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British Marine signs sustainability pledge for Southampton Boat Show

by Joe Gallop

British Marine, the organiser of the Southampton International Boat Show, has pledged to make the 2021 edition the “most sustainable and environmentally friendly” in its 52-year history.

All exhibitors at the show, which takes place from 10-19 September, are being asked to sign up to the pledge which includes no single-use plastic water bottles on stands, outlets, or hosted events; to nominate a sustainability champion on their stand to oversee waste management and recycling at the show; to offer only sustainable and recyclable promotional goodies; and to only use compostable, recyclable or reusable cups, plates and cutlery. 

British Marine has focused on what it described as “distinct areas for change” at this year’s show, including plastics, paper, catering, waste and recycling, travel, education and awareness.

The trade association said it would give exhibitors the opportunity to enter the Southampton International Boat Show’s Exhibitor Sustainability Award, which will be presented by The Green Blue’s ambassador Mike Golding on press day (September 10).

Visitors have also been encouraged to buy products made from recycled and recyclable materials at the show, while discovering technological advances designed to protect the environment. Advice and guidance will be made available from The Green Blue stand, which is a joint initiative between British Marine and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) that highlights sustainable and environmentally friendly products and services through its Green Blue Business Directory.

Lesley Robinson, CEO of British Marine, said: “These mandatory requirements for 2021 are in addition to actions implemented at the last show in 2019, which has already seen the ban of all plastic straws, reduced use of single-use plastic for all show-related preparation and operations, encouraging the use of e-ticket and QR codes, and only using recycled paper if print materials are required. 

“We’re proud that during the 2019 show over 7.5 tons of waste was diverted from landfill by exhibitor actions.”

Robinson added: “This is our third year of a five-year sustainability pledge, and If we all make just one small change, together we’ll make one big difference.”

James Scott-Anderson, British Marine’s lead in environment, said: “By clearly defining categories, we can help everyone attending or visiting the show to be aware of small or large changes that can be made by the organisers, the exhibitors and the visitors.

“This includes, for example, having plenty of water refill points throughout the show, avoiding the need for any single-use water bottles, ensuring there are sustainable travel options and providing a donation opportunity for our environmental charity at the point of ticket purchase. 

“It requires some pre-planning, for example using e-tickets, rather than printed tickets, using only environmentally-sourced giveaways at the show, and post-event actions such as recycling stand materials as well as any activities during the show, like an organised beach clean.”  

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