Sustainability at SOA 2023

The conference is working towards limiting its impact on the environment through careful consumption of energy and resources. This includes, among others, electronically circulating meeting materials, not producing unnecessary conference materials and choosing environmentally-friendly and socially-friendly products, as well as providing healthy food and hosting meetings and social events in central locations.

Some of the things the venue (ICC Birmingham) do
  • CHP Generator - A district-based scheme installed on site at the ICC to provide electricity, chilled water for air-conditioning and hot water for heating. In addition to reducing our carbon footprint, the scheme also enables us to sell carbon credits – the ultimate sustainability win-win.
  • Energy Consumption - Energy-saving sensors are fitted throughout the venue and we use reduced energy LED lighting wherever possible. Our monitored switch-off procedure also ensures that energy use is kept to a minimum in event spaces and offices, and that all equipment and lights are switched off when not in use.
  • Waste Management - We’ve always been supporters of the 'reduce, reuse and recycle' mantra in terms of waste management. We separate and recycle glass, cardboard and paper waste, and incinerate all other waste to create electricity for local homes and businesses through Birmingham City Council’s Waste to Energy scheme. The resulting ash from this process is also stored and used as aggregate for road building.
  • Initiatives - We may be based in the city centre, but we’re still avid wildlife lovers. It’s why in 2007 we turned one of the ICC’s roof areas into an eco-friendly environment to increase insulation, enhance the landscape and most importantly attract urban species. It wasn’t long before the roof became a safe haven for the rare black redstart bird, whose continuing presence in the city was at the time precarious. You’ll also find a couple of bee hotels at the ICC, specifically installed to encourage Mason Bees to hold their own conferences in the area.
  • Catering - We go to great lengths to ensure consideration and innovation is evident on every plate. It’s why we ensure all our suppliers operate to either BRC Grade A or SALSA accreditation and are continually audited by our Food Safety Team. As our location is a key part of who we are as a venue, our chefs naturally see it as their responsibility to support local suppliers whenever possible too. In addition to the accreditations listed above, we also look out for the following quality stamps on every product we use in our dishes.
  • Carbon Neutral Event - We work closely with event organisers to achieve ‘carbon neutral’ status for their events. This is achieved by paying particular attention to the ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ mantra and helping organisers put this into practice.

Sustainability at ICC Birmingham  

Some of the things the Society does
  • The hotels and social events are all located in the city centre and you can walk between them all.
  • We are using reusable crockery instead of disposable coffee cups at the conference. At very busy periods, we may make use of single-use paper recyclable cups to manage demand. These are 100% compostable.
  • For a number of years we have been providing facilities to refill water bottles. We will no longer supply single-use plastic water bottles.
  • Printed materials are kept to a minimum. We will not be printing a conference guide. The full conference proceedings can be found on the conference app.
  • All marketing materials promoting the event are conducted electronically.
  • Conference registration is entirely online, and booking confirmations are electronic.
  • Conference delegate badges made of paper (FSC certified) and no plastic badge wallets are used.
  • We reuse conference lanyards.
  • We are working with sponsors and exhibitors to minimise materials they, or delegates, dispose of whilst at the conference.

Our Sustainability Project  

Some of the things you can do, as a visitor
  • The venue is located in the city centre, all hotels and social venues are located by walking distance from each other – walk and explore the city, use public transportation or the city bikes
    instead of taking taxis.
  • Calculate your carbon footprint using the WWF environmental footprint calculator. Whether you’re able to attend or not, it’s a great tool for tracking your impact on the planet, and learning about what changes you can make to limit it.
  • Please make sure to deposit your lanyard and badge in the reuse boxes provided at conference registration.
  • Please follow the waste separation instructions at the venue.
  • There will be water fountains at key points, please bring a reusable water bottle with you.
  • Be thoughtful about all conference-related printing that you do, and aim to reduce this where possible.
  • Pens and paper will not be provided to delegates to encourage the re-use of both paper and pens. Delegates should bring notepads made from scrap paper.
  • Send fewer emails - research commissioned by OVO Energy in 2019 found that if each UK adult sent just one less ‘thank you’ email a day, it would save over 16,433 tonnes of carbon a year - the same as 81,1522 flights to Madrid or taking 3,3343 diesel cars off the road.

Bike to Birmingham

We’re building a network of people around the country comfortable cycling on roads who can help map a route in their region and rally a peloton of cyclists down to the Heart of England. 

If you're a keen cyclist and interested in getting involved find out more below.

Bike to Birmingham