‘Buy local’ isn’t just a mantra for supporting the local economy, it can reduce your carbon footprint too.
Improving sustainability for events is a hot topic. The problem is, how best to achieve it without affecting the quality of the event and diminishing the visitor or guest experience. One solution may be right under your nose – using suppliers and materials local to your event venue. This not only benefits the local economy, it also offers significant efficiency gains that can help make your event more sustainable.
The benefits of using local suppliers are obvious, and the environmental advantages are significant. By sourcing goods and services locally, event organisers can significantly reduce their carbon footprint and deliver events more efficiently.
Formula 1, currently top of the Netflix charts, can be seen as a great case study on how not to achieve event sustainability. Each race team ships materials and products around the world as every year, Formula 1 races are held across different racetracks worldwide, with millions of fans watching live, and millions more watching on television. It’s no secret that the logistics of running a Formula 1 event are incredibly complex, with vast amounts of materials, equipment, and personnel required to execute a race weekend. And it’s not just the cars, drivers and engineering teams – hospitality suites, brand materials and catering support can also cover thousands of miles during a season.
In the past, F1 has come under criticism for its environmental impact, especially concerning the transportation of goods and personnel across the globe. The carbon footprint of Formula 1 is significant, with an estimated 256,000 tonnes of CO2 emitted every year, primarily due to the transportation of materials, equipment, and personnel around the world. In fact, a study by Carbon Trust found that around 45% of the sport’s carbon footprint is related to logistics, which includes transportation.
Formula E (the electric car version of F1) goes to some lengths to address this issue;
“Engaging with local suppliers in order to build acceptance, consent and support for Formula E’s events.”
But even Formula E’s footprint is made up of 86% freight and flights.
F1 has acknowledged the need to address their carbon footprint, and in recent years, they have made significant strides towards this goal. The sport has made a commitment to have a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030, and they have already taken some steps towards achieving this target. F1 introduced hybrid engines back in 2009, which are more fuel-efficient and have reduced the number of personnel required to travel to races. Fewer travellers translates into fewer hotel rooms, reduced local transport and subsistence. It’s well known that advances in tech in F1 translate into mass-production cars during their lifecycle. However, there is still room for improvement, particularly concerning the transportation of goods and equipment.
Formula 1 could improve its environmental impact is by sourcing goods and equipment locally. For instance, rather than shipping materials and equipment from one end of the world to another and back, (several times), F1 organisers could work with local suppliers to source the items they are currently shipping. This approach has several advantages. Firstly, it reduces the carbon emissions associated with transportation. Secondly, it supports the local economy, creating jobs and boosting the local community’s economy.
Sourcing locally is not only beneficial for Formula 1, but it is also relevant for any event owner of organiser looking to improve sustainability for events. Concerts, festivals, and other large events require vast amounts of equipment and personnel, making logistics a crucial aspect of the planning process. By sourcing as much as possible locally, rather than shipping in from HQ, event organisers can significantly reduce the environmental impact of their events and contribute to a more sustainable future.
One example of how local sourcing helped events more sustainable is Green Point Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa. During its construction, the stadium’s designers made a concerted effort to source materials locally, reducing the carbon footprint associated with transporting materials to the site. The stadium’s design incorporated sustainable features, such as rainwater harvesting and energy-efficient lighting, further reducing its environmental impact. The result was a state-of-the-art stadium that not only supported the local economy but also contributed to a more sustainable future.
All of these ideas can be adopted at various scale for events of any size when planning and executing events. It just takes some thought and planning to work out where shipping can be replaced by local solutions – but the effort is more than repaid by the environmental benefits. And visitors and guests will appreciate the extra efforts put into making the event more sustainable.