Meet Cambridge Stages Major Sustainability Summit

Client: Meet Cambridge

Type of event: 1 Day Event 

Venue: Jesus College 

Watch the recording here.

‘Shaping Sustainable Events’ was organised by Meet Cambridge at West Court, Jesus College in April 2024, attended by more than 100 event organisers and venue representatives keen to explore how they could make their conferences and meetings more sustainable. 

The agenda addressed ways to embed environmental and social sustainability into events, how to communicate to stakeholders that this is now an essential component and where to find the resources and support to help. 

Delegates heard from two keynote speakers and from a panel session of high-profile industry players who shared key challenges and solutions to cultivate change and progress the sustainability agenda, as well as practical tips to get started.

Self-contained space  

West Court provided a self-contained inter-connected suite of spaces for all aspects of the event – from registration in the foyer through to refreshment and networking areas, rooms where 21 venues could exhibit and the auditorium for formal presentations and Q&A session. 

Sustainability was top of the agenda, from delegates’ arrival at the venue with Blendology providing its unique oneTap badge technology, enabling paperless registration and networking connections both during and after the event. 

All those attending brought along an item to be donated to the Cambridge City Foodbank to demonstrate the importance of corporate social responsibility at business events.  

Meet Cambridge worked closely with the catering team at Jesus College to serve a vegan and vegetarian bowl food lunch, created from local seasonal produce.

Keynote presentations 

Two speakers delivered keynote addresses. Marina Bradford, Founder of Bemari and Co-founder of Terraverde, is an international cross-industry expert in environmental sustainability, decarbonization, supply chain and change management. Marina covered the importance of driving behavioural change which can itself lead to changing attitudes towards sustainability. 

She was followed by Anji Miller, co-founder of Global Equality, Diversity and Equality in Technology Transfer (GEDITT), an initiative missioned to raise awareness and promote EDI in the Technology Transfer sector who outlined the importance of equity, diversity and inclusion when planning events, as well as accessibility for all. 

Speakers then joined the panel session which also included: Stuart Websdale, Fellow and Domestic Bursar, Jesus College; Madalina Marincas, Director, Opening Doors & Venues; and Benjamin Buttery, Head of Commercial, Downing College

Positive impact initiative 

The programme concluded with the launch of a new positive impact campaign from Meet Cambridge entitled ‘Meet Up & Make A Difference’, designed to encourage venues in its portfolio, and client event organisers, to take an action at future events and to support the Cambridge City Foodbank and Cambridge Sustainable Food CIC. 

Judith Sloane, Head of Meet Cambridge said: “Sustainability has never been more important and as part of the business events industry, we all have a responsibility to do everything we can to mitigate the negative impacts on our environment that events can have.  

“Social sustainability is equally important; events need to be more inclusive, diverse and accessible. However, it can be difficult to know how to get started and that’s why we decided to hold the summit today, not only to put the topic at the top of the agenda, but also to provide some tools and solutions to help organisers make changes.” 

Making connections 

Melanie Searle, Sales Account Manager at Jesus College said: “We were blown away with hosting Meet Cambridge’s ‘Shaping Sustainable Events’. We received so many great compliments, had some fantastic conversations about Jesus College as a venue and made some amazing connections.” 

Feedback from delegates was also very positive with one attendee saying: “This was probably the most enjoyable event I have ever attended. I absolutely loved the themes around sustainability and EDI in events and there was an excellent balance between presentations and networking sessions. Also the food was excellent!”