The UK delivered a sustainable COP26.

The UNFCCC sets minimum requirements for hosting a COP which include delivering a carbon-neutral conference. To demonstrate our leadership and ambition in sustainable event management, the UK Government committed to implementing the International Standard for Event Sustainability Management Systems (ISO20121) and we are the first COP to achieve PAS 2060, the international standard for carbon neutrality.

COP26 Sustainability Governing Principles

Our approach was always 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

COP26 was the largest international summit the UK has hosted. From the outset, we wanted to ensure we generated a positive legacy for the United Kingdom and the wider events industry that would be felt way beyond COP26.

To ensure this we partnered with Arup, our sustainability consultants, and collaborated with our delivery partners, suppliers and stakeholders to encourage innovation and embed sustainability at every stage of event delivery. The success of COP26 would not have been possible without their drive and enthusiasm, and we are proud of everything we have achieved together.

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.
  • 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.