With the analysis of the success of the Eurovision Song Contest now complete, we caught up with Riannah Brown, event manager at Culture Liverpool when she attended The Showman’s Show. Working alongside Kate Gilson, event manager, Riannah was event manager for the Eurovision Village and sustainability champion. Here she shares the steps taken to reduce the event’s environmental impact, the legacy its left and Liverpool’s aspirations for delivering more sustainable events in the future.
“For Eurovision there were two major factors for delivering the Eurovision Song Contest and its surrounding events – budget and time. We made the most sustainable choices possible with the funds and timeframe available.
Many of the generators had to run 24/7 due for security reasons and we used 54,000 litres of fuel in total. Running them all on HVO had a massive impact on reducing our emissions. The Eurovision Village consumed 97,000 litres of water during the nine days it was open. This was all brought in on tankers and saved 194,000 500ml single use plastic bottles of water being consumed. With so many of our key city event locations in regular use we’re now exploring the possibility of adding mains power and water stations to those areas. For example, Lunar New Year happens every year in St. George’s Square so let’s put in a permanent power supply. A working group within Liverpool City Council that includes representatives from sustainability, highways and events has been established to progress the initiatives.
We set out to reduce single use plastic and encourage recycling wherever we could. Our bar operator V Live were really supportive and looked into a range of options for the cups onsite. In the end they went with a brand where the cups are made from 100% recycled plastic and are biodegradable within 12 months even if they ended up in landfill accidently. Interestingly, we’ve come across a couple of reusable cup suppliers here at the show today so we’ll definitely be following up with them for future events.
Other recycling initiatives included working with Recipro, a company that focuses on reusing products whilst benefiting the local community based in the Wirral. They collected parts of the carpet plinth that was used at the Turquoise carpet event. In addition, all waste onsite was sent to a Waste-to-energy plant and nothing was sent to landfill.
We measured travel, waste and fuel for our host city elements, this was a first for Eurovision and also a first for us at Culture Liverpool. There were learnings from this and we received a good response over all from suppliers, but there is still some data outstanding regarding travel, as this wasn’t a compulsory element in our tender process.
Audience travel is difficult for us to track with the majority of the host city elements being free to the public, though we worked with national and regional transport teams to make public transport as appealing as possible for those attending. A positive for us is that the Village, the Arena and EuroClub were all within walking distance of each other, helping to reduce the impact of transport for those attending multiple events throughout the day. Liverpool does love a party and clearly our residents didn’t to miss out as reports indicate that we attracted a large audience from the local area.
Sustainability was a key factor during our procurement process with our contractors and suppliers, we asked a range of questions on their green policies whilst onsite and also during their own day to day running as a business.
Time and budget constraints are always going to be the main factors when making decisions regarding sustainable options, no-one has a bottomless pot of green money. However, we’ve made positive steps in the start of our sustainable journey for both our own events and also for Eurovision in its own right.
We pushed for the sky, created a legacy and now we’re on the right track to driving change. We’re definitely not pretending to know all the answers about all things sustainable, but we’re hoping that by being transparent and having open conversations will lead to positive changes for the city and ultimately the climate.”