The conference and events bureau for Cambridge and the region is celebrating being given three separate awards in recognition of its environmental achievements – which have included sponsoring a toilet in Myanmar.

Meet Cambridge has achieved a Bronze Award from Green Tourism, a Bronze from Cambridge University’s Green Impact Awards and one of its team, Leah Gibson who has championed the campaign, was given a Highly Commended Environmental Hero Award.

In October 2017, the team started working towards its green objectives, setting a series of achievable objectives that would make a difference, with help from the team at Green Tourism.

These included a major focus on recycling and communication, together with raising awareness of reducing paper usage, saving electricity and re-using items that would previously have been discarded.

Leah Gibson, Events Executive at Meet Cambridge who headed up the campaign says: “I am delighted that we have received three different awards in recognition of our ‘green’ achievements and thrilled to have been named an Environmental Hero!

“The key thing was to set objectives that were possible rather than making them too ambitious. We quickly saw results – with one of the most successful elements being the reduction in paper use. In 2016–2017 the team used 16,000 sheets of paper and so far in 2017–2018, that figure has reduced to just 5,000 sheets.

“Recycling has also been successful. By raising awareness of what we can recycle, we are doing so much more. In fact communication was a major part of the campaign. I emailed the team regularly and updated them on what I was doing and how they could get involved, both at work and in their personal lives and I shared facts with our venues through our newsletter.

“We also decided to do ‘Toilet Twinning’ which was recommended by Green Tourism as a way to demonstrate our social responsibility. After doing some research I was really surprised to discover that in Myanmar more than 17 million people are without a toilet or fresh drinking water. By paying a small fee, we could help to change this, educating the villagers about hygiene and distributing materials to enable them to build their own toilets.”

Peter Lumb, a judge for the Green Impact Awards added: “Our ‘special awards’ aim to highlight individuals who have gone the extra mile as part of the University’s Green Impact initiative. Our much-coveted Environmental Hero award is now in its 6th year and is all about recognising a Green Impact team member who has been nominated for their ability to take action, as well as enthusiasm to get others involved in sustainability. We were pleased to present a ‘Highly Commended’ award to Leah Gibson of Meet Cambridge.

“Meet Cambridge is a small institution of the University which works closely with many of the Colleges and Departments and so it’s great that Leah was able to lead her colleagues to gain an example-setting Bronze Award this year. Leah’s colleagues commented positively in their entry submission about her great passion and enthusiasm and her ability to deliver environmental improvements, as well as being able to spread the word and get others involved, so we think she is very worthy of this commendation.”

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Celebrating green accolades: left Kelly Vickers and Leah Gibson from Meet Cambridge.