Choosing a Sustainable Venue

Whether you’re organising a conference, social event or a small meeting, by making sustainable choices during the planning process and by making some changes, however small, you can reduce the footprint of your next event and enhance it too by creating opportunities that have a positive impact on our planet.

Finding a venue in Cambridge that meets and supports your objectives is critical, it’s important to involve the venue team as early as possible; Meet Cambridge can help you find the perfect location for your next event and our team of experts are always on hand to help you every step of the way.

Here are some pointers to help you with your decision-making.

Sustainability Accreditations

Look for a venue with a sustainable accreditation, Green Meetings by Green Tourism sets a new standard for sustainable events; other accreditations include ECOSmart by Greengage and REST from Quality in Tourism.  Most of the University of Cambridge departments and the Cambridge Colleges take part in the University’s Green Impact accreditation scheme, which supports and encourages all properties in the reduction of their environmental impact. Some hotels also offer organisers the opportunity to calculate the carbon footprint of their event through schemes such as Hilton’s Light Stay Meetings Calculator.



Look for a venue close to a railway station or on a bus route, this will make it easier for you to advocate for the use of public transport. Cambridge is a walkable city, and all venues are within easy reach of one another so once delegates have arrived there’s no need to take onward travel.  If delegates do need to drive, look for venues with EV charging points or encourage car-sharing activities.  A number of the Cambridge hotels also offer cycle hire so that delegates can explore the city on two wheels or for larger groups, City Cycle’s hire service can tailor a package to suit your needs – cycle parking is abundant in the city and most venues will be able to offer secure storage.  Consider offering a reward to those that choose a sustainable form of transport to and from the event.

For employees of the University of Cambridge, take a look at the University’s Sustainable Business Travel Guidelines: Sustainable Business Travel



Choose fresh, seasonal produce that’s locally sourced with plenty of plant-based options. Calculate food miles and provide the details on menus to encourage delegates to choose the most sustainable options. Opt for venues that can offer menus that demonstrate a commitment to local produce with ingredients that have higher environmental, social or animal welfare standards – products carrying the LEAF Marque, Fairtrade or Red Tractor accreditations are all great choices. Choose a venue that has a focus on sustainably sourced fish to protect fish stocks. Check out the Good Fish Guide and look for Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fish on the menu. Speak to your venue to find out more about which methods are in place to reduce food waste from preparation surplus and over-portioning.

For employees of the University of Cambridge, take a look at the University’s Sustainable Food Policy:


Service & Waste Management

Consider venues that have a commitment to eliminating single-use plastic and where a plan is in place to limit individually plastic-wrapped items wherever possible. Choose a venue that prioritises the use of crockery, glasses, and reusable napkins to avoid having any single-use serve ware at all. Ask the venue about its waste policies, and how much of its waste is recycled.  Do they have a waste contractor and/or do they offer segregated waste bins and skips as standard for, paper, card, plastics, glass, and metal?



Look for venues that have an environmental/ energy policy in place and that they can demonstrate that they have energy reduction targets in place and that they can demonstrate progress towards energy efficiency.  Cambridge venues that have sustainable accreditations such as Green Meetings, ECOSmart and Green Impact will already be monitoring their energy and they should be able to provide you with their energy usage figures so that you can calculate the energy consumed at your event.

Sustainable Events Toolkit