GlasGLOW Sustainability & Biodiversity Policy
As a home grown Glasgow event, we are passionate about delivering GlasGLOW in the most sustainable way possible and preserving our beautiful Botanic Gardens and the wildlife within.
Since the first event took place in 2018, we have introduced tens of thousands of people to the Botanics, many for the first time, creating lasting memories and boosting the local economy at a traditionally quieter time of year.
However we are aware that like all major events, GlasGLOW creates impact - we’re on a mission to reduce ours.
In 2019 we implemented a significant sustainability plan and are proud that since 2021 we’ve been powering the event (excluding plant) with HVO (when available), banned single use plastics in catering and are working to reduce their use across production.
We recycle as much as possible and power our lights (outwith a handful of site lights) with LED which draw 90% less power.
Since day one, we have been mindful of wildlife within the garden and avoid sensitive areas of the Gardens where bats reside and always prioritise biodiversity in our planning process working closely with the team in the Gardens.
The event takes place outwith bird breeding season and closes at 10.45pm minimising disturbance for nocturnal wildlife.
We want our Gardens to look beautiful year-round and after last year’s event, small areas of grass that had been damaged were reinstated after 48 hours – we are working closely with the team in the Gardens to ensure any damage is quickly repaired again.
GCC’s biodiversity officers will visit the event and carry out inspections – and we are also working with independent experts in Sustainability and Biodiversity who are guiding us on our best practise and our long term environmental strategy.
While we’ve made great strides, we know there is always room for improvement and we continue to explore new ways to reduce our environmental impact.
This year, we have engaged with Hope Solutions, an independent sustainability specialist, who work with major events including Glastonbury.
With their guidance, we have created a 14-page detailed and comprehensive Environmental Sustainability document which details our strategy and approach as we work towards net zero.
We are also working with Applied Ecology – an independent ecological consultancy. They are reviewing our plans prior to our setting up in the Gardens and will also visit the event to make recommendations on any improvements or changes required in real time. We will continue to work them moving forward and will look at their recommendations for our future events.
We are also implementing a Supply Chain Code of Conduct to ensure all suppliers and team members working on the event are aligned with our values and mission to ensure a cohesive approach across planning and delivery of the event.
We remain focused on prioritising best practices and sustainable solutions – last year we began work on measuring the baseline of the event and going forward we are committed to demonstrating improvements annually in our operations.
We will review the following areas of impact and draw comparisons from 2022 where appropriate before creating a decarbonisation plan and identifying initiatives where we can improve.
- Energy & power
- Travel & Transport
- Resources & Waste
A high-level summary of our commitments is shown in the table below. In our full strategy, we commit to a series of initiatives to achieve these summarised commitments.
Overview of our Sustainability Strategy commitments
Energy and Power
- Reduce the reliance on fuel combustion. We have been in discussion with the council since 2019 to find solutions at the Gardens that would allow us to utilise more electricity onsite. In addition, we continue to consider the use and viability of temporary renewables.
- Where fuel combustion is necessary we aim to increase efficiency through utilising HVO, a FAME and fossil-free alternative to diesel with the capacity to reduce emissions by ~90%, alongside optimising the output of the generators and using more efficient equipment.
- Working with contractors to ensure their power requests are correct, efficient and to ensure they’re aligned with our mission and values.
- Despite being in an urban environment with a significant level of existing light, GlasGLOW is lit using best practice guidelines created for dark sky environment.
- All the lights used are LEDs (outwith a handful of site lights) - these typically draw 90% less power with technology improving all the time.
- Avoid continuous lighting of foot paths, only lighting areas where paths are uneven for safety.
- All lighting equipment used have independent controls which allows our designer to focus the illuminance – the lights are on for a short time from 4.45pm - 10.45pm each night.
Travel and Transport
- Reducing emissions of plant used onsite by exploring electric options and working with providers to use HVO in diesel engines.
- Hiring local temporary staff, contractors and suppliers where possible.
- Working with contractors, suppliers and staff to make journeys more efficient.
- Collecting data from visitors on transport to the venue and looking at other ways we can encourage visitors to use sustainable transport options.
- Partnering with SPT & First Bus to encourage use of public travel as much as possible.
- GCC installed bike racks last year at the entrance to the Gardens to encourage active travel – we have requested this again this year.
- Contacting all attendees in advance of the event by email, and through social media comms, encouraging them to leave the car and take public transport.
Resources and Waste
- Follow the principles of the waste hierarchy and embrace the circular economy, using the framework to make decisions on materials and resources. This will include reviewing what resources are used at the event, expanding on our current policies and using products with the relevant environmental standards where appropriate (e.g. FSC for timber products and paper).
- We aim to conserve water and deal with wastewater responsibly.
- Visitor and staff/contractor awareness campaigns using signage to encourage correct waste segregation.
- Reduce, reuse and recycle - steps to reduce waste include recycling food waste and pumpkins, encouraging visitors to use digital tickets, reusing signage, set design and site infrastructure and hiring equipment where possible.
- Single use plastics banned in catering and reduced across production as much as possible.
- Blanket ban on merchandising within GlasGLOW and working with GCC to discourage unlicensed vendors outside the gates.
- Our design team, with years of experience working in protected environments, ensure that disturbance is minimised as much as possible each year with a responsive approach to biodiversity and a reroute that changes each year and avoids proximity to the River Kelvin.
- Annual council reports state that care is given to biodiversity and efforts have been made to minimise the impact on wildlife, we follow requests of the council and Botanic Gardens and encourage visitors to respect the gardens.
- Ecological consultants will be advising us on best practices to further reduce our impact on the ecosystem.
- Close down event at 10.45pm minimising issues overnight with lighting/sound for nocturnal wildlife and takes place in late Oct/November out with bird breeding season – as noted by GCC’s biodiversity officer during their visit last year.
- Liaise closely with event organisers who operate in similar environments and work directly with the team in the Gardens to minimise impact on wildlife in the garden taking in their vast knowledge and experience to ensure we are delivering our event in way that is sensitive to the Garden and its inhabitants.
- Work closely with the team in the Gardens to protect as much as we can, and have repatriation plans in place for any grass that may be damaged, for which we cover all cost.
Working with GCC
- We work closely with GCC and the team directly in the Gardens, we aim to deliver GlasGLOW in the most sustainable way possible and look forward to receiving further guidance from GCC on its sustainability and biodiversity framework.
- In the meantime, we continue to work within and exceed all conditions of let provided by GCC.
- A recent report published by GCC stated its biodiversity officers visited the event twice last year and stated care had been given to biodiversity in the gardens and efforts made to minimise the effect on the Garden’s wildlife.
- We take care to protect the grounds, grass, trees and fauna while completely avoiding any areas requested by the team in the gardens. In the instance of any damage – we pay for all remedial work to be carried out as soon as possible.
- In addition to a substantial five figure hire fee, and site bond to cover any remedial work, we also pay GCC’s environmental levy in order to use the Botanics for GlasGLOW.
- 1. We will monitor our 2023 event and aim to improve on the level of detail previously assessed in 2022.
- 2. We will devise a decarbonisation plan with a roadmap to reducing our emissions and environmental impact with a supporting action plan to address specific areas of impact and set targets for improvements.
- 3. We will annually measure and monitor our progress and commit to continual improvement to ensure our data is as accurate as possible and reflects the entire impact of the event.
We are fully committed to delivering GlasGLOW in the most sustainable way and minimising impact on the Gardens – if you have any thoughts or suggestions please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.