Sustainability in events and conferences
Sustainability and environmental statement of intent
Specifically related to events and conferences
Published May 2020 Updated December 2021
The Lysaght Institute was re-opened in 2012 following a £3 million pound investment and refurbishment by Linc Cymru Housing Association. Initially, it had National Lottery funding and was run primarily as a community space. Since its initial reopening, Lysaght has retained its special place within the community, and our local community and community partners remain very special to us. But it has undergone somewhat of a transformation. It has become one of the go-to places for celebrations in Newport and the surrounding area. It has become renowned for its service excellence, attention to detail and exceptional staff. We continue to go from strength to strength, delivering memories and experiences for so many people.
This statement will set out how Lysaght Institute will manage its current and future sustainability when running events, conferences, and celebrations. It will look at three key factors, the environmental impact, economic impact, and social impact. This statement will set out what Lysaght is currently achieving along with intended goals and time frames for achieving these.
Before we enter this statement, it is important to understand in a broad sense what sustainability is and what it means. Sustainability is a business meeting the current needs to deliver its services without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. There are three ‘pillars’ economic, environmental and social or ‘people, planet and earth’ environmental is not depleting natural resources and having a positive impact on climate change. Social supports employees and neighbours, both figurative and literal. Being a good member of society, may include better staff benefits, which may lead to higher staff retention which means less of an economic impact on wider society. Economy pillar looks at good risk management, good compliance practices and governance which when combined with and underpinned by aspects of each pillar, leads to profitability and positive financial forecasts, which feeds into the social pillar and economic pillar.
Environmental impact is perhaps the one element of sustainability that is at the forefront of most people’s mind, even if they are not actively thinking about the environmental impact they may have when they attend an event or conference, it is usually in the subconscious. When people talk of environmental impact. They are generally talking about greenhouse gases, recycling, or plastics in the ocean. The global media plays a huge part in bringing this to the front of people’s mind. This can sometimes either be in a negative way (false environmental impact claims) https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/ryanair-adverts-banned-low-emissions-a4353901.html or in a positive way, think Sir David Attenborough and the BBC’s Blue Planet 2 series, which attracted viewing figures of more than 13 million people in 2017 and has aired in more than 30 countries.
For those people that environmental impact is important for them when attending events and celebrations, it can sometimes be difficult to see how a venue is managing its environmental impact, especially if a lot of it happens “back of house” so it is incumbent upon the venue to inform its customers on how it is managing their environmental impact.
When a customer books an event with us, it sets a series of events in motion, all of which have an environmental impact of some kind.
Initial contact is usually done by telephone, email, social media, or face to face. These are by far the most preferred methods of contact for most people. In fact, we have never received an initial enquiry by post. All our brochures are formatted to be sent electronically and we have photographs all over our social media allowing our customers to view our venue from their own home.
We then invite our guests, especially for weddings and celebrations to come and have a viewing appointment. This is a chance for them to come and have a look at the venue and get a feel for how the building looks and how their special event might run, it is also a chance for them to ask any questions that they might have.
Where possible, we send quotes and contracts to potential customers via email. When a customer wants to return a signed contract, we accept electronic signature as contractually binding and as confirmation that they wish to go ahead and that they are bound by the terms and conditions of their contract. Incidentally, electronic signatures have been legal since 2000, since the introduction of the Electronic Communications Act 2000 and latterly, the eiDAS regulations of 2016
Our entire booking system is electronic, along with all our other back-office functions, this means that we don’t have endless reams of paper when we are booking events, not only is it better for the environment, but it also makes it easier for us to manage as well. all the information gets collated, entered into the booking system and from here we can send emails, quotes, payment reminders and contracts. Once all the information is collated and confirmed as correct, we then produce our ‘function’ sheet, which has all the details our teams need to make your event a success. We only print one version of this, version control is done electronically, and only once we have final details does the sheet get printed. When we do print, our company default is duplex, which means that we use both sides of a sheet of paper, reducing the amount of paper we use. Once we have finished with the function sheet, it then gets securely destroyed. The company that destroys our paper recycles 100% of the paper it destroys and turns it back into paper products.
When you have confirmed your booking with us, but before the day, we need to make sure we have got everything we need on site.
We work with carefully selected preferred suppliers, all of which are within a 20-mile radius of us. We bulk order our products in order to ensure that we don’t have frequent unnecessary deliveries or send someone out to get something, by bulk ordering it means that we have less frequent deliveries, usually in larger vehicles, which carry out multi-drop deliveries across the city, reducing carbon emissions by having one larger vehicle on the road that is able to complete all the deliveries, instead of having lots of smaller vehicles out on the road. Unfortunately, this is not always avoidable, but by careful planning and forecasting, we try to keep this to a minimum.
We will always try to avoid over ordering to reduce food waste, that is why we insist on accurate guest numbers from the booker, but it is also the reason we don’t ask for final numbers until seven days before as we know people drop out and there are often last-minute changes
When we order products for our bar, our team works closely with suppliers to not only deliver great products for our guests to enjoy, but also, where possible, local products. An example of this is Penderyn whisky, not only is it a great tasting premium product that you can enjoy, but it is also made in the village of Penderyn, a couple of miles from Hirwaun and only 50 minutes up the road. Another, more recent addition to our selection of bar products is a range of spirits made by A Taste of Wales. A Taste of Wales is a distillery in Maesglas in Newport, which is less than five miles away.
Ninety nine percent of the products on our bar either come in glass bottles or recyclable cans. Glass as a product is infinitely recyclable, and cans can be recycled repeatedly as well, here are some good websites to check out the facts on glass and can recycling
Whilst you are busy delivering your conference or having the party of a lifetime, our team are busy hard at work, not only making sure your event goes without a hitch, but that we are reducing our impact on the environment as much as possible.
If you have booked to have food with us, whether that is something quick from our BBQ menu or you have opted for a delicious full three course meal with coffee and petit fours, we will never use paper plates or plastic cutlery. We only ever use proper China crockery and metal cutlery. This does mean that we must wash them up at the end of the day, but despite what people may think, paper plates are not recyclable because they are contaminated with food, and it is impossible to separate one from the other. Our dishwashers are ultra-efficient and have a cycle time of less than five minutes meaning we can get through huge amounts quickly and easily. They also deliver a dose of water at over 82oC to ensure complete sanitation and hygiene for all our cutlery and crockery without having to use excessive amounts of chemicals.
When we serve food, it is either done in one of two ways; ‘buffet style’ or ‘to the table’. To the table is as it sounds, we serve food directly to guests while they are seated. We tend to only do this for two and three course sit down meals. Buffet style is a little more informal, the food will be brought out to a serving area and guests help themselves. We put our food out on either metal or hard plastic serving trays. This means that once they are finished with, they can be washed, sanitised and ready to be used again.
If you are having a celebration and are using any of our decorations, all our decorations are reusable. Here are just a couple of examples.
Our artificial flowers are made of the highest quality silk which means that they will always look beautiful, and they get special care and cleaned by our staff.
We only use the best quality linen tablecloths, which can be used time and time again with no decrease in quality with the right care.
If you are using our candles and vases, we do not use real candles. This not only satisfies our health and safety assessment but also means they can be used time and time again. We use only the best quality real flame effect LED candles that even have the texture and smell of real candles.
If cordials are included or you have booked them for your tables, we use the cordial from the bar. This arrives highly concentrated in plastic bags inside cardboard boxes, unfortunately because of the ingredients and volume, we cannot avoid the use of plastic here, but we do recycle the cardboard. Your concentrated cordial will either be premade into jugs or bottles for you, or it will be dispensed neat into reusable glass bottles for you to make at your leisure.
When you order fruit, we buy it on the day of your event so it is as fresh as it can be. Our team buys the fruit loose where possible. Our trained staff then prepare it and serve it for you and your guests.
To keep our washrooms smelling great, we have fitted air fresheners in each of them. These air fresheners are highly efficient to run and only cost £0.36 per year to run (this is straight from the manufacturers own research). These fresheners, rather than having scent in a can that uses propellants and other chemicals to manufacture the smell, use gel blocks. These gel blocks are then removed, taken back to the factory, and remade into new gel blocks.
We have removed single use beer mats from our bar, once they become contaminated with beer, they become unrecyclable so end up going in landfill, it also means we have more storage in our cupboards to offer you an even bigger range of products.
We still offer straws on our bar, but they are completely biodegradable, they have the look and feel of plastic but are made from plant-based materials. We did try cardboard straws for a while, but we discovered that we couldn’t recycle them and after a lot of customer feedback that said they weren’t great in their G&T, we made the switch to these biodegradable straws.
If we get so busy that we must switch to plastic glasses to serve your drinks in, we do not use single use plastic, we have invested in reusable plastic glasses. Each of our plastic glasses can be washed 1,000 times before it reaches the end of its useful life.
Once all the drink has been drunk, the food been eaten and your guests have said farewell, our team remain on site to clean down and tidy up. We are still committed to sustainability here as well.
Our tablecloths are made of the highest quality linen and are of exceptional quality, this means that rather than throwing them away, we send them off to be laundered at a specialist company and they come back looking as good as new.
When it comes to cleaning, our cleaning team, in our humble opinion is the best. They do have access to some cutting-edge cleaning supplies. All our chemicals, including those for mopping floors, are designed to work with cold water. This means we are not burning gas to heat hot water for our mop buckets.
Our staff sort through all the rubbish at the end of every event and recycle as much as possible, all our cardboard, glass, paper, plastic, and cans all get separated and sent for recycling. We only have one general waste bin in our bin store to encourage recycling as much as possible and discourage the use of general waste as we must pay every time, we need the bin emptied because it is overflowing.
This area of sustainability is sometimes a little bit harder to quantify or explain to people and is usually the least talked about of the three pillars because it relates more to business function and “back of house” operations that our customers might not immediately see or have any direct benefit from. We will try and briefly explain here how we work towards economic sustainability.
When we commit large amounts of money to capital projects, this is usually after extensive customer research and feedback and only after we have completed due diligence on the work. We look at whether it is really required, is there another, more cost-effective way we could achieve the same or similar goal. Sometimes spending a large amount of money is not always the best solution. When completing capital works, we will always look at value for money for us as a business, but we also look at will this add any value to a client’s stay with us. By making the right choices about capital investment we can ensure that we stay economically viable for many years to come.
Business forecasting is difficult to do, but it gives us an idea of how we might perform over the coming year. When we forecast, we look at lots of different things, how we did the year before, whether we have already got any confirmed business, along with any opportunities or threats that the business might face. We spend a lot of time forecasting as not only does it give us an idea of how busy we will be, but it will also allow us to see our likely income and calculate likely outgoings against this. Unfortunately, business forecasting does not account for recent events such as the COVID-19 outbreak of 2019/20, however, it might help a company to weather such a storm.
A budget is the amount of money that we think we are going to spend over a financial year. We work hard to not only deliver exceptional value to our clients and guests, but we must make sure we are considering value for money across our business. By setting realistic budgets, not only does it mean that we must consider each purchase, but it also means at the end of the year we haven’t got lots of money to try and spend, this surplus at the end of the year can sometimes lead to irresponsible, impulsive purchasing.
Every business must comply with regulations of one kind or another, whether they are industry specific for us here at Lysaght, such as the Licensing Act 2003, or the Weights & Measures Act 1985, or more generally things like the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 or General Data Protection Regulations. Complying with these regulations is not only a legal, business matter, but it also gives confidence to customers and to shareholders that we operate in a legal and correct manner and that the business is unlikely to suffer financial or legal implications such as fines or prosecution by failing to comply. Lysaght has an extensive in-house team it can call upon as well as outside experts in their field that we can call upon through our parent company, Linc-Cymru Housing Association should we need help, guidance, or support. By maintaining adherence to these regulations, we can also ensure that we are able to carry on operating as a business and retain employment for staff.
Every company must conduct market research, they carry it out for several different reasons, which might be to find out whether a new product is going to be popular or what people’s perception is of their brand. We carry out market research to make sure that we are offering our customers the very best value for money and that we are offering a unique experience in an extremely competitive market. Research is done in several ways, we ask guests for their feedback after their event, we are active on social media and on search engines, so we take reviews from that. We also look at what other venues are doing within our local area. We make sure we carry out our market research in an appropriate manner e.g., we do not cold call people (GDPR also prevents this) and we do not insist that our clients leave feedback after a visit. When researching other venues, we are always open and transparent about who we are and where we are calling from, and we only use information that is available to the public. Carrying out good market research means that we can accurately forecast how we are going to perform as a business, allows us to identify trends in things like colour themes, design, and food trends.
Although there are a multitude of venues in South Wales and the surrounding area, all with different offerings and all offering fantastic services across the board who are all vying for you to book with them, believe it or not we all work together as well. There is one common factor across the hospitality and leisure industry, we all have an infectious passion for the industry we work in and for delivering the absolute best customer experience we can. Venues work together, network together, share best practice together, lobby for things like better financial security in cases such as the recent COVID-19 crisis that has seen an industry come crashing down and brought to its knees. We even sometimes party together. We do all have one common interest as well and that is maintaining the viability of a multimillion-pound industry and making sure that our businesses can carry on supporting the community and the public for many years to come.
Social responsibility is a little easier to define that economic responsibility and can help to bring the three ‘pillars’ together. Social and environmental responsibility are the building blocks of any sustainability statement, while economic responsibility is like the mortar that holds it all together. Social responsibility is about being a good neighbour, within our immediate vicinity and on a more figurative level as well.
Lysaght has been at the heart of the community since it opened in 1928. There is well documented information on Lysaght and its community involvement from times past available should anyone wish to find out about this. Lysaght still continues to support its local community with several initiatives.
We hold frequent events for our local community, we support the Newport marathon every year with an ‘entertainment zone’. We host Halloween and Christmas parties amongst a host of other things.
We support Lliswerry Community Association, our local community group aimed at bettering the local area and working for the benefit of everyone in our local area. We have regular Councillor surgeries here at Lysaght, we support LCA with events they are running, and they support us as well. This is often as simple as sharing a page on Facebook to promote an event or announcement. We also work with LCA to bring activities and events to families or children that perhaps might not get the opportunity to take part.
We have a long-standing close working relationship with our local school, St Andrews Primary School. Again, we support one another by sharing events, we quite often host children from St Andrews School, and we always invite them to take part in our activities. A recent example of this is that we have bene lucky enough to secure one of the dragons that you may see around the city, we have reached out to the children and asked them to name our new member of staff.
We are lucky enough to have the Ministry of Life come to Lysaght every Wednesday (COVD-19 notwithstanding) and work with local young people, often from disadvantaged backgrounds to help them develop social skills and learn things they may not of had the opportunity to otherwise. Ministry of Life is also working with other charities to offer opportunities to these young people. By allowing M.O.L to use our facilities for the young people, it is helping to reduce anti-social behaviour in the local area.
We also have setup a group that we have called the Friends of Lysaght. This group is an opportunity for local people with an interest in Lysaght to come together and shape our community events and how we engage with the local community. Friends of Lysaght have also been instrumental in establishing a community garden in Lysaght, growing fresh fruit and vegetables for the members to enjoy. They have also recently worked with our community engagement team and our environmental and sustainability officer and our space has been awarded a green flag for its community garden.
Wellbeing or the act of looking after your own physical and mental wellbeing has seen somewhat of a resurgence over the last year or so, with people becoming acutely aware of the need to look after themselves properly. Good wellbeing contributes to many different things, better relationships with family and friends, higher self-esteem, more job satisfaction in some cases and higher productivity. Lysaght Institute has its role to play in wellbeing. We have, as previously mentioned, the community green space for everyone to come and enjoy, gardening and the outdoors has no end of benefits to people’s wellbeing. We also host a children’s library in our community room, filled with lots of wonderful books for children to come and enjoy and take home and read, this library is run in conjunction with the local school and gives children access to books that they otherwise might not have access to. The library also hosts a range of fun craft activities and book clubs for children (and adults!) to come and take part in.
We are also proud to host several dance classes here at Lysaght, and while we don’t run any of the classes, we have a range of classes here, dancing is an excellent social activity, we have watched people form long lasting friendships and otherwise introverted people take centre stage. Dancing is also excellent for physical and mental health as it not only gets people moving, you also must remember the dance steps that are taught to you and often they are taught in combination.
We also at present host two weight loss groups which both have their own peer support network and social activity groups outside of the main group, weight loss and the support received around it is excellent for people’s overall health and groups such as these help to support a healthier community and nation.
This last item around wellbeing is often a sensitive and difficult topic for many. Lysaght Institute hosts two bereavement support groups, both of which are completely free for people to attend. Grief is a very personal journey and often a very difficult one. These groups offer an informal opportunity for people to come and receive support around dealing with grief. This support is critical for the mental and emotional wellbeing of the attendees, all of which come from our local area. These groups also have their own social groups within them that meet up outside of the group and friendships have been forged, which is critical when dealing with grief.
Our staff are our biggest asset here at Lysaght and we value each member of the team highly. All our staff except for two live in Newport. All our staff are trained by their peers, and all receive peer support and mentoring throughout their time with us. Hospitality is often a tough industry to work in, with long hours on your feet, unsocial hours, high expectations, and occasionally some challenging situations to deal with. We not only have the opportunity for staff to discuss things with their peers, but we also have a more formal employee assistance programme, our staff can seek support and guidance in confidence on several issues, our parent company has also employed a full-time wellbeing officer, solely dedicated to the wellbeing of our staff. All our staff are treated equally, and we are like one big family, often socialising together outside of work. It is this unity and sense of family and belonging that keeps our staff morale high and helps with staff retention. Altogether we employ twenty-three staff at Lysaght, this means that we support twenty-three people ensuring they stay in work, supporting twenty-three people with their wellbeing and supporting our local community and economy.
Lysaght Institute is registered with the local authority as required by the Licensing Act 2003 as a venue authorised to sell alcohol (we are also registered for other licensable activity that is secondary to this). This information is publicly available at https://www.newport.gov.uk
We must comply with the Licensing Act and its four licensing objectives: the protection of children from harm, the prevention of crime and disorder, prevention of public nuisance, and public safety. By complying with these conditions Lysaght institute exhibits that we sell alcohol responsibly and that we take not only our position within the community responsibly but also that we consider the sale of alcohol as a privilege rather than a right, as such we are also responsible retailers. As well as there being several regulations, we must adhere to such as the Weights and Measures Act and the Licensing Act, we have also imposed our own restrictions to make sure everyone has an amazing experience and that the actions of a few don’t ruin it for everyone. As such, we don’t offer irresponsible drinks promotions, the following excerpt is taken from the National Pub watch’s good practice guide “Mandatory conditions apply to all premises licences authorising the sale or supply of alcohol. The responsible person for your premises should ensure that all staff are aware of these conditions:
- No staff in licensed premises should carry out, arrange, or participate in any irresponsible promotions relating to the premises. An irresponsible promotion means any one or more of the following activities, or substantially similar activities that are carried out in such a way that there is significant risk of the premises being in breach of any of the licensing objectives:
– Games which require or encourage people to drink a quantity of alcohol within a time limit (other than to consume drinks already purchased before the premises closes), or to drink as much alcohol as possible, even without a time limit
– Unlimited or unspecified amounts of alcohol being given free or for a fixed fee to the public or a group defined by a particular characteristic, i.e. all you can drink for £10; women drink free; student discount nights etc (does not apply if offer is linked to the consumption of a table meal)
– Free or discounted alcohol (or anything else, such as free concert tickets) as a prize to encourage or reward the purchase and consumption of alcohol over a 24-hour period, or less
– Free or discounted alcohol linked to a sporting event, such as free drinks for 30 minutes after the game if a certain team wins, or greatly reduced shots every time a try is scored
– Selling or supplying alcohol in association with promotional posters or flyers which condone or glamorise antisocial behaviour
- There is a ban on ‘Dentist chair’ games where alcohol is dispensed directly into the mouth of a customer. Customers might organise their own ‘Dentist chair’ games and you need to make sure that this does not happen on your premises. This does not apply if the person receiving the drink cannot do so otherwise”
Whilst this all sounds very draconian and heavy handed; it is to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable time whilst they are celebrating with you and that no one is unnecessarily placed at harm. We have highly trained and experienced hospitality staff, including door supervisors that are experienced in helping us with these matters.
We are, to some extent, governed by our parent companies’ rules on purchasing and procurement and as such must follow their rules and use their suppliers. Where possible though and is the case for products that Lysaght purchases directly for your events, we use local businesses and suppliers. We also impress on our suppliers the need for them to supply us with locally sourced goods or with sustainable goods. We have several examples of this, most of which crosses over into our environmental sustainability. Our supplier of table decorations, chair and table runners etc. is a local Newport company and all their items are not only of the highest quality but are well cared for and are reused and kept in excellent condition to prolong their useful life. We do not use disposable tablecloths, but rather, we support a local company (less than 15 minutes away) that has just ventured into laundry and looking to establish themselves to launder all our tablecloths, using sustainable methods. We are even our own supplier, we grow our mint, lavender, rosemary, and basil on site here that we use on our bar for our celebrations, not only does that ensure it is as fresh as it can be and of the highest quality, but that also means it doesn’t have to travel to get here.
This is more about being a good neighbour figuratively speaking rather than in a literal sense. We have been lucky to inherit such a wonderful building, rich in history and lodged deep in the conscience and memory of so many people and holding so many memories. As part of being good custodians for this building, we have embarked on so many projects to bring the past to life and make it relatable to the modern day.
We started this in some very subtle ways, this includes the wonderful comments you will see on the first-floor landing. These were collected from local people that had memories of the original Lysaght Institute. We have got a timeline on the wall in the Lysaght Suite charting our wonderful story, along with a copy of the blueprints of the wonderful Institute on the wall in the Orb Suite. The floor you stand on as you come in – the remains of the renowned sprung dance floor from the main ballroom, made from the finest Canadian maple.
We have also retained a sense of history in the design of the building. The wonderful domed ceiling in our beautiful ballroom, not only offers some ‘wow’ to your party but is in fact the same ceiling in the same style from 1928. The cornices on each pillar are original restored pieces of plaster. The main lights in the ballroom as well as being functional are based on the original design of the original art deco style lights of Lysaght institute heyday.
Our grand wooden and steel staircase is the original staircase from the building, it was originally used as a rear staff stairway. However, after some restoration and some love is now the staircase you now see before you and makes for a fitting stairway to your celebration.
Our community engagement team then embarked on an ambitious project called ‘Steel Remembered’ to remember those men and boys from the steel works that went to war and never came home. This has also brought families back together, there is one case of two different parts of the same family living in Newport and they each did not know the other existed until this event was launched. This project also found its way into eh curriculum for Wales for school children and culminated in an exhibition in The Senedd/Y Senedd and gained some media attention.
Not content with one project, they then embarked on another ‘Loving the Lysaght. Both projects have received Heritage Lottery Funding which the team have had to apply for. Loving the Lysaght is a project that aims at bringing stories and memories specifically of the Lysaght institute itself to life.
More recently (March 2020) the team has managed to secure the cenotaph from the Orb Works (which is sadly being closed by TATA steel) and we are bringing it ‘home’ it is our way of showing our respect and giving thanks to those that made the ultimate sacrifice. It also allows people who either have an interest in history or whose relatives are on the memorial a chance to come and pay their respects. As part of this project, we will be redeveloping the green space around the cenotaph.
Lysaght staff have worked tirelessly towards meeting these goals that we have achieved, and each member of staff takes their responsibility not only to the business, but to the community and the environment very seriously and we encourage staff to share ideas on ways we can improve as we value these contributions and the effort for continuous improvement. This document tries to outline the responsibilities from an events point of view, however, there is some cross over into a more general outline in some cases, especially when discussing social responsibility.
Whilst we recognise that we have achieved so much, there is still more work to be done. Please refer to the next steps part of this document as we outline our goals and how we will move towards these. Most changes are simply a change to working practice or the way we do things. Others will require some financial investment and as such the timeframes reflect that fact.
We are not ones to rest on our laurels though, we will seek to continually improve, challenge, discuss and debate our contributions. If you have any ideas or would like to discuss anything or share your experience, we would be delighted to hear from you.
This may sound a little crazy, but there is such a thing. When we print order forms, function sheets or contracts, sometimes it is necessary to print on more than one piece of paper. The default way of joining these bits of paper together is with a staple. While a staple may sound innocent enough, the actual manufacture of a staple uses a lot of resources to manufacture, including raw product and fossil fuel in the treatment, transportation and finishing of the product. It also requires energy and resource to remove and sort the staples from shredded paper before it is useful again. If we only send paper, then there is less energy wasted. A staple-less stapler very neatly punches a hole in the corner of the paper and folds it back on itself.
We are currently using up existing stocks of metal staples, and will be replacing them in the months to come
Showcasing our wonderful venue is key to us being a successful business, and up until now, we have always invited people for a “show around” they can come in, have a look at and get a feel for the space and have a chat with a member of the team. Often these people travel by car, sometimes they visit more than once, especially if they want to bring different people to the venue, such as a partner or other relative, a manager or a colleague. This contributes to an ever-growing air pollution problem. It is also becoming outdated. As people generally take in more and more content online from the comfort of their own home, the events industry must keep up with demand. As such we will be creating virtual tours for people to be able to have a look at our wonderful venue. There will be tours available for weddings, celebrations, meetings and community events, these walkthroughs will provide an opportunity for people to get a real feel for the building form the comfort of our own home.
We have introduced and continue to offer virtual tours to all our guests.
Free taxi phone
We know only too well the difficulty in ordering a taxi at the end of the night. Especially during busy times of the year. We are lucky enough to have some good working relationships with local taxi firms and we can book taxis for guests. A taxi phone would allow guests the freedom to choose their own collection time and means they can speak directly to the taxi firm. Use of these phones also give priority to these customers. There would be an associated cost to the business for implementing this along with terms, conditions, and contracts.
We have been investigating this and we have decided we won’t be putting a taxi free phone in our venue. We continue to book taxis for guests through our booking office and through our events team.
Incentive for car sharing/use of public transport
We have all seen in the media the damage that using cars can cause to the environment and the Government’s constant reminder to use public transport. We are fortunate enough here at Lysaght to be well served by lots of public transport links, we are on an arterial route through the city and served well by buses and taxis, we are also connected to good cycle routes and the train station is a mere 10–15-minute walk away. As an incentive to bookers, we would like to offer (subject to status) discount on their booking. This will be applied to the booking once satisfactory conditions have been met, this offer is wholly at the venue managers discretion and their decision is final
We will be delaying deciding on this until April 2022
Table coverings for buffets and conferences
We have already discussed previously how we use linen tablecloths and chair covers and send them locally to be laundered rather than using plastic or paper tablecloths. We have not mentioned what we cover the buffet table with. Sometimes we use linen cloths and other times we use banquet roll. This is usually made of paper with a plastic backing, which, after use cannot be recycled. We are trying to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill and recycle as much as possible. As such we are going to review the use of this paper banquet roll and come up with another solution
We have completely removed paper banquet roll from our venue. We now only use reusable linen ones.
Even with all the best planning, up to date information and all the RSVP’s received, there will always be some food waste at the end of the night. Food is a bulky waste, is notoriously heavy, often messy and without even trying can take up all the space in our general waste bin. This waste is then sent to landfill, where when it decomposes, releases harmful gasses, or it is sent to incineration to generate electricity. Which, whilst that sounds like a fine idea, it must be transported to the incinerator, there is only one incinerator in the area, and they can only accept so much at any one time. Food recycling on the other hand, means that food waste is turned into compost that the local authority then uses for community projects and for amenity planting within the city. We use a local charity, Wastesavers for all our other recycling so it only seems right that we use them for our food recycling as well.
COVID has meant that we have had limited amounts of food waste streams in the venue. We will be visiting this again early in 2022.
In the summer we get through huge amounts of ice keeping everyone’s drink cold. We have an ice machine on site that constantly produces ice for us, but sometimes we need to give it a helping hand. During busy times, we empty the ice machine, bag up the ice in plastic bags and store in our other freezer, effectively doubling or tripling our ice capacity. Following food hygiene regulations, we can store ice at -18C for a maximum of three months, although it is long gone before then. The plastic bags that we use are single use. Once we have opened them and taken the ice out the bag is then thrown in general waste. This obviously does not sit well with our environmental plan, so we are going to look at alternative ways that we can store the ice without compromising on quality, quantity, or food hygiene.
We have changed the way we store our ice. We now use reusable plastic containers and plastic freezer bags.
Sometimes, we get busy on the bar, or if lots and lots of people are enjoying their event outside, we will switch to plastic glasses. Our plastic glasses are not single use, they can be washed in a commercial grade dishwasher up to a thousand times before they start to break down. That said, there are different types of plastic, some of which are more sustainable or recycled than others. We will check to see what our glasses are made from and make sure they are made form the most sustainable plastic they can be, and if needs be, change our plastic glasses.
We checked our glasses and once they have reached the end of their useful life, they can be recycled in the same way as the rest of our trade recyclable waste.
Locally sourced food & produce
Food plays an integral part in any meeting, conference, or celebration. That is why we have an excellent catering team here at Lysaght that delivers some amazing food to all our guests. More and more people are becoming conscious about where their food comes from, reducing food miles and supporting local businesses and buying the best produce they can afford. Our catering team feels the same way. Sourcing local produce, preparing, and serving it in amazing ways is our combined passion. We will work with our catering team to deliver a positive impact statement about the food you are eating, and we will work to source locally produced, artisan goods that really make dining with us an enjoyable experience. We will work towards local produce in stages to allow the teams to source, test and verify the provenance of each product before bringing it to market.
COVID has meant that we have had to reconsider the way we serve food and has also had an impact on availability of products throughout the supply chain. This problem is not unique to us and is being experienced by business-to-business sales and consumer sales alike. We will continue to monitor the situation and will periodically revisit this
If you order fruit as part of any menu with us, we purchase the fruit on the day or the day before to ensure it is of the very best freshness and quality for you to enjoy. We will always accommodate specific requests to include or not include certain items, we believe that seasonal produce always tastes better. So, we will, where possible, only purchase fruit that is in season, and feeding into locally sourced food and produce, will aim to buy from local producers and growers.
COVID has meant that we have had to reconsider the way we serve food and has also had an impact on availability of products throughout the supply chain. This problem is not unique to us and is being experienced by business-to-business ales and consumer sales alike. We will continue to monitor the situation and will periodically revisit this
When guests join us as at a conference as a day delegate, they get a day delegate pack, as do conference organisers. Traditionally, this has included a pen, a notebook of some kind along with a folder or brochure with information about our services. While we try and make sure that we source these items responsibly, using only FSC approved, recycled paper, printing double sided and making sure the pens are reusable, quite often, a lot of the pack is only ever used once, paper once written on tends to get thrown away, and brochures usually end up in the bin. This to us, is not sustainable, does not really add value to the candidates experience and does not make us stand out in crowd.
We will revisit this in April 2022
While the use of batteries here at Lysaght may not be immediately obvious to everyone, we use a huge amount of batteries here for various things; microphones for the best man to deliver his carefully crafted, witty speech, backpack microphones for a keynote speaker to share their experiences with the world to the battery-operated decorative lights on our trees in the garden. Normally, when the battery runs out, it just gets chucked in the bin. There are many dangers associated with throwing batteries in the bin, they can contain harmful heavy metals such as lead and if they are lithium-ion batteries and they rupture it could start a fire. This can be simply avoided by having a battery recycling box or bag which can then be taken to an approved wasted disposal facility for correct disposal.
Battery recycling is fully implemented here at Lysaght. We work with Newport City Council and ERP Recycling. They provide us with recycling boxes and arrange free courier collections.
For our celebration guests and for most of our conference guests, lunch is served on China plates. We do, however, sometimes get asked to provide a “working lunch” or a “networking lunch” this usually means that people want to grab a bite to eat and walk around connecting with people or grab a bite to eat while they discuss ideas with colleagues. Usually, we provide paper plates, we used to provide foam plates, but guests didn’t really like those, it didn’t reflect the correct image and they aren’t great for the environment, so we stopped those a good while ago. Paper plates, we thought, were a better solution, but we have discovered they are non-recyclable as they are too contaminated to be re-used so are usually diverted into landfill. We need to find an attractive, practical alternative that portrays the right image for us a business but also works for the environment.
We no longer offer paper plates for any of our events or conferences. All catering is now provided on China crockery, that if looked after, will last for many years to come.
Whilst we agree that napkins are not the most glamourous of things to be discussing, they are an essential part of any dining experience, they protect our clothes from those wayward drips and splashes. We only use the best quality napkins here at Lysaght, and we have accepted that these little squares of paper are not easily recycled, however we do commit that the paper they are manufactured from is from FSC approved forests and they are produced in a sustainable way. Unfortunately, we have no alternative but to send these to general waste, but by removing some of the other waste streams that we are currently sending to general waste, we can aim to reduce our overall general waste output.
All our napkins are made from FSC certified paper products.
Single use plastic cups
We host a lot of dance classes here, and they drink a lot of water while they are perfecting their moves, our conferences and parties get through a lot of water as well. For conferences and celebrations, we always serve our water in glasses that are collected, washed, and sanitised using commercial equipment and then put back out for reuse, these glasses have a potential lifespan of many, many years. For our dance class though, they often prefer plastic cups as there is less risk of then being smashed on the dance floor while they are practicing. A lot of our community groups have encouraged their members to bring their own reusable bottles to refill while they are here. We do still provide single use plastic cups for those members who would prefer a cup to drink from, this plastic is single use and is usually non-recyclable.
We have completely removed all single use plastic cups and have made our reusable ones available to everyone
Recycling generally throughout the venue
We are all well versed in recycling at home, whether we use bags, bins, boxes, or caddies, it has become part of our daily routine. We are less practiced whilst we are out at a party or at a work event. For our parties and celebrations, our teams collect all the glass and cans, and it all gets recycled. For conferences and events, it is a little bit more difficult. We aim to improve this and make it as easy for everyone to recycle while they are guests with us as it is at home.
We are only recently welcoming back events and conferences of any significant size. We will be carrying out a full waste stream audit early in 2022.
Food hygiene is very important to us and takes precedence over a lot of things. However, that does not mean we cannot consider the environment at the same time. If serving a buffet, our catering team places the food on plastic trays with a plastic lid, which keeps the food nice and fresh and reduces the chances of cross contamination. We can and do recycle these containers, but it is a lot of plastic we get through, as well as the packaging and delivery of the actual containers themselves. In our effort to remove plastic, we are going to ask our catering team to start preparing the food and placing it in reusable plastic containers, we will then serve the food either on reusable plastic, metal, or China trays. These reusable containers that the food was placed in prior to service can be washed, sanitised, and used again, as can the trays the food is served on. If we serve to a guest with a food allergy, their food will be plated separately onto a China plate by someone that has not handled the allergen, covered with cling film, and served directly to the guest.
COVID has meant that for the time being food must be served in a safe way to reduce the chance of contact and reduce the risk of COVID being spread. This means, for now, we will continue to use the recyclable plastic trays. We recycle all these all the time. We will explore more sustainable options soon and look at how we can make sure we keep everyone safe while still considering our environmental impact.
What are long term goals?
As the name suggests, they are goals or achievements that will take longer to aspire to. That could be for any number of reasons. It could be cost, it could be feasibility, it could be that additional work is needed to be done to find the best solution that fits with our needs. Long term can mean different things to different people, it might mean six months, a year, or even five years. All it means is that the outcome won’t be achieved in any immediate time frame.
What are our long-term goals?
Here is a list of some long-term goals, which we will then explore in more detail.
- Rainwater harvesting
- Replacement of lighting
- Thermal paint
- Ground source heat pumps
- Planting programmes
- Biomass heating system
- Photovoltaic electricity generation
- Thermal curtains and blinds
This is a really common practice here in the United Kingdom, especially as we have a lot of rain (according to https://www.onaverage.co.uk we get around 1,154mm per year). Keen gardeners and allotment owners have been doing this for a very long time. In its most basic form, you leave a big device capable of holding liquid outside. When it rains, it fills up, in times when rain is scarce, such as summer, you have a plentiful supply of rainwater. Rainwater is far more beneficial to plants and flowers than water from a tap anyway.
A step up from that is usually a water butt of some kind. These are often connected to a gutter downpipe at the corner of a house or other structure that has guttering. As the rain falls, some gets diverted into the butt, which often has a tap at the bottom to allow you to fill a watering can.
A further step up from that would be a commercial grade system. Rainwater recovery in a commercial situation is usually used for one of two reasons, one; for irrigation and watering of plants, flowers, vegetables etc, two; for use in WC’s and urinals. In either case, rainwater harvesting is usually planned for at design and planning stage. The reason for this is that it usually involves burying a tank underground, and the installation of pumps, filters, header tanks or mains water top up systems etc and it is far easier to do this as a building is being constructed rather than retrospectively.
It is possible to fit retrospectively, you can either go for the underground tank etc., and while entirely plausible would cause considerable disruption especially if being fitted to a “live” building as it involves considerable ground works.
The other alternative, which would still require considerable work but would be far less disruptive is the fitting of the tank above ground. The consideration here though, would have to be given to overall aesthetics. How will it look? Does it fit with the look of the building? Can it be concealed or hidden from view? There are then questions about accessibility, how liable is it to vandalism or accidental damage? How easily accessible is it for maintenance? How easily can the tank be put in location?
It would be a balancing act between cost, disruption, aesthetic, purpose, and risk of damage/vandalism. End use would determine the tank’s overall size and configuration of pipework, pumps etc. Here at Lysaght we have got 18 toilets and 6 urinals. All our toilets are dual flush toilets, which means on average they use between 4-9 litres of water per flush (the actual amount varies depending on manufacturer, age of equipment etc). We have 6 urinals split across two male bathrooms, each using around 22.5 litres per flush.
The following calculations are based on the building operating at full capacity, with no COVID restrictions in place. It also makes for no allowance for adult vs children or male vs female
- Number of staff on shift: 4
- Number of guests in the building: 270
- Number of workers in creche: 4
- Number of children 30
- Total number of people: 308
- Average number of visits to toilet: 3
- Total number of visits to toilet: 924
- Litres of water used per day: 6,006 litres of water
- Based on five days opening this equates to 30,030 litres per week
- Based on being open for 50 weeks of the year this equates to 1,501,500 litres of water per year
We will work with our colleagues in the Assets and Development Team to decide on the most appropriate option for rainwater recovery and explore its long-term benefits and feasibility.
Replacement of lighting
Lighting technology has advanced dramatically over a relatively short space of time. Up until recently there weren’t many options for lighting. At home or in the workplace, your choices were filament bulbs or fluorescent, and in the car park high pressure sodium that gives off that unmistakeable orange glow and in the warehouse metal halide spotlights. All these lights use harmful gasses in their manufacture. Not only are these gasses harmful they are also a finite natural resource so will one day run out. Since the 1980s CFLs or Compact Fluorescent Lamps have been widely used in a variety of settings, but especially in commercial environments. While they use 75% less energy than a traditional fluorescent light bulb, they still contain harmful metals (namely mercury) within them that make them particularly harmful to people and the environment. There are also other problems associated with CFLs such as colour rendering and life span if coupled with a PIR sensor in a little used area such as a store cupboard. The go to these days is LED lighting. It uses a fraction of the energy, contains no harmful gasses, or metals and comes in a variety of colour rendering options. In every instance where one may have found a filament bulb, a CFL, a fluorescent or high-pressure sodium, it can now be substituted for LED. A bonus to LED is because they produce quite a “flat” even spread of light, in as much as they don’t leave dark spots or shadows, the number of light fittings required can be reduced. This itself can reduce energy use even further and as an added extra can also improve the aesthetic of a building. In fact, some architects are using LED lighting as part of and in their design of buildings and making it a prominent feature of the building or to compliment other features, e.g., window walls, living walls etc. A survey would need to be done to ensure that minimum/maximum lighting levels are met in certain areas of a building such as offices and kitchens to comply with BS EN 12464-1:2014. This would then determine how many and what types of light fitting may be required. Retro fitting LED lights can be done with minimal disruption as it often doesn’t involve running new wiring or altering the building too much.
We will work with our colleagues across the business to determine the best kind of lighting for a building such as ours and we will also look at the predicted lifespan of our existing light fittings and whether replacing them before they reach the end of their useful life or beforehand would be more beneficial.
Is used to improve the insulating properties of external walls. It is often used where more traditional insulation methods are difficult to obtain. It can also be used in addition to existing insulation measures. Manufacturers make claims on how efficient their thermal paint is. This, overall, though has largely been criticised and dismissed as untrue. A study by the University of Salford found that the use of thermal paint only has a payback period of several hundred years. The full study can be found here https://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/51192/1/1-s2.0-S0378778819301781-main.pdf
There are a variety of types, some that you add into existing emulsions as a powder or a liquid, some that you buy as a premixed paint and others that you apply on top of or underneath an existing or new emulsion. In terms of disruption, it would, it seems, be no different to the service disruption a business would experience when being decorated. If this were to be written into a planned programme any service disruption would be managed and mitigated as the work was planned for anyway.
We will explore this option with our colleagues in the Assets and Development team to determine whether thermal paint would offer any tangible benefits in terms of energy efficiency and savings to the business.
Ground source heat pumps
Utilises the heat within the ground to supply heat and/or hot water to a building. It works by utilising the consistent heat of the earth below ground. Some GSHPs (Ground Source Heat Pumps) only require pipework being buried 1 or 2 metres below ground, others anything up to 100 metres below the ground. There are considerable variables when planning for GHSP, such as age of building, current energy efficiency, size of radiators, types of room and their use and the desired temperature.
After all these considerations it may be that GSHP is not suitable for Lysaght as any potential cost would outweigh any savings. Disruption for this type of renewable energy is likely to be significant so would require careful consideration and planning to minimise as much as possible, disruption to service.
We will work with our colleagues in Assets and Development to determine whether this is something that is viable for Lysaght.
Gardening and planting are short- and long-term goals. Short term in the sense that we will always make sure there is a good mix of plants and trees for birds and bees, and of course for the benefits of CO2 absorption by the plants. However, we can extend this into a long-term goal in some of the following ways.
- Compost bins on site for garden waste to be put into to then be utilised to enrich the soil
- If we must purchase additional compost or soil, we will only purchase peat free
- When planting, we will consider planting for pollinators, and we will also consider planting native species where possible
- Where the use of native species isn’t appropriate i.e., decorative, we will only purchase from UK nurseries. We will check this by way of the plant passport.
Biomass heating system
These kinds of heating systems use waste wood products to heat water to provide hot water and heating to buildings. They work in very much the same way as a traditional gas fired boiler works. Biomass is often considered carbon neutral because they only release the same amount of CO2 as the plants have absorbed in their lifetime. However, this is often offset by the CO2 produced when transporting the waste wood products to site. Although this is often done in bulk, there is still a haulage cost involved.
Biomass is around 90% efficient and requires little to no maintenance and once set up correctly can provide many years of useful heat and hot water. They are, however, more suited to sites where a ready and local source of waste wood is available. This makes places such as Scotland and the countryside or on a large-scale manufacturing site that makes or uses a lot of wood products more appropriate. While biomass is entirely possible in an urban environment, planning permission must often be sought as most councils have clean air zones within their borough. Central government also considered removing the RHI for biomass in urban environments that are on the gas grid. For now, this has been voted against, there many come a time when it is considered again. This would have cost implications as it would mean any business would be wholly liable for the installation.
We will work with our colleagues in Assets and Development to explore biomass to determine whether it is a viable option after considering RGI, location, accessibility of fuel, public perception, perceived running costs and saving and if any planning permissions is required and any possible service disruption.
Photovoltaic electricity production
Is the correct term for solar power used to create electricity? Its efficiency depends on the location of the solar panels and the prevailing weather conditions. There are several options available in terms of style of solar panel, storage of or resale of electricity back to the grid. Consideration would have to be given as to whether we would attempt to entirely power the building by solar all the time, which would mean needing batteries, or whether we would operate on solar and then any excess energy would be sold back to the grid. We would also have to consider whether solar alone would be enough or whether we would need electricity form the grid as well.
We will work with our Assets and Development colleagues to determine the most cost effective, efficient, aesthetically pleasing and most appropriate long-term solution.
Thermal curtains and blinds
These can be used as part of a wider energy efficiency programme and can offer greater guest comfort as they trap heat in the winter and reflect it in the summer. Service disruption would be minimal as blinds and curtain scan be swapped when the building is closed all in one go or planned in across a couple of days.
We will explore this with colleagues across the business as we explore the best options for our needs and whether it would be included in our next internal refurbishment or if there is movement for them to be purchased or installed sooner.
Storing ice – Implemented in June 2021
Plastic glasses – Implemented in June 2021
Batteries – Implemented in November 2021
Single use plastic cups – Implemented in June 2021
Food recycling – To be revisited early 2022
Plates – Implemented in June 2021
Napkins – Implemented in June 2021
Staple-less stapler – We are currently using up existing stocks
Free taxi phone – Decision reached in August 2021
Table coverings for buffets and conferences – Implemented in June 2021
Locally sourced food and produce – Ongoing/delayed due to COVID restrictions and supply chain issues
Recycling generally through the venue – To be revisited early 2022
Incentive for car sharing/use of public transport – To be revisited in April 2022
Food service – Ongoing/delayed due to COVID restrictions and supply chain issues
Virtual tours – Implemented May 2020
Conference packs – To be revisited in April 2022
Seasonal fruit – Ongoing/delayed due to COVID restrictions and supply chain issues