The UK delivered a sustainable COP26.

COP26 was a carbon-neutral conference, with sustainability at its core, that left a positive legacy.  We met the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) sustainability requirements for the delivery of COP26. 

Through key measures including certification to the International Standard for Sustainable Events (ISO20121) and our comprehensive Carbon Management Plan we demonstrated leadership within the field of sustainable event management relating to environmental, social and economic performance through the lifecycle of COP26.

Our approach was guided by our COP26 Sustainability Governing Principles:

  1. Actively manage potential impacts on the environment and local community and identify opportunities to deliver environmental and social value 
  2. Provide an accessible and inclusive setting for all  
  3. Encourage healthy living   
  4. Ensure a safe and secure atmosphere  
  5. Encourage more sustainable behaviour  
  6. Promote the use of responsible sources and responsible use of resources throughout the supply chain  
  7. Leave a positive legacy

We collaborated with our delivery partners, suppliers and interested parties to enable innovation and amplify our contribution, with the aim of delivering positive legacy impacts beyond COP26 for Glasgow and the United Kingdom.

How did we make COP26 more sustainable?

Some examples of how we made COP26 a more sustainable event include:

  • Encouraging delegates to use active travel such as walking and cycling or public transport where possible. 
  • Prioritising low carbon alternative energy sources such as electric and low emission vehicles, solar energy for temporary traffic lights and Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) in generators instead of diesel. 
  • Catering that prioritises locally sourced and in season food items to minimise mileage for transportation and supporting local business. You can find out more about catering in our press release on GOV.UK
  • Employing local people for specific event roles
  • Prioritising leaving a legacy in the events industry by hosting industry wide workshops on how to improve standards and best practice for future events
  • Prioritised sustainability by including explicit requirements in our supplier procurements and with partners
  • Avoidance of waste to landfill by reusing and recycling material and building these considerations into design and material choices.

Carbon Neutrality

COP26 was a carbon neutral event and we were the first COP to achieve validation using PAS2060 international standard on carbon neutrality. The key priority through the application of our Carbon Management Plan was to reduce and avoid emissions.

All carbon accounting is being carried out in line with the GHG Protocol and other sources of best practice guidance and will be published once the event has been delivered.

Read our executive summary of our Carbon Management Plan.

What are your carbon offsets?

The unavoidable carbon emissions from COP26 are being offset through the purchase of UNFCCC-recognised offsets such as Certified Emission Reductions (CERs). 

We are ensuring that all offsets are:

  • Of the highest possible standard, ideally Gold Standard certified
  • Have Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) co benefits
  • Represent a global spread of projects including developing countries and UK based projects
  • Represent a range of offsetting project types
  • Including UK based projects

With thanks to our principal partners

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