SB'14 London Sustainability


SB'14 London Sustainability

Sustainable Brands® has always been committed to reducing the environmental impact of our own events, to sharing our knowledge, and to making a positive mark on our host communities. The event planning team worked closely with all vendors and stakeholders involved to follow a sustainable event framework. Let us share some of our work in this arena and what was planned for SB'14 London:




Recycling & Composting

The venue and suppliers worked together to reduce waste at source as well as used the hotel's well established in-house waste management system.


Carbon Neutral

100% of the carbon emissions from the event were offset by Offsetters, including delegate and staff travel and accommodation.

Local Food Sourcing

Lancaster London's chef sourced most food from local farmers and worked closely with them to reduce delivery numbers and packaging waste. They also have a thriving bee hive on the roof of their hotel, whose honey is used in dishes in the restaurant and through catering.


Paperless Event

Using CrowdCompass to develop all of the 2014 Sustainable Brands event mobile apps allowed us to make movement towards becoming a paperless event.  By creating our mobile app we were able to post venue/exhibition maps, programming updates, attendee feedback surveys, and sponsor advertising and content.


Highlighted SB'14 Sustainability Efforts:

We had plenty of efforts in place to reach these goals, and would love to share how we did it. Read on for more detailed information, and hopefully to learn how to increase the positive impact of your own event(s). If you have any questions at all or if we can help you in your efforts, don't hesitate to get in touch with Valerie Miller.

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Honey bees

Venue Selection

Lancaster London Hotel

The venue was selected for its extensive framework of initiatives and its commitment to improving year on year. The Hotel has been awarded the highest Green Tourism Gold Award and has won several other eco awards. Here are some of the highlights of their environmental and social schemes.

  • Energy Efficiency: Energy usage is monitored weekly with a consumption reduction target of 3% per year. Lighting is 95% LED or wattage reduced halogen lights and runs mainly with occupancy sensors, inverter units have been installed on pumps and motors, and energy reducing initiatives are tailored by department. In 2014 the boilers will be changed and a plant replacement project will be started.
  • Transportation: A cycle to work programme is in place and regular staff transport surveys are undertaken. Public transport and jogging and walking maps are promoted by the concierge.
  • Waste Reduction: A full waste system operates. Mixed recycling is hand sorted from the guest waste by the dedicated in-house Green Team, glass water bottles are reused by the Hotel, food is collected and composting systems operate in the kitchens, cardboard is bailed and flat packed, printer and toner cartridges are picked up by Office Green, lost property and staff clothing is donated to The Passage, Pillows are free cycled to staff and Salvation Army has received some old furniture. Batteries and fluorescent light tubes are separated and disposed of correctly.
  • Toxic Chemical Elimination: Phosphate free soaps and detergents, chlorine free products used in dishwashers and cleaning products.
  • Water Conservation: Bathrooms feature low flow shower heads and sensor basin taps, toilet flushes have been reduced to 4 – 5 litres per flush, sensors operate on the urinals, linen replacement program in guestrooms with opt-out option.
  • Community Involvement: The Rooftop Honey Farm supports the urban honey bee population. The honey produced is used by the chefs and is also given as gifts to guests and clients alike. The London Honey Show promoting awareness and best practices was created by our Green Team and is held at Lancaster Hotel every year. If you would like to know more, please visit


Lancaster London Head Chef and F&B Team

Much effort and focus was put in to the menu selection and sourcing of the food, in collaboration with the Chef and team at Lancaster to ensure a lower impact from the food served at the conference. We also took advantage of the opportunity to educate the audience about food choices; to show that it is possible to choose lower impact options without sacrificing flavour or nutrition - even on a large scale.

  • Local Sourcing: Menu items are sourced from local and organic farms wherever possible
  • Seasonal Produce: Menus are built around seasonal produce for mains and banqueting.
  • Meat and Eggs: Meat is sourced from British farmers and all eggs are certified free range. Provenance is promoted to guests.
  • Waste Reduction: In-house EcoPure water filtration is used to provide drinking water in reusable glass bottles, condiments are served in bulk, all drinks are served in bulk (except for a small selection of soft drinks and bottled beer), all food and beverage is served on china and silverware.
  • Waste Diversion: Comprehensive composting and recycling program is in place during food prep and throughout the Hotel and conference venue.
  • Low Impact Options: Each catered meal includes a vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free option; some meals are served entirely vegetarian or vegan, including the main evening event of the conference; all plated meals are fully vegetarian or vegan by default
  • Less waste, more taste: You can help reduce the volume of food waste by taking smaller portions from the buffets and returning for seconds when needed!

Waste Reduction

In collaboration with all vendors and exhibitors

The entire planning process is focused on reducing waste as much as possible, and this is where a lot of the decision that affect the final impact is made. There are more efforts in this arena than we even have room to mention, but let us go through some of the main areas where we work hard to reduce waste in the planning process:

  • Design and Signage: All signage is printed on recyclable materials like cardboard and wood, and a lot of it on materials that are already recycled, like our banners who are all printed on fabric that once used to be PET bottles. Moreover, we only print what is necessary and design our signage so that they can be reused over several years.
  • Activation Hub Floor: Sustainability guidelines are distributed to all exhibitors and they are encouraged to be innovative, utilise sustainable and practical giveaways, reduce printing and not print dates or event name on the materials so they can reuse them later, and we enforce a pack-in, pack-out policy, meaning everything they bring to the event, they have to bring back with them.
  • Gift Lounge and Give-aways: We use the gift lounge to showcase sustainable products, and to help promote and enable sustainable lifestyles. Instead of a gift bag to all attendees, we supply the gifts in a lounge where attendees choose what they want to take home. We do not accept typical swag items like pens and bottle openers with logos on them; we encourage useful and educational products from our sponsors. You can help us by only taking what you will really use or give to others! At previous conference, we've given away compost bins for your home kitchen, reusable drinking cups, bags made from recycled billboards, natural self-care products, healthy snacks, biodegradable watches, seed bombs, etc. Yes, we could get rid of the gift lounge and all the 'stuff' all together, but we believe in showcasing solutions to encourage a better lifestyle, not boycotting products altogether.
  • Reduced Paper: Engaging CrowdCompass, we have designed and built a mobile app for our events. Giving online access at the tap of a smartphone to full and daily schedules, speaker bios, and all the vital event info including direct links to social media and workshop reviews. A great way to massively reduce paper consumption across the event. Get involved with the app to keep updated!
  • Responsible Procurement: All participants, suppliers, exhibitors and sponsors have been asked to be responsible with their supply chain choices and choose conscious suppliers. Emphasis is put on sustainable material use, innovative sustainable design, reusing or reducing packaging, and choosing local products and services.

Waste Diversion

It's all about Collaboration

We are working closely with the conference venue to implement a comprehensive waste diversion system to separate recyclables, compostables and waste for pre-event and days-of production efforts. What we found couldn't be reduced in the planning phase, we are focused on diverting away from landfill in the execution phase. Here's how we plan it:

  • Sustainability Team: This year with increasing workload on the SB team we engaged Gayle Murphy of Global Green Events to ensure a focus remained on our Sustainability initiatives while fine tuning our systems and communications. Updating guidelines, working on website and app content and encouraging more engagement with our initiatives. Working alongside the participants, suppliers and venue throughout the event GGE and the Hotels Green Team will ensure our efforts are followed through. The Green Team are a team of people that work year round at the venue as ambassadors for everything sustainable, from the beekeepers on the roof to the amazing team who carry out the hand sorting of guest waste, recycling and composting.
  • Recycling: A comprehensive sorting station at the back of house allows the Green Team to sort all waste before going in to correct dumpsters; recycling stations will be put on the expo floor, recycling bags and guides will be added to all guest rooms to encourage collaboration, and all materials planned with reusability in mind. You can do your bit by ensuring you are using the right bins on site, using the recycling bags in your rooms to help the Green Team reduce their workload, and inspiring others to do the same.
  • Composting: An excellent food collection and composting system is set up at the venue and will be making the most of the leftovers from your plates and food prep!
  • Donations: Any leftover materials or items from the gift lounge were donated to local organizations

Energy Conservation and Carbon Measurement

In partnership with the Lancaster London & AV team

The venue and suppliers are aware of energy reduction measures included in the event sustainability framework including:

  • Enforcing a power-down policy for electronic equipment when not in use
  • Adjust indoor air temperatures to match with when meeting rooms are in use
  • Reducing heating/cooling during set-up and teardown
  • Eliminate idling for vehicles when not in use

Offset Programs

In partnership with Offsetters

Where we are not able to reduce our impact any further, we partner with offset organizations to offset or restore the resources spent, by supporting projects that do so elsewhere. Our offset programs include:

  • Carbon: All carbon emissions produced by the event, including conference venue, hotel rooms, staff and attendee travel are offset by our Official Carbon Offset Partner, Offsetters

Event Planning Office

San Francisco, CA

Most of the conference planning happens from our headquarters in San Francisco. Our office follows these practices throughout the year, and for all events we work on:

  • Recycling, composting and e-waste collection throughout the office
  • Minimal printing on 100% recycled paper
  • All ink cartridges, batteries, lightbulbs etc are recycled
  • Permanent Terracycle bins for wrappers, pens etc that can't go in the municipal waste-stream
  • Non-toxic cleaning products throughout
  • Office kitchen features china, silverware and glassware (no disposables), fair trade organic coffee, and condiments in bulk.

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