Meet in Wales has further reinforced its position as a preferred destination for sustainable business events, with the announcement of a series of initiatives that will not only attract ‘green’ leaning businesses and events, but which also incentivise more sustainable events while in Wales.
Covering ‘strategy, funding and law’ the initiatives will see Wales further extend its industrial sector strategy to embrace its growing Renewables sector, while at the same time underlining two new incentive funds that encourage sustainable activity within the event industry. These initiatives all sit alongside a series of new legislation within the destination that underpin the approach at a national, governmental level.
On a basic sales and marketing point of view, Wales will turn to focus on its blossoming renewables sector, one of its key industrial growth sectors, currently attracting investment and interest from around the word. This approach, part of its wider sector strategy, will lead to more events, looking to talk about their own sustainability initiatives, choose the destination as a backdrop to these messages.
“Increasingly, events are being used to showcase the green agenda of the businesses and brands that run them,” commented Heledd Williams, Head of Business Events, Meet In Wales. “Within Wales there is already a highly sophisticated energy and environment sector that employs over 58,000 people, generating over £4.8 billion in revenue. Additionally, many of our venues and destinations form part of this story and create really visible examples of ‘green business’.”
Last month also saw the launch of the Event Wales Sector Development Fund, which now provides financial incentives for both sustainable events, and to events that take place within the country, to behave sustainably. The funds underline the commitment from Wales to use the industry as a vehicle to spread positive sustainability messages, but also to act in a ‘greener’ way while in the destination
These initiatives are targeted towards the events industry but underpin wider government legislation and law. They also speak to a national community that is more engaged with sustainability. Wales recently introduced two pieces of legislation that sit at the heart of this ethos; the much lauded over Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act, and a new ground-breaking Bill that looks to ban all single-use plastics in the country; The Environmental Protection (Single-use Plastic Products) (Wales) Bill.
“Wales is a ‘green’ destination, recognised for our coastline, lakes, trails, mountain ranges and environmental beauty, it makes us a more naturally sustainability minded people, who care about the future of our planet and want to build businesses, innovation and research concerned with it,” continued Heledd. “The partnership between the events community, the wider Welsh government and the local business community in Wales is genuine and visible, not just though what we’re saying but the funding opportunities and laws that underpin it.”
This approach is reflected across the business events community within Wales with ICC Wales already a completely plastic free venue and offering forward thinking commitments around food miles, delegate transport (the introduction of electric buses for delegates) and the creation of Woodland Walks and Ponder Ponds within the venue.
Equally, the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), another one of the destination’s many other sustainable venues, which turns 50 this year, continues to showcase half a century of exploring, researching, and educating sustainability. CAT is based in an UNESCO Biosphere reserve and offers team building and educational workshops for business event delegations. Meanwhile, within the destination’s many incentive and outdoor businesses, TYF remains the founding B Corp in Wales and the first in the UK, using the power of play and wild learning in wild places to reconnect people to each other and the environment. More recently, Adventure Tours UK have just achieved B Corp certification, through their offer of a number of low carbon experiences based on wellbeing.
"Wales has always been a natural home for incentive travel, not least for those looking for extreme experiences that range from zip wires and sledging to caving and karting. We're also keen to encourage association and corporate meetings to extend their incentive travel or align their conference with this affinity we have with outdoors, greenery, and the preservation of it,” concluded Heledd, “Together, these initiatives present a circular approach which sees events support an advanced national sustainability strategy, and vice versa, both firmly focused on People, Place and Planet.”