Fitzroy Hutchinson, Energy and Sustainability Manager at ICC Wales and The Celtic Collection, discusses how the South Wales venues collaborate with agencies and clients to meet their sustainability goals, and the value of this collaborative approach to the meetings and events industry.
What green initiatives should event organisers know about before booking an event at ICC Wales or The Celtic Collection?
The Celtic Collection is looking to work with individuals and organisations that are working towards, or currently have, an environmental management system or policy of their own. This approach is designed to ensure as much as possible that any and all activity undertaken by the Collection has as minimal an impact on the environment as possible, in turn demonstrating a positive environmental standard.
Various sustainable features and policies have been implemented across The Celtic Collection and ICC Wales which directly affects the way meetings and events work across the portfolio. This ranges from the Collection’s procuring of locally grown products to create menus around seasonal ingredients, to reducing packaging waste by using recyclable packaging where possible, to our free-to-use hydration stations. To further this, ICC Wales has committed to being a no single-use plastic venue, and visitors receive a free reusable bottle to use during their time with us.
The Celtic Collection’s Environmental Management Policy encourages delegates and visitors to travel sustainably, and to align themselves with The Celtic Collection’s expectations and the behaviours of a good environmental citizen. For example, at ICC Wales, more sustainable methods of public transport for visitors and delegates have been established through our partnership with First Great Western, which includes discounted rate rail fares for event attendees at ICC Wales, and Newport Bus, which offers a fully electric, zero-emissions bus service to within five minutes walk of the venue.
Protecting the environment, being observant of wildlife, and preventing land pollution is also an environmental priority across The Celtic Collection. The Celtic Manor Resort itself has 93 hectares of woodland, which annually offsets 465 tonnes of CO2, and we’re always looking at ways to maximise our woodlands and outdoor spaces to offer something unique – and greener – to guests and delegates. Nature also plays an important role at ICC Wales, where over 15,000 shrubs and trees have been planted around the venue and into the surrounding Coldra Woods. This fauna provides a habitat for local wildlife, which delegates can enjoy on a walk.
What roles do infrastructure and building design play in The Celtic Collection’s commitment to sustainability?
Across The Celtic Collection and ICC Wales our sites are controlled by Building Management Systems (BMS), which use natural daylight to reduce the amount of heating and cooling and focus on emitting the right amount of energy, in the right place at the right time. The venues also use Combined Heat and Power (CHP) technology, which generates free electricity and heat simultaneously, removing the need for consumption from both the gas and electricity networks. All of this combined has helped us to reduce our CO2 emissions.
In addition to state-of-the-art technology, we also have a food waste recycling system. We send food waste to Bryn Power’s anaerobic digestion facility to generate low-carbon electricity for the South Wales grid which has helped the venue save 20.3 tons of food waste from going into landfill, whilst also removing around 50.7 tons of CO2 emissions.
At ICC Wales, sustainability formed a huge focus in the original design of the venue. The Woodland Suite’s outdoor terraces bring fresh air and more natural daylight to events, and the 2,500 sqm of outdoor plaza space for outdoor exhibitions and breakout sessions pays homage to the building’s natural surroundings.
What are the latest developments in terms of sustainability for The Celtic Collection and ICC Wales?
The new Tesla SuperCharger Station at The Celtic Manor Resort greatly enhances the charging facilities we can provide to electric vehicle drivers. It is also a convenient service for passing motorists on the M4 as well as visitors to the Resort and ICC Wales.
We have some further projects planned for 2023, which will further champion our sustainability efforts across ICC Wales and The Celtic Collection. The schemes will be based around reducing food and general waste and improving recycling from external and internal sources. We are also looking at launching a solar panel site in 2024 at The Celtic Manor Resort, with battery storage that will help reduce electricity consumption and emissions for both Resort and ICC Wales.