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Executing at COP26

We talk to creative experiences agency, XSEM, about its role in the recent COP26 global climate summit in Glasgow.

Manufacturing a Net Zero Future

The Leeds-based agency was selected to stage a one-day conference for the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) as part of the organisation’s wider COP26 communications campaign. 

Almost 300 delegates representing global manufacturers, research and technology organisations and innovative market disruptors joined academic researchers and government representatives to discuss the challenges and aspirations for sustainable manufacturing.

‘Manufacturing a Net-Zero Future’ was designed to ensure key players in the industry collaborate to drive efficiencies, reduce waste and lead the way in the fight against the climate emergency.

Dan Bardgett, managing director of XSEM, said: “Delivering unforgettable experiences in a sustainable manner is a key focus for the XSEM team and the events industry as a whole, so the opportunity to work on this event couldn’t have come at a more relevant time.

“We are extremely proud to have been part of such an important conference, helping to make events more planet friendly with initiatives ranging from Carbon Offset schemes for travel to the recycling and repurposing of event materials.”

Deborah Findlay, head of communications, NMIS, commented: “The speed with which XSEM responded to the many and varied logistical challenges of creating a stand-out event in such a tight timeframe and in an industrial workshop space was quite remarkable. It was a huge ask but the team was more than up for the challenge, delivering an unforgettable experience for delegates and helping raise the profile of sustainable manufacturing across the globe.

“The buzz around the event even led to a visit from the official Sri Lankan Government COP26 delegation who heard about the conference while attending the nearby summit in Glasgow and decided to find out more about the novel work being done by manufacturers to combat the climate emergency. It was the icing on the cake of an outstanding conference, one I believe will be a line in the sand for the Scottish manufacturing community.”

The project

XSEM embraced the theme of COP26, using recyclable or reusable graphics, shell schemes and event structures, encouraging delegates to use public or shared transport, provided water refill stations, partnered with food redistribution companies, energy efficient equipment and implemented 'power-off policies' for all equipment when not in use.

Communications were also delivered virtually to reduce print requirements and reflect both the conference’s sustainable ethos and XSEM’s desire to deliver green, sustainable projects. This featured a social media campaign, online delegate registration, an event website and conference app.

XSEM overcame a broad range of logistical issues presented by the venue just west of Glasgow City Centre, an industrial warehouse space used primarily for research and development projects.

The agency's planning ensured access, heating, lighting and audio-visual challenges were overcome to transform the building into an inspiring venue. With audience interaction a top priority, XSEM created an ’in-the-round’ stage complete with 360-degree screens. Delegates were given headsets, enabling keynote speakers and panellists to interact with visitors throughout the building.

A dedicated exhibition space featured 25 trade stands including a selection of electric vehicles including a double-decker bus, excavator, and sports car chassis alongside demonstrations of novel manufacturing technologies to highlight the importance of resource efficient manufacturing.

The success of the event has led to early-stage plans regarding a further conference in 2022.