Sustainable Faith Meetings                                    

Giving thanks for the food we are about to eat is one of the most profound practices embraced by faiths around the world – and for young family members the ideal starting place to understand the link between communion and sustainability.  In this blog we take that thought forward and explore the wider ways in which we can all strive to respect and protect our beautiful, endangered planet.

When we take that pause to appreciate the life on Earth that sustains us, showing gratitude to all those who work to bring nourishment to our tables, we understand that this is just one strand of a vast topic. As the clock races towards 2050, sustainability’s wider ramifications are making themselves felt. 

The word ‘sustainability’ first gained currency back in the 1990s. Its meaning was visually represented by three pillars: People, Profit and Planet.  Concerns were already being raised around over-consumption, pollution and depleted natural resources. Since then, politicians, business leaders and academics have worked with mixed success to address the challenges inherent in those three pillars.

The Three Ps and world faiths

More recently, the United Nations published a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a global agreement designed to eradicate poverty, inequality and injustice. And isn’t it heartening to see that whether or not its architects are people with deep religious convictions, its key principles are so closely aligned with values of the major world faiths?

The Agenda aims to eradicate poverty and hunger; instead reducing inequalities and promoting good health and wellbeing for all.  Its environmental goals are geared towards clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, action against climate change and the protection of life on land and below water.

For society at large, the Agenda stands for quality education and gender equality, decent work opportunities and economic growth, industry innovation and infrastructure to produce sustainable cities and communities and responsible consumption and production. By sharing best practices and forming partnerships around the world, the Agenda seeks to enhance peace, justice and strong institutions.

What this means for you and me

You will know that the message is trickling down to households, schools and businesses. People everywhere are on their own personal, community and corporate journey to reduce waste and overconsumption, to save energy and to safeguard the planet for our children and grandchildren. Whether that means recycling our waste or swapping our cars for bikes, it’s no longer an option to shrug our shoulders and continue to act irresponsibly.

Sustainable events

You will undoubtedly wish to see these values upheld wherever your community comes together in fellowship and prayer, and you won’t be surprised to learn that we at The Venues Collection have been implementing sustainability practices in our properties for a long time. 

We focus on managing our energy consumption, resource use, greenhouse gas emissions and food waste. Our parent company, Compass Group UK & Ireland, has set ambitious targets to be Net Zero by 2030 and we are leading the way in implementing and changing practices to enable us to meet these ambitions. TVC has a target to make 80% of our meal ingredients grown, reared or made in the UK. We are also installing solar powered electric vehicle charging canopies this summer, and following a successful trial at Eastwood Hall we are creating composting systems at each of our venues. We have also installed energy monitoring software at our properties to measure (and reduce) electricity, gas and water usage.

Green Standard

Another of our initiatives has been to introduce a carbon labelling system on our restaurant and event menus. The information we provide is based on calculations of greenhouse gas emissions derived from values assigned at each stage of the food production life cycle.   

All our venues have also been awarded the Silver level in the Green Meetings Accreditation scheme, and we are now working towards achieving Gold.

We also believe implicitly in the importance of sharing best practice with our hospitality and event industry colleagues.  Our Sales Director, Jo Austin, is on the board of the Meetings Industry Association and their lead for sustainability and we have consolidated our commitment to creating sustainable meetings by signing our seven conference and training venues to the Green Tourism ‘Green Meetings’ Standard.

And if this all sounds a little too ‘corporate’ and removed from the event experience of our guests, we should add that at grass roots level (literally!) our ecological initiatives embrace the provision of gardens or terraces at our properties. Even the smallest patch of green can benefit nature by supporting the bees, butterflies and other pollinators for the benefit of the wider ecosystem.

Giving thanks to the Creator

As hosts to many faith and spiritual meetings, we also understand the importance of green spaces in reflecting the tone of an event. Where better to connect with the Creator and see, hear and feel the beauty of life on Earth?

The dictionary definition of ‘stewardship’ is ‘the careful and responsible management of something that has been entrusted to our care.’  We have all been charged with the responsibility to be good stewards of our planet. With dedication and commitment, we are collectively striving to reach that goal – before it’s too late. If you’d like to discuss how to put sustainability on the planning agenda of your next conference or faith meeting or conference, our sales team will be delighted to explore opportunities

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