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 curated some of the venues that are doing the most to reduce their impact. Whether it's venues incorporating electric vehicle charging points or embracing holographic projection for hybrid events, you're bound to discover a venue that not only wows your guests but also keeps your event's ecological footprint to a minimum.
As well as being an iconic venue on its own, 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.
Their commitment to sustainability extends beyond their in-house measures. Cutty Sark ensures that all its suppliers submit a sustainability policy before partnering with them, and approved suppliers are mandated to operate ULEZ-compliant vehicles. All in all, 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
The Brewery's dedication to reducing its impact on the environment hasn't gone unnoticed, having achieved sustainable events management systems accreditation, and certificates for the Clean City Awards from the City of London for the last 7 years. In 2022, the venue took a significant leap towards sustainable waste management by introducing ORCA, an innovative food waste solution that liquefies food waste on-site and safely discharges the liquid through the existing wastewater system.
The venue has also implemented various in-house measures to enhance its infrastructure, including the use of LED lights, motion sensors, and automatic taps in the bathrooms to conserve water. Additionally, the chefs prioritise sourcing food with low food miles, and crafting new vegetarian and vegan menus. The venue has also made a conscious shift away from single-use plastic items, signalling a more sustainable approach to event operations. There's a sustainable change brewing in this spot!
Capacity: 35 - 720 dining
8 Northumberland Avenue is another venue that’s always on the lookout for new ways to reduce its environmental impact. Some of their tactics are ingenious, from having knee-operated taps in bathrooms to having an ‘eco setting’ for lighting - This is where green light is used, and consumes the least amount of electricity. They also offer some of the most innovative tech on the market, like holographic 3D projection to give hybrid events extra that extra wow factor.
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 making it a huge job, but the venues team are committed to constantly improving their impact on sustainability. 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 catering for all guests and diet requirements.
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 landfills, 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 up-cycled furniture.
For dinner events, RSA House encourages sustainability by reducing the prices of certain menus, aiming to minimise 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 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 commits 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 hopes to soon be producing their very 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 Searcy's, 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 foot-printing of Glaziers Hall which will enable them to form a detailed action plan to become 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 impact on the environment.
Location: London Bridge
Capacity: 240 dining
The National Gallery are a masterstroke in sustainability, with no waste going to landfill they’ve even gone the extra mile and 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 and a perfect choice where sustainability is highly credited.
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 is 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
Discovered the eco-friendly 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. If you're still on the hunt for the ideal sustainable gala dinner venue, explore additional 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.
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