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Olympia London: a continued focus on sustainability for positive impact

The venue shares how its staff initiative is contributing towards a greener and more inclusive events industry.

Launched in 2017, the Grand Plan is Olympia London’s sustainability grassroots staff initiative. Determined to make a positive impact in the local community and contribute towards a greener and more inclusive events industry, the ‘Grand Planners’ set to work guided by three pillars: ‘Community’, ‘Environment’ and ‘Engage, Educate and Empower’.

Siân Richards, Head of Sustainability says: “Driving our commitment to sustainability, the Grand Planners are a team of passionate volunteers from across the business. These committed individuals have continued to advocate green practices, connected our communities and empowered our staff, service partners and industry peers. We couldn’t have done it without them.” 

Pushing sustainability to the top of the agenda with initiatives ranging from supporting local charities and schools to maintaining the venue’s record of sending zero waste to landfill for over a decade, Olympia London shares its latest sustainability report, accounting for pre-pandemic stats. 
 

Zero waste to landfill 
Thanks to its waste management programme, which includes partnering with some of the best services in Europe, and engagement with partners, clients and visitors, Olympia London has continued to achieve sending zero waste to landfill for over a decade. The recycling rate now stands at 98.3% and the remainder is used as waste for energy. 

Food waste reduction 
Partnering with ethical suppliers, engaging with event organisers and national campaign ‘Guardians of Grub’ saw Olympia London reduce its food waste by 17% in the last quarter of 2019, resulting in an overall cut of 3.6% for the whole year, pre-pandemic. The venue launched a complete zero waste show-floor restaurant with all produce sourced locally.  

“Maintaining the goal of making a difference and having a positive impact in our areas of influence led our Grand Plan to progress our green objectives and enhance Olympia London’s position as a sustainability leader. I’m particularly delighted that in 2019, we managed to reduce food waste by 17%, with a view to completely eliminating it in the future.” 
Anna Golden — Commercial Director and Grand Planner

Single-use plastics 
Olympia London  is continuing its drive to eliminate single-use plastics by starting in-house: updating its Green Office Charter and commissioning an independent plastics audit to inform next steps. It also subscribed to the Meetings Industry Association’s pledge to reduce single-use plastics and implemented a series of partnerships and show-floor measures to  help meet this goal. 

Community engagement  
Inclusion has always been one of the Grand Plan’s priorities. Olympia London’s community engagement saw donations to local charities and schools reach almost £40k in 2019. Other initiatives included staff volunteering in company time, free community events and partnering with various local charities to support their cause. 

Taking peers and friends on the journey
From showcasing educational show-floor waste management stands at various events, sponsoring workshops for a cross-association sustainability working group to placing sustainability at the heart of Olympia London’s new customer working group, the venue wants to continue leading the industry towards a more sustainable future. This also included inviting competitors to a special educational day showcasing how to also become a zero to landfill venue. 

“Recognising the events industry’s impact on the planet and its contribution to society, Olympia London has incorporated sustainability at the core of everything we do, from engaging with our communities to sharing expertise with industry peers.” Nigel Nathan — Managing Director
 

View the full Grand Plan report