AEV/AEO/ESSA Sustainability Working Group meeting, October 1 2015


AEV/AEO/ESSA Sustainability Working Group meeting, October 1 2015

13 Nov 2015

The cross association Sustainability Working Group, which is convened by the Association of Event Venues, had its final meeting of 2015 at The Crystal, London, on 1 October 2015. The chair, Sîan Richards of Olympia, welcomed some new faces to the well attended meeting before embarking on the business of the day.

The guest speaker for the event was Ruth Holdroyd of Oakleaf Business Solutions, who introduced 'The MICE machine', a resource set up to encourage and support greater sustainability amongst the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions/events industry. After introducing 'The MICE Machine', Ruth went on to examine the significance of ISO20121 – the international standard accreditation for sustainable events and the benefits of accreditation and the obstacles to achieving it.  She explained how ISO20121, and BS8901 before it, had been drafted by event specialists as a voluntary standard, and what the various certificate options were.

The working group then discussed their own experiences of ISO 20121 certification, with some members reporting they were minded not to renew their certification. Ruth Holdroyd took the opportunity to highlight other certification standards that might be more appropriate including ISO 5001 and ISO 14001 which are tailored to sustainable environmental and energy practices respectively.

There followed an insightful presentation from David McDonald of Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre( AECC)  charting the its journey to ISO 20121 certification, and how it forged partnerships with recycling and green waste firms to drive down the amount of waste it sent to landfill.

David detailed the progress of AECC since 2003, following its ambition to create a fully sustainable business, and rounded off his presentation with a short video of the new AECC venue destined to open in 2018.

In the round table discussion that followed, several topics and issues were raised including how venues cope with food waste. Members discussed the disadvantages of macerators, and the legal pitfalls of giving unsold sandwiches to charity, as well as other options for waste disposal like de-watering plants, waste compactors and wormeries.

The group agreed to announce the vacancy for a new chair for the group following the departure of Paul Jenkins from the NEC.

The meeting ended after a positive round up of members' venue news, and a call for better representation on the group from ESSA and AEO members.





  • "Great day hosting our first AEV working group event!..WOW did I learn a lot and some great insights into how other venues work and the challenges they are trying to overcome. If you are a venue looking to network with other like minded professionals I would recommend looking at joining the AEV".
    Danielle Worker
    Corporate Events Team Leader, Silverstone Circuits Ltd
  • "“Great essential for a successful venue. The AEV provides a platform to establish consistent best practice in this field"
    Phil Wetz
    Retail & Catering Manager, ExCeL London
  • “The AEV provides collective representation for its member venues, turning individual commitment into a group effort"
    Paul Brough
    Venue Health & Safety Manager, Olympia London
  • "Proud to be part of this Cross Association discussion. I am confident in our ability to improve and progress our working platform through conversation".
    Amir Vered
    Head of eForce and IT, Olympia London (Chair of Cross Association Technology WG)
  • “The AEV is essential to the venue sector’s ability to cooperate and collaborate"
    Jazmin Beale
    Head of Marketing & Communications, Olympia London
  • “The AEV undertakes crucial work on behalf of event venues up and down the country to ensure our voice is heard. They reinforce the important role our sector plays in delivering economic impact, increasing trade, providing jobs and driving the visitor economy.”
    Lucy Merritt
    Head of Marketing and Communications, ExCeL London
  • AEV Membership is a key part of our business strategy; it has and will continue to be a core elements of our plan to support knowledge sharing in the industry and to develop both our team and the venue.
    Kate Vandenburg
    Marketing Director - Business Design Centre
  • Our team at ACC Liverpool feel indebted to the substantial work that the AEV do for our amazing industry. As the pillar association for venues across the country it’s a real privilege for our teams to participate in many of the working groups, learning and contributing to new processes which helps drive our industry forward on a national scale.
    Colm Graham
    Senior Exhibition Account Manager, ACC Liverpool
  • We have benefited hugely from all of the insight, discussion, events and networking, but it has also meant that we have been able to give back to the industry by sharing our unique experiences and professional knowledge and allowing our employees to help lead and shape the Association from the inside.
    Mathew James
    Head of Brand, Telford International Centre
  • “The AEV has been an invaluable asset to us as a company and the wider industry, helping to lobby on the industries behalf, consolidating and distributing information and facilitating vital knowledge sharing.”
    Charlie Hodgson
    Managing Director at The Kia Oval