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Carbon neutral G7 Summit to lead by example on sustainability

  • G7 Summit in Cornwall aligned with most robust international standard for event sustainability
  • Follows PM announcement that Summit will be carbon-neutral, with four global offsetting projects confirmed
  • Sustainable measures including using local produce, minimising waste and wider actions to deliver social value
  • Summit also working with suppliers to support local people and create job opportunities after COVID-19

The UK Government has confirmed the G7 Summit in Cornwall will be a ‘green summit’, complying with the internationally recognised quality standard for sustainable events management. The announcement follows the PM’s commitment, made in a speech this month, that the Summit will be carbon-neutral.

Sustainability measures being used for the Summit include a heavy emphasis on local and seasonal produce in the catering, with priority given to sourcing produce and goods within 100 miles of Carbis Bay, demonstrating the best of Cornwall and the south west.

As well as commissioning Cornish companies to provide local and sustainable products – from recycled stationary to hand-carved tables to natural soap – for use by leaders and delegates during the G7 Summit, the Summit will also use sustainable energy sources, cleaner fuels like HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) instead of diesel for any onsite generators. Event organisers are also working to ensure the Summit is free from single-use plastic wherever possible.

The Summit’s sustainability credentials also extend to ensuring the event suppliers are delivering wider social value, such as a mentoring programme for people left unemployed by COVID-19, careers workshops and online tutorials in digital and virtual skills.

Tackling climate change and preserving the planet’s biodiversity are key priorities for the UK’s Presidency of the G7, with the Prime Minister seeking commitments from G7 members to support the transition to net zero, kick-start a green industrial revolution, and build climate change resilient economies around the world. 

The Summit’s carbon-neutrality will support this, with the Government investing in four carbon offsetting projects in developing countries, including an improved cookstoves project in Uganda, a composting facility in Vietnam and biogas reuse in Thailand.

This comes ahead of the UK hosting COP26 in Glasgow later this year, when world leaders will gather to agree and commit to sweeping international action to tackle climate change and secure the future of the planet for generations to come.

This work to ensure every aspect of the summit is as sustainable as possible has meant the BSI - the national standards body of the UK - has confirmed the G7 summit is on track to have ISO 20121 certification, the most robust management standard for event sustainability.

Alok Sharma, COP26 President-Designate, said:

In the fight against climate change, it is vital that we lead by example – which is why the G7 Summit is going to be a carbon neutral event.

Our global projects such as hydropower in Laos will help to off-set emissions generated by the gathering of world leaders and every coffee cup, pen and notepad used at the Summit will be recyclable or made entirely from recycled materials.

Our carbon neutral, sustainable G7 Summit is an opportunity to show the world the UK is serious about uniting global leaders to deliver genuine climate action.

The Government has appointed engineering, design and consultancy firm Arup, with Crowberry Consulting, to help the event achieve ISO 20121 certification and deliver a carbon-neutral event by developing a Carbon Management Plan, working with key suppliers to source sustainably and reduce waste.

Through the process of implementing ISO 20121, steps have been taken to ensure tangible commitments to sustainability and carbon neutrality run through every contract, tender and product associated with the event, ensuring an emphasis on renewable energy and sustainable projects that make a difference locally.

Jerome Frost, Chairman at Arup, said:

Arup strives to ensure sustainable development is at the heart of everything we do and our long standing expertise will enable the delivery of a green G7 summit with sustainable practices throughout. From bringing together a coordinated approach to sustainability and leading on carbon management to prioritise emissions reduction, our work on the summit sets the example for event sustainability.

Natasha Connolly, Sustainability Associate Director at Arup, commented:

This is an opportunity for the UK to show the world that it can successfully deliver a sustainable international, high profile event ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, and our expertise in sustainable event management will help the Government to ensure the event itself reflects sustainability values.