I learnt a LOT about cranes, hoists and towpaths, and model construction and canals and the complex patchwork ownership of land in London. I talked a lot about stage loading and reinforcements and air compressors and generators. And now know just how many permits and RAMS and meetings it takes to do anything outside that interacts with the public. With massive thanks to impeccable construction plans from Sam Parkins at Chameleon Live and also to Helen McCabe and Stephen Chaston from Harrier Safety who bolstered our expertise and supported flawlessly throughout.
We planned 7 different events in excruciating detail, that were never going to happen – as we needed so many different weather scenarios – and thankfully, the one that was called on Sunday and then executed on the day was Plan A; glorious sunshine and a once in a lifetime moment as the car floated effortlessly (!!!!) into view at the exact moment Guillaume Cartier first mentioned Nissan’s “birthday surprise” to the assembled media.
Improving the Impact
Although it was a stretch at times due to the lead times and highly specialised nature of some elements, we also stayed as close to our ‘Planet First” ethos as we could; suggesting reusable alternatives at every stage including spending slightly more on slightly less that will then come into use throughout NDE in the future. Including fairtrade cotton aprons, reusable shoe covers and using branded event stock from previous events instead of creating new.
We sourced biodegradable ponchos, protective gloves and wet wipes as well as working closely with our preferred suppliers for catering and AV production who we know have strong recycling and reuse policies in place.
The set panels were all reused and reskinned for the event and, wherever possible, we used items that were made from recycled plastic.
We limited single use catering items to the bare minimum; and that we did use was all fully biodegradable and disposed of accordingly. My favourite wildflower seeded paper wrist bands made another appearance for crew, staff and VIP access bands so I’m looking forward to watching them bloom next year.
Frustratingly, we attempted to donate waste food to a local homeless shelter as we’d been careful to keep all packaging and allergen information and labels; but they were unable to collect it. This is definitely something I’ll do more research into next time, to make sure we have a clear plan in advance rather than reacting on the day and falling at the last hurdle.
I am still returning items that were unused; to make sure they can go back into the supply chain and will also hopefully find homes for various used but very good condition items either via the Delegate Wranglers Facebook page or Event Recycle.
The big sticking point was the carpet which I had no plan for; so that is going to be my massive learning takeaway. If anyone has any recommendations for more ethical suppliers, materials or waste management around used carpet, I’d love to hear from you.
The benefit of a central London location, meant that we only laid on minimal airport transfers as most delegates were encouraged to use public transport to get into central London and we also used mass transportation between sites on a coach rather than smaller, individual vehicles. Delegate numbers per country were also kept low which further reduced the travel impact and anyone travelling from France came via the Eurostar rather than air.
Progress definitely, not perfection, but we’ll take that.