Bringing the outdoors into your event
Danielle Bounds, sales director, ICC Wales, explains how making use of green spaces has more benefits than you think.
Many of us have experienced a renewed appreciation for the natural world because of the pandemic. From parks and gardens to forests and moors, green spaces provided a solace for many during lockdown, as well as a place to exercise and meet friends safely.
Green space has also become highly sought-after, and many people have chosen to relocate from cities and urban environments to rural locations.
We recently updated our Great Outdoors Report to reflect this new chapter in meetings and events. The report explores how integrating the natural environment into our events can help us address some of the key challenges we face going forwards.
As well as helping to keep sustainability front of mind, incorporating nature into our events can help relieve stress, boost creativity and productivity, and ultimately create more engaging event experiences. In addition, in this ‘new normal’, delegates want a fresh experience, and they are likely to be pickier about which events they choose to attend, favouring those which offer mental, wellbeing, creativity and productivity benefits.
A green future for Wales
We all know that protecting the environment is now more urgent than ever.
Glasgow is the host city for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). Not only is this a fantastic opportunity for Scotland but for the UK in showing its commitment to change. COP26 aims to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
This is pressing because, as the latest IPCC report (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) which was released in August made clear, scientists are observing changes in the Earth’s climate in every region and across the whole climate system.
Many of the changes observed in the climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, and some of the changes already set in motion – such as continued sea level rise – are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years.
However, strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change.
Here in Wales, we take climate change incredibly seriously. Wales is one of the first countries in the world to have sustainability written in its statute, which continues to steer its economy in innovative new directions.
The nation is working to eliminate landfill by 2050 and the Welsh Government has pledged to make the country a low carbon economy, it has also set a target of generating 70 per cent of its electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2030.
The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 requires public bodies in Wales to think about the long-term impact of their decisions, to work better with people, communities, and each other, and to prevent persistent problems such as poverty, health inequalities and climate change.
These are not just policies; there is real action being taken across Wales to look after the environment for future generations. The great outdoors is more than just an area for leisure, recreation, and conservation. It is at the core of the country’s strategic direction.
How to embrace nature in your event
ICC Wales opened just before the pandemic, in September 2019, but we were thinking about how to incorporate nature into the venue in the planning stages.
ICC Wales is flanked by an ancient woodland known as Coldra Woods. As well as views on to the woodland from inside the venue, there is an opportunity to integrate an experience in nature for attendees, with outdoor meeting spaces including a 2,500sqm outdoor plaza. Delegates can also head out on to our running and walking trails, which are accessed from a bridge which links directly from the venue to the woodland.
For venues and organisers who are unsure how to get started, here are a few of our favourite tips on how to incorporate nature and sustainability into events. Remember, it is often the little touches that make the difference.
To read the feature in the magazine, click here.