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By 2050 the event industry aims to be carbon neutral: Find out what Leeds’ independent venues are doing to secure a greener future

Choosing Leeds for your next event means choosing a city that is working to reduce its carbon footprint, reduce pollution and noise, to promote cycling and walking and the use of public transport whilst building sustainable infrastructure for the future. 

Leeds has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2030. As the conferencing bureau for the city of Leeds, Conference Leeds is committed to: 

  • Reducing carbon emissions by walking and using public transport for site visits and business events. 
  • Supporting Leeds hotels and venues with their green credentials.
  • Eliminating printed promotional materials. 
  • Supporting event organisers to organise exceptional events in Leeds that are low carbon and sustainable. 

With COP26 taking place in Glasgow at the end of the month, world leaders will be coming together to complete and implement the Paris Agreement to build a greener and more sustainable future and aim to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. To support the reduction of carbon emissions, the event industry will launch the Net Zero Carbon Event Initiative at COP26 with an aim for the industry to be carbon neutral by 2050

As part of Independent Venues Month, we uncovered some of the sustainability practices at Leeds’ independent venues. From reusable or biodegradable catering packaging and championing locally sourced food to promoting sustainable travel for all staff and reducing energy consumption, Leeds independent venues are doing their part to secure a greener future. 

Reduce, reuse and recycle 

Recycling and using recycled materials is a simple and effective way that venues and delegates can reduce waste to help reduce carbon emissions. However Leeds’ independent venues have taken this a step further and implemented recycling and waste reduction practices across their venues to maximise ways they can reduce their carbon footprint. 

On top of using compostable take away containers at its Sheaf St Cafe, Duke Studios provides designated food waste, mixed recycling and glass recycling bins to eliminate waste and to promote recycling. To encourage delegates and staff to be more environmentally conscious and sustainable at home, Duke Studios are educating residents on what materials belong where through information and community engagement. 

To reduce its environmental impact, Horizon has made a commitment to using only 100% biodegradable catering packaging to ensure their events are not contributing to landfill waste. Horizon has also focussed on ways they can reduce their paper waste by eliminating printed marketing collateral. 

Buy locally sourced food 

Buying locally sourced food has sustainability benefits as it reduces carbon emissions created from transportation, while providing healthy food and supporting the local economy. 

To improve food sustainability across the city, Catering Leeds will be launching a healthy, low carbon menu in primary schools with more than 182 schools eligible to benefit from the initiative. 

Providing exceptional catering and food is a priority for events at all Leeds’ independent venues and so many use local suppliers to not only provide low carbon menus but to avoid food waste and to ensure quality and freshness. 

At The Studio, all of their food is responsibly sourced with a focus on local where possible and 50% is plant based to significantly reduce their environmental impact. To limit food waste, lunches are individually portioned and if there is any wastage, it is either donated to local charity or distributed via food surplus app, Too Good To Go. 

The Terrace has found value in working with local caterers like Catering Yorkshire, who champion locally sourced food and deliver amazing dishes with a local twist like Yorkshire Tapas. Alongside working with Catering Yorkshire, The Terrace source their coffee beans and milk from local suppliers while proudly serving Yorkshire Tea products which are certified carbon neutral ‘from field to shelf.’

Switch off 

Improving energy efficiency is key to building a more sustainable and greener future. It also provides an opportunity for independent venues to cut costs by reducing their energy consumption.

Across Leeds, nearly 4,500 social and private properties have been retrofitted to improve energy efficiency and once completed, the project will reduce the city’s carbon footprint by 5,000 tonnes. 

Independent venues in Leeds are committed to ongoing reduction of energy consumption to minimise their carbon footprint and to ensure their venues are as sustainable as possible. 

At the heart of the cultural sector, Northern Ballet have switched energy suppliers to one that can provide a higher percentage of electricity from renewable sources. To further improve the sustainability of the venue, Northern Ballet will be installing solar panels on their rooftop to generate their own electricity. 

Leeds Conservatoire has made energy saving a core principle of their sustainability practices. With the installation of motion sensors and LED lighting across the estate, coupled with a switch off policy to ensure the venue conserves energy to be as sustainable as possible. 

Travel by foot, bike or public transport 

Encouraging sustainable travel whether by foot, bike or public transport is an easy and effective way for individuals and venues to reduce their carbon footprint. 

Leeds has a vision to become a city where residents don’t need to own a car. Leeds City Council alongside its partners is transforming the public transport and walking and cycling infrastructure in Leeds through a £270 million investment that will reduce CO2 emissions by 15,947 tonnes. 

With funding from City Connect, Duke Studios offer three pool bikes that guests can hire for free. Duke also offers plenty of bike storage and shower facilities to encourage their staff and residents to make greener commutes and to travel more sustainably wherever possible. 

Northern Ballet has prioritised promoting sustainable travel for its staff by allocating space within the site to provide a new secure cycle storage facility. This will encourage staff to cycle to work whenever they like all while reducing the Northern Ballet’s carbon footprint. 

To meet the 2050 carbon neutral target set by the event industry, Leeds’ independent venues have committed to implementing a range of sustainability initiatives and practices to reduce their environmental impacts and to contribute to securing a greener future.