How Is COP26 Staying Eco-Friendly?
Nov 03 2021
From the 31st October to the 12th November 2021, state leaders and political delegates from some 197 nations around the world will gather in Glasgow, Scotland. The purpose of their congregation is to find common ground on the climate crisis and agree upon concrete targets and policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions and limiting global temperature rises to a maximum of 1.5°C.
With that in mind, it’s only fitting that the event itself is as eco-friendly as its ambitions. So what precautions and preparations have the organisers put in place to ensure it is as sustainable as it can be? Here’s a closer look at the various ways in which COP26 and its attendees are staying as eco-friendly as possible over the next ten days or so.
Gathering officials and executives from nearly 200 countries in all corners of the planet is going to entail a significant amount of air travel and emissions, any which way you look at it. However, the organisers have attempted to offset that unfortunate fact by using environmentally-friendly vehicles on the ground to improve air quality and reduce transport-related pollution at the event.
For example, electric vehicles (EVs) and luxury eco buses have been deployed to ferry delegates from their accommodation to the venue. Similarly, other sustainable forms of transport are in use in and around the ‘Blue Zone’, to help attendees get from A to B safely and efficiently. In this manner, the organisers are hoping to keep emissions at the event itself to a minimum.
An overwhelming majority of the food served to delegates at COP26 will be locally sourced. 95% of the event’s fare is expected to be farmed in the UK, with 80% coming from Scotland itself. Meanwhile, ingredients in dishes will be replicated across menus, ensuring that if one item does not sell as well as expected, it can be repurposed in another to reduce waste as much as possible.
What’s more, all drinks containers at the event are to be reusable, saving an estimated 250,000 single-use paper or plastic cups and mitigating the resultant problem of microplastic pollution. Suppliers have been chosen specifically due to their sustainable credentials, with companies which use renewable energy to power their operations and others which prioritise organic practices in the cultivation of their crops.
Finally, the choice of the venue city is as much of a statement as any of the preparations in place for COP26 itself. Glasgow was selected due to the fact that it was the first city in the world to sign up for the Global Destination Sustainability Index in 2016, in which it now occupies a very respectable fourth position. It has also committed to become carbon neutral by 2030, which would make it the first in the UK to do so.
Glasgow is also known as the ‘Dear Green Place’, largely due to the fact that it has around 100 parks in and around the city centre. It has plenty of zero-waste food shopping opportunities and has plans to introduce 150 electric buses into its transport fleet by the end of next year. Meanwhile, some hotels in the city are taking steps to make themselves as eco-friendly as possible, with ethically-sourced bedding and furniture and sustainable ingredients on the restaurant menus.
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