Planet + Community
When it comes to events planning, sustainability has evolved from a nice-to-have to a must have. An increasing number of stakeholders want more than compostable coffee cups at the venue; they want eco creds that really mean something. Where do we point them? Firmly towards Wembley Park.
For Wembley Park’s venues, sustainability is local and it’s global. We’re talking about the impact on the local community and the impact on the planet. Both are fulfilled at Wembley Park – and not by luck, but absolutely by design. From food to carbon footprint, water to waste disposal, community to stationery, sustainability is built into the area’s venues. It’s also constantly evolving, making it not only a sustainable destination, but the destination for sustainable events. Let’s take a closer look.
Developers Quintain, who have invested more than £2.7bn in the area since its acquisition 20 years ago, describe sustainability as one of their core values and key objectives. You only need to look at the calibre of the new build venues to see this in action. The Drum at Wembley is a perfect example. This 1,000 capacity, 11-space venue sits within the new Brent Civic Centre, which is officially recognised as one of the most environmentally friendly public sector buildings in the UK, and received an outstanding BREEAM accreditation when it opened in 2013. From its energy-saving design (solar shading, natural ventilation, high-performance façade and combined cooling, heating and power (CHP) generation system) down to its responsibly sourced conference stationery, we can’t think of an events space with higher sustainable credentials.
At Wembley Park, sustainability starts on the journey. The area is blessed with a fantastic sustainable transport infrastructure, with a focus on journeys that can be made on foot, by bicycle or by public transport (the area is served by two London Underground lines, as well as a London Overground and National Rail station). There are dedicated bicycle lanes and many venues have bicycle parking. Walking and active travel is encouraged around Wembley Park and wayfinding signs make this simple and easy to do so. There’s also infrastructure for thousands of EV charging points.
Sustainable approaches to food are one of the hallmarks of Wembley Park, and there truly is something for everyone. From the 22 local food retailers at BOXPARK Wembley – a 20,000sq
ft, 7 venue event space – to the extensive plant-based menu at Wembley Stadium, minimising the carbon footprint of food is paramount to retailers here. At the Hilton London Wembley, guests can choose dishes labelled with low CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalents) to make climate friendly choices.
When it comes to waste disposal, the OVO Arena and Wembley Stadium lead the charge, with 0% waste going to landfill (BOXPARK Wembley is also working hard to achieve this). Recycling is treated with a huge amount of respect: The OVO Arena recycle all plastic, cardboard, paper, food, glass and electrical equipment, and work with their caterers to cut single-use plastic. Back at Wembley Stadium, all event day staff have received recycling training, and BOXPARK recycles their traders’ cooking oils and kitchen fats into fuel. Wembley Park benefits from the Envac waste disposal system where waste materials are sent via underground pipes and chutes to one central area for collection. This system was the first of its kind in the UK and maximises the convenience of recycling and sorting waste and reduces emissions and vehicle movements from the waste disposal trucks as there is only one collection area rather than being scattered around Wembley.
Water and energy
Both Wembley Stadium and OVO Arena use 100% renewable energy and have upgraded (or are in the process of upgrading) all lighting to LED. That includes more than 400 floodlights at the stadium! Both venues are also pursuing water saving measures, including reducing plastic water bottle consumption. Guests staying at the Hilton London Wembley will appreciate a water-saving laundry service.
People and community
Claire Masters, Head of Sustainability at Quintain, states that, “we are committed to creating and maintaining a sustainable community that benefits residents and visitors to Wembley Park whilst being kinder to the planet.” Aligned to those values, the developer supports Social Value and community investment such as educational programmes and helps local people pursue careers in the sector. Accordingly, 34% of the Wembley Park construction workforce was hired locally. With its unprecedented public realm, affordable housing, dedicated buy-to-rent homes, community spaces and green areas, the development is hugely community-focused.
The creation of a free, all-weather playpark at the heart of Wembley Park has been one of the most popular additions to the development, attracting 120,000 children a year. Both BOXPARK and Wembley Stadium offer free event tickets to local communities, and BOXPARK is committed to raising awareness and funds to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
While initiatives like these, and the many others being quietly carried out by Wembley Park venues, won’t have a direct impact on events, they are absolutely relevant, illustrating that true sustainability is not a tick-box exercise here. From The Drum to Wembley Stadium, OVO Arena to BOXPARK and The Hilton London Wembley and Novotel Wembley, food, waste, water and energy are carefully considered in order to make events as low impact as possible. Yet the deeper story of Wembley Park is one with sustainability at its centre. Twenty years ago, the area was in steep decline; now it is thriving. To come to an event here is to become part of its community, however briefly, and that – to me – is a great privilege.
Destination Wembley is here to support the placement of your events and connect you to venues in Wembley Park including Wembley Stadium connected by EE, The Drum at Wembley, OVO Arena Wembley, Wembley Park, Hilton London Wembley, Novotel Wembley, BOXPARK Wembley and London Designer Outlet.
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