Sustainability is high on the agenda for most event organisers, but putting on a gala dinner is already a huge task without even taking into account the event's environmental impact.
To help you minimise both the stress and the impact of your event, we've compiled some of the venues that are doing the most to reduce their own impact. From venues investing in electric vehicle charging points, to those introducing holographic projection for hybrid events, you're sure to find a venue that knocks your guests' socks off - and keeps the footprint of your event as small as possible at the same time.
As well as being an iconic venue in its own right, the Cutty Sark is charting a course through the choppy waters of sustainability. As a historic venue, it’s a challenge that requires careful navigation, but the team at the venue are committed to the journey, and so far they’ve implemented several measures to fill their sails. From 2020, all electricity used has been sourced from nuclear generation, all lights are LED-powered and sensor reactive, and water use is controlled by meters which set limits on the amount used at events.
They don’t stop at their in-house measures, though: all of the Cutty Sark’s suppliers have to submit a sustainability policy before being brought on board, and all approved suppliers must have ULEZ compliant vehicles. All in, their efforts to reduce their impact are looking ship-shape, making them an ideal choice for a stylishly sustainable gala dinner!
Location: Greenwich Pier
Capacity: 280 dining
8 Northumberland Avenue
8 Northumberland Avenue is another venue that’s always on the lookout for ways to reduce their environmental impact. Some of their tactics are ingenious, from having knee-operated taps in bathrooms (convenient to use but difficult to waste water), to having an ‘eco setting’ for lighting where green light is used, as it uses the least amount of electricity, fittingly. They also offer some of the most innovative tech on the market, like holographic 3D projection to give hybrid events extra oomph.
Each project is a big investment - when they changed their light-bulbs to LED bulbs 9 years ago, there were 372 in the ballroom alone - but the venue team are committed to constantly improving their impact. Luckily for anyone planning a low-impact gala dinner, the team at 8 Northumberland Avenue are well-prepared: they source their ingredients locally as much as possible, and have a specialist vegan chef on hand.
Location: Charing Cross
Capacity: 440 dining
RSA House recently gained a Green Mark accreditation in recognition of its efforts in working towards a positive environmental standard. One of the venue’s key achievements is that only 1% of waste generated goes to landfill, with all food waste being converted to energy and biodiesel. All 7 of the venue’s event spaces were recently refurbished with sustainability in mind, and many feature carpets made from recycled fishing nets, as well as upcycled furniture.
And good news for dinner events: RSA House are incentivising more sustainable menu choices by reducing the prices of certain menus to reduce food waste and deliveries. Plus, the in-house kitchen facilities have been updated to efficient induction hobs to reduce the energy required to produce meals. Sounds like this venue’s cooking up a sustainable storm!
Location: Charing Cross
Capacity: 140 dining
116 Pall Mall
116 Pall Mall has sustainability policies as sophisticated as its setting, with LED lighting throughout event spaces, and environmentally low-impact paint used to decorate the building. The venue also has a commitment to recycling wherever possible, including converting waste to energy offsite, and the team has even set up a beehive in the venue's moat and hope to soon be producing their own honey!
The team at 116 Pall Mall are also committed to continually improving their impact: they're working with Planet Mark to produce an energy audit on their venue, to help identify and address key areas where the venue's footprint can be reduced. They also work with suppliers who are Net Zero or have set themselves sustainability goals, including caterers Searcys, who hold a Food Made Good accreditation from the Sustainable Restaurant Association. When it comes to gala dinners, that should be music to climate-conscious organisers' ears!
Capacity: 250 dining
Glaziers Hall is a keen bean on the green transition, with a Green Tourism Gold Award to its name, and plenty of credentials to back it up. The team are currently carrying out carbon footprinting of Glaziers Hall which will enable them to form a detailed action plan with the aim of becoming carbon neutral as a venue - a process that’s already begun with insulation and glazing being improved across the venue in a recent refurbishment, and LED lighting being fitted throughout.
Glaziers Hall offers a 'Green Events' package which includes all catering offered being plant based, using produce sourced from Borough Market which is just across the road from the venue - you can’t get much closer to home than that! They also have a Sustainable Procurement Policy, so you can rest assured that any suppliers they work with are working to reduce their own impact on the environment.
Location: London Bridge
Capacity: 240 dining
The National Gallery
The National Gallery are a master stroke in sustainability, with no waste going to landfill - in fact, they’ve even partnered with Bio-Bean to turn their coffee grounds into sustainable biofuels! All of the energy used to power their venue comes from 100% clean renewable sources, making the day-to-day running of their venue largely green.
The venue monitors its progress carefully, with an in-depth sustainability report being produced each year to measure its year-on-year reduction in carbon emissions. If you opt for a gala dinner in this stunning venue, not only will you be surrounded by some of the nation’s greatest treasures, but by some of the most sustainable practices in the country.
Location: Trafalgar Square
Capacity: 300 dining
At Stationers’ Hall, it’s not only the venue and its suppliers that are held to high sustainability standards; the venue even has a ‘Responsible Visitors Guide’ so everyone’s involved! The team are currently completing the Green Tourism accreditation, and are well on their way to achieving it, having implemented low-flow toilets and taps, a full recycling system, and proximity-activated lighting to reduce energy waste.
And their unique selling point? The venue has a beautiful garden for guests to enjoy, which also has a pollinator section to attract bees! A nature sanctuary in the heart of London; if that’s not a draw for gala dinners, we don’t know what is!
Location: St Paul's
Capacity: 205 dining
Found the green gala dinner venue of your dreams? Don't leave it too late to bring the venue to the table - enquire now to book your event in one of these top spots. Still looking for the perfect sustainable gala dinner venue? Check out more options for your event below.
And if you could use some more guidance on minimising your event, you'll find plenty of resources to help you on your way in our Sustainability Hub.
Jessamy channels her passion for sustainability and cultural events into shining a spotlight on innovation and inspiration in the events world, and heading up Hire Space's sustainability committee.