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Conferences and Events join the Blueprint community 

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Living Lab

The University of Leeds Conferences and Events team have officially joined the Blueprint programme to drive forward sustainability initiatives across their venues, events, and operations. 

The team coordinates conferences and events both internally at the University of Leeds and for external clients, with events taking place across the University campus as well as at a dedicated city centre venue, Cloth Hall Court. 

Sustainability is embedded in the culture at the University of Leeds, and the conference team is no exception – Cloth Hall Court was recently awarded a prestigious Gold rating from the Green Tourism scheme. 

Blueprint is our flagship sustainability engagement framework led by the Sustainability Service. It supports Schools and Services to develop bespoke sustainability plans that map, track and audit their sustainability priorities.  Led by Staff Sustainability Architects and the Sustainability Service, the Conferences and Events team have completed a series of workshops to identify and understand their impacts, set goals and targets, and prioritise these across a 5-year plan.  

Amongst actions covering areas such as energy efficiency, ethical procurement and community engagement projects, the Blueprint process identified the opportunity to use the flagship Cloth Hall Court venue as a Living Lab to test sustainable practices before implementing them across campus.  

Some of the sustainability initiatives already underway at Cloth Hall Court include: 

  • Menus featuring locally-sourced, seasonal produce to reduce food miles 
  • Eliminating plastic water bottles in favour of reusable options with free water refill stations 
  • Comprehensive recycling and food waste measurement to minimise wastage 
  • Sustainable Delegates guide with tips for attendees to events to reduce their environmental impact 

Chelsea Rolfe, Business Development Manager and Staff Sustainability Architect said:

It was an absolute pleasure working with the Sustainability team. They were great at encouraging collaboration across the whole team and giving us excellent guidance and advice regarding our objectives. The process was extremely smooth, and they gave us actionable steps after each meeting to keep us on track. I would highly recommend their service and assistance and I look forward to continuing our work with them as we progress through our action plan.

 The Conferences and Events team were key partners in the delivery of the Sustainability Service’s annual Student Sustainability Research Conference. In both 2023 and 2024 emissions associated with the event were measured and reduced, with remaining emissions being offset to make the event carbon neutral. Cloth Hall Court also hosted the Yorkshire Sustainability Festival.

 The Blueprint and Staff Sustainability Architect programmes are available for all staff at the University of Leeds, you can find out more by exploring our website.