By Maria Langshaw, venue marketing manager, RIBA

In an increasingly competitive market, it seems that being environmentally friendly as a venue is now a necessity to secure business. Clients have so much choice when it comes to choosing a venue that they now need to justify their decision more thoroughly. Moral obligation and corporate responsibility play such a huge part in making decisions now that spending seems to be scrutinised more than it ever used to be.

Here at the RIBA, we have just achieved the Carbon Smart Silver standard, which means we have demonstrated that we are taking an intelligent and flexible approach to reducing our carbon footprint.

Our full environmental policy is available for our clients to view on our website but the main highlights are that:

– none of our waste goes to landfill

– 100% of our electricity is from renewable sources

– we have our very own RIBA Venues herb garden at the back of our Florence Hall (which we like to point out on show rounds!)

Our caterer Ampersand also plays its part by using locally sourced and sustainable produce where possible and fairtrade tea, coffee and chocolate.

So, this is all very well but does it actually bring you more business? Well, in May alone we were chosen by The Guardian to host its Sustainable Business Awards and also for the second time in two years we were chosen to host The Footprint Awards. For us then, yes, it does seem to be playing a part in us winning more business.

While I do think these clients chose us because our Florence Hall, with its floor to ceiling windows and outside roof terrace, can comfortably accommodate the number of guests that these events attract, but surely it’s vital that if the caterer’s remit is to produce canapés and food stations using only sustainable ingredients, then we, as a venue, need to prove that we are playing our part too?

Personally, it makes me feel better to work for a company that is making such steps to reduce its carbon footprint and if it makes us more appealing to clients along the way, then that’s an added bonus!