BARCLAYS Most Sustainable Event award

Barclays colleagues and clients, innovators, and entrepreneurs came together for the second annual Green Frontiers conference in order to discuss sustainable finance, environmental social, and corporate governance – and the products and innovations that can help fight climate change. The event aimed to highlight the business, as well as the moral, the case for green finance. 

Category : Best Sustainable Event

Sponsor : DRPG

Winner : Barclays

Event : Green Frontiers: Breaking New Ground

Location : London, UK

The Objectives
The event was aimed at a wide cross-section of attendees including customers and clients from all areas of Barclays. They needed to deliver a thought-provoking and engaging event for all stakeholders which would showcase Barclays ambition to facilitate sustainable business conversations within the communities in which they operate.

The key objectives were to promote Barclays as a leading advocate of Green Finance and a thought leader of climate considerations, to position them as a facilitator for clients as they navigate strategies concerning the opportunities and risks in Green and to promote Barclays Green Finance ambitions alongside their existing product suite.

The Challenges
The team needed to ensure all elements of the event were environmentally conscious, minimum waste to landfill, recycling and repurposing of production and theming elements and ensuring items were as local as possible to mitigate carbon emissions. 

The Event
The team wanted to ensure that they were acting as advocates for the green policies being discussed during the event. They achieved this by attracting speakers who are experts within their field and thought leaders in the field of sustainability. 

The team completed an extensive search of London venues looking for those whose operations could truly be considered to be sustainable and could accommodate their conference for 350 people in Central London. 

Prior to signing the contract with the venue, the team worked with them to agree certain sustainable practises to be observed in the delivery of the event such as no single use items, recycling facilities within the venue for both front and back of house and the menus to be vegan/vegetarian with locally sourced produce with low food wastage.

The team invited suppliers to pitch for the production element of the event. Suppliers were advised that the successful pitch would make good use of the existing audio visual set up within the venue to minimise equipment delivery and transport emissions. 

They worked with the successful production company to create a look and feel which would emphasise the focus on sustainability. There was a lot of consideration given to materials used and they always opted for reusable, recyclable items. 

Lighting and foliage projection created the ultimate green look and feel and natural sounds were played as background music in order to stimulate delegate senses. Foliage was hired from a local supplier which were collected after the event in order to be reused.

In the exhibition area they needed to showcase nine organisations. The team tasked themselves with ensuring the exhibition stands could be recycled or reused after usage. Corrugated cardboard was utilised as the main material as it was easy to transport and could be dismantled and taken away after the event by the exhibitor to be reused. The end result was highly professional and most importantly, sustainable.

As with any event, delegate experience was front of mind. The pre event invitation and onsite registration process was completely digital and all content was delivered to attendees via an app to achieve a completely paperless event. The sustainable environment complimented the content and objectives of the event. They developed an agenda to allow delegates to navigate the content like a story.

The Beginning – Set the scene by exploring the big picture of climate science with experts sharing realistic consequences of the actions businesses and consumers take today, and how these will impact our world tomorrow.

The Middle – Regulation and its power as a lever for change. Explore the dynamic landscape of politics, regulation and disclosure requirements in a low carbon economy.

The End – How can businesses successfully scale and profit in a green economy, using shared experiences of people that are launching, leading and supporting breakthrough companies. 

The Results
2019 was the second year of this conference which is now considered a flagship event in Barclays London portfolio of activity. They built on the success of the inaugural event to exceed expectations by developing a strong internal network which helped to develop a strong agenda featuring expert panel discussions and senior figures from high profile organisations. This was complemented by a thoughtful marketing campaign involving social media and internal colleague engagement.  

350 clients and colleagues were in attendance from across all areas of Barclays, an increase of 40% from 2018. They actively engaged attendees with productive and stimulating conversation.

Working in partnership with suppliers allowed them to deliver a really sustainable end product. Their suppliers have indicated that they will promote some of the adopted practices and methods of working employed in the delivery of this event. And by sharing these practices more broadly they have seen a change in how the wider team approaches delivering sustainable events. 

Post event, Barclays had minimal landfill waste from elements relating to production and the exhibition and 80% of elements were reusable. 

The team delivered an innovative approach to the exhibition space and engaging content which demonstrated that finance has an unprecedented opportunity to be a powerful force for good. 

Judges Comments
The panel for the Most Sustainable Event Award would like to affirm how impressed and encouraged they are by the quality of this year’s entrants. Each event demonstrates a level of practicality, ambition and optimism in their approaches, which the panel feels reflects the proactive attitude of the events industry in facing the sustainable agenda. 

The judges see the implementation of technology to reduce the impact of paper materials and flyers as a key influence on the carbon footprint of physical events. 

The prevalence of recyclable and sustainable materials in use is also a positive, as is the admirable task of sourcing and managing an environmentally-conscious supply chain. Even in the canteen the move towards locally sourced food and the increasing popularity of vegan meals signals a greener future.

The judges hope this year’s entries will inspire further innovation. Prospective entrants should seek to build out their metrics, reliably measuring the environmental impact of their events, down to the carbon footprint of their delegates; data which will set a benchmark for the industry to be improved upon year-on-year. 

They also expect the rise of virtual events to have a significant impact on emissions, as virtual platforms reduce the need for physical attendance from delegates.