Soroptimist International mark centenary year in Belfast with “Climate for Change” conference
Soroptimist International Great Britain & Ireland (SIGBI) will this week host its 88th Federation Conference at ICC Belfast, ten years on from their last conference in the city.
Marking its centenary year, the conference, titled “Belfast 2022 – Climate for Change”, will focus on four key themes; education, health, environment and women and gender equality.
In anticipation of the conference's arrival in Belfast, the positive social impact and legacy has already been felt across the city. Belfast has formed part of Soroptimist International’s mission to plant 100,000 trees across the world. More information can be found here: What’s Your Story – #PlantTrees
Belfast is ranked 19th in the world by the Global Destination Sustainability Index, confirming the city’s tourism ambitions to be a sustainable destination of the future. Visit Belfast, the City Region’s destination marketing and management organisation, and ICC Belfast have worked closely with SIGBI to identify ways to reduce the environmental impact and increase the social benefits of the event. With the aim to lead transformational change before, during and after the conference, SIGBI has partnered with Compassion Belfast, with delegates being asked to bring items such as toiletries, mittens and socks to be distributed to local food banks and Women’s Aid shelters in Belfast.
Hospitality Belfast will serve a vegetarian lunch at the conference, reducing the carbon impact of the catering by 75%, providing a total saving of 162,707 gCO2e or the equivalent of 415 miles driven in a petrol car. SIGBI has also worked to greatly reduce printed material used within the conference.
Promoting Belfast as a responsible and sustainable tourism and conference destination is one of Visit Belfast’s key priorities post-pandemic. By proactively working with event organisers including SIGBI, the city tourism and events industry is committed to learn and adopt global best practices and by doing so supporting the city’s ambition to transition to an inclusive, net zero emissions, climate-resilient city in a generation.
Speaking ahead of the conference, President of Soroptimist International London Anglia Region, Sharon Richardson said: “The amazing energy of Belfast and meeting friends old and new is just what we all need as we step forward during this Climate for Change.”
Welcoming the conference to Belfast, Visit Belfast’s Acting Head of Business Tourism, Sarah Gribben said: “It's great to welcome Soroptmists back to Belfast for the third time, and in their centennial year focusing on climate action, which is a strategic priority for Belfast.
In the intervening ten years since SIGBI hosted their last conference here, much has changed around the world. While tourism has been a catalyst for regeneration in Belfast, supporting thousands of jobs and livelihoods, we are working hard to ensure we rebuild the city’s tourism economy in an inclusive and sustainable way. By working with SIGBI, we are able to clearly demonstrate the positive outcomes that hosting such an influential group of women can have on our city, not only for our tourism and hospitality businesses, but our residents, communities and environment for many years to come.”
Julia Corkey, Chief Executive of ICC Belfast, said: “We are delighted to welcome Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland Conference to ICC Belfast this week, and provide them the platform to connect with one another and support their efforts to empower women and girls. It’s the first time since 2019 that the organisation has hosted an in-person conference and I am proud they have chosen our world-class venue to host this dynamic three day gathering.”