Sustainability at MEET South West 2020

When MEET South West was launched in 2019, one of the key objectives was to make the event as sustainable as possible. Now the 2020 show is around the corner (Friday 31st January, Mercure Bristol Grand), we have looked back to see what further steps have been made during this year’s planning through both the programme, with our partners and our exhibitors.

MEET South West is the #1 show for the events industry in the South West. Bringing together people who plan meetings, conferences and events to MEET with 60 venues, suppliers, event services and event agencies. There is also a curated programme of 14 expert speakers sharing their knowledge and expertise.

Kicking off the afternoon programme, we are delighted to welcome Tiina Wastie from the Soil Association to share what practical steps and hard work she has undertaken to ensure their events are as sustainable as possible. Tiina will be sharing case studies and will be able to offer advice and guidance to event planners keen to take bolder steps.

We have also been working with our Delivery Partners to maximise the opportunities for the show:

The Mercure Bristol Grand work to strict guidelines via their parent company, Accor’s Planet 21 programme, which outlines their ambitious goals for 2020. Two of these key areas are the sourcing of their food and their buildings – tricky when you were built in 1809!
A few areas specific to highlight and see in action at the event:

  • Plant for the Planet – a proportion of business revenue goes directly towards replanting trees within the UK and Ireland.
  • Food waste is strictly managed. Lunches and dinners are not offered on a daily basis so any meals are made to order. Items from the breakfast buffet are sold at cost price to the local market which is then distributed to Shelter accommodation, low income households, donations and students.
  • Energy is provided by a supplier with strong sustainable initiatives and they have LED lighting
  • As well as their paint and flooring, all amenities are eco-friendly and all toiletries are under review to be provided in bulk not in the individual single-use bottles.
  • Where is can be, waste is recycled and all food waste is separated and used as a compost

The venue will also be serving all drinks from washable crockery, cutlery and glassware and they welcome all attendees to bring their own reusable coffee cups and water bottles to fill up with – they won’t be using takeaway cups and lids!

So at MEET South West, you won’t see a single plastic straw provided by the venue, sugar is the cube variety and biscuits will not individually wrapped.

For the second year, MEET South West is in a city centre location as we encourage you all to take public transport again – Get a train into Bristol Temple Meads with our Travel Partner GWR then we are a quick 15 minute walk. You can also take advantage of a discount when you attend a business event in the city and travel on the GWR network with up to 80% on their conference discount tickets. Bristol Ferry Boats can drop you off at the City Centre and then it’s a quick walk to the hotel, and the City Centre and Broadmead are well serviced by First Bus from destinations all over the city. There are also plenty of bike racks at the top of Broad Street.

We are also reducing landfill with event-specific equipment and collateral. Our Delivery Partners Colour Studios and Evans AV & Staging are providing us with recyclable branding and signage collateral, which for an event is crucial. All of Colour Studios displays use at least 75% recycled materials and are all 100% recyclable at the end of life. For the second year, Colour Studios have offered a special package for any of our exhibitors looking to refresh their visuals for MEET South West and beyond. Evans will be using stock walling and fully recyclable graphic wraps, of which we are using fewer this year. All their kit is also hired and not brought for the occasion. There will be no foamex used by MEET South West, yippee!

For 2020 it’s ‘goodbye’ printed show guide and ‘hello’ the all new Event App via our Delivery Partner EventsCase. The app will include all the information you need including the programme, speaker profiles, exhibitor listings and floor plan; not to mention the networking opportunities it provides, and the QR code for lead capture when connecting with people at the show. Attendees can load their profile before the 31 January if they opt in to make their profile public and start networking before the show!

We are also working again with our Delivery Partner Event Reference to bring attendees their print on demand badging solution – we saved so much paper last year by only printing name badges when attendees arrived and scanned the barcode on their joining instructions. This was for everyone not just delegates – the event team, partners, exhibitors and our speakers!

Due to the success of #BYOL last year (Bring Your Own Lanyard) we will be doing the same again this year. Event professionals are swimming in lanyards from various events and shows so we are encouraging everyone to choose their favourite one or one which maybe a talking point and bring with them. The only lanyards we will be handing out are for delegates who don’t wish to be photographed as a form of identification so don’t forget to #BYOL

Our exhibitor, and 2019 speakers, Ignition DG will be bringing a living wall to the exhibition and they are committing to planting a tree based on the number of visitors to their stand who connect with them online.

We have worked hard all year to bring in more initiatives and work with suppliers who share our vision. We are delighted to be working with our partners, exhibitors and suppliers who continue to support us in this objective.