corp certification, and have a variety of experiences as well as bespoke options for wellbeing and low carbon incentive trips, offering clients a chance to escape the busy office and escape into nature.
'Wales on Rails' is a new project aiming to encourage visitors to travel around Wales using sustainable transport, including use of the national rail network, bus services and heritage railways. The initiative has been jointly funded by Transport for Wales’s Community Rail Partnerships and Visit Wales. Its aim is to promote the use of public transport to key tourist attractions along some of the most scenic rail networks in the world.
Meanwhile venues in the capital city of Cardiff are also leading the way by supporting the clean seas campaign, as a legacy to The Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Cardiff in 2018, and contributes to the wider local authority campaign the One Planet Cardiff campaign - to become a carbon free city and organisation by 2030.
voco® St. David’s, Cardiff, has been awarded Green Key accreditation for its environmental and sustainability efforts. The prestigious, international eco-label is awarded to tourism and hospitality businesses in recognition of their commitment to ensuring that their establishment adheres to the strict criteria stipulated by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and was assessed against 130 criteria in 13 categories. The hotel joins over 3,500 establishments worldwide who have also met the stringent criteria of the Green Key award.
Everything from the super comfy beds and toiletries, to the locally sourced ingredients on its menus is designed to reduce the hotel’s impact on the environment and reduce the use of plastics. In addition guests at voco® St. David’s, Cardiff have access to electric vehicle charging as well as an OVO E-Bike Electric Station – a five-space rack and three electric OVO Bikes which is a fun, green way for guests to explore the delights of the Welsh capital!
So it's clear the green agenda is positively impacting business events in Wales as those who have cracked the code are sharing their expertise with organisations across the country. Wales continues to attract international visitors not only through its unique policy, but through steadfast and devoted commitment to implementing it for the sake of future generations and heading towards a Net Zero Wales by 2050.