On Monday 4th April, 2030hub, Marketing Liverpool and Liverpool's Visitor Economy Network were joined by over eighty registrants from the hospitality and tourism sector in across the City Region to discuss “How To Win More Business By Being ‘Good’” at ACC Liverpool.
Marketing Liverpool Director Chris Brown opened the event to highlight the importance of this new initiative to be locked into the rebuilding of the local visitor economy in a post-Covid recovery landscape. Bill Addy, Chief Executive of Liverpool BID Company and Chair of Liverpool Visitor Economy Network (LVEN) also spoke in support of the need for businesses to be holistically good, rather than just bolting on 'good' projects, and that this was the time for Liverpool to step-up a sustainability gear.
David Connor (Co-Director, 2030hub) gave a short presentation introducing to the hospitality and tourism sectors how they can each accelerate their own sustainability journey. Overall, the presentation explained how each business is different and they need to look internally to see where they can make the most significant impact, and also that the city needs a collaborative approach using each organisation's key assets intelligently. He encouraged the audience to explore using the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and B Corp as useful frameworks for organisations to see where they can make their biggest and most effective long-lasting change.
David ended on the note of encouraging organisations to look at what they are already doing and talk more openly about it. Roy Boardman explained how the Palm House had stopped using plastic in their outside events and were repurposing wasted coffee grounds for compost. If more organisations, like Palm House, began to talk more openly about what they are doing it will help encourage others in the tourism sector to do the same.
The main panel speakers included Ben Williams (Commercial Director, ACC Liverpool), Lucy Antal (Senior Project Manager, Feedback Global), Roy Boardman (Director, Sefton Park Palm House, and Russell Grocott (Director, Lu Ban Restaurant). All giving insight into how their organisations have begun to make sustainable changes to their business and the benefits they were now seeing from making these choices.
A big theme at the event concerned food, particularly food waste and suppliers. Lucy Antal gave some fantastic insight into the long-term impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, explaining how supplies of products such as cooking oil - particularly sunflower oil - will become scarce in the very near future and food providers should be planning and adapting menus now for shortages in the horizon.
She encouraged restaurants and hotels to stay ahead of the curve and begin investing in more local produce. This will not only help them avoid being impacted by food shortages but is a more sustainable option, reducing food miles and benefitting other local businesses.
With at least 140,000 tonnes of food being wasted in the Liverpool City Region each year, it is essential for hotels and restaurants to be looking into ways of reducing their food waste and find alternative ways of reusing produce to reduce the amount of food that is currently ending up in landfill. This is vital in not only saving money but increasing sustainability.
Lu Ban's Russell Grocott spoke of the need to recruit, engage and train staff beyond traditional food skills and expectations, and also their impressive collaborative work exploring new technologies to help them with their carbon reduction aspirations.
Roy Boardman also shared how important business planning and access to finance was, even when replacing something such as single-use plastic cutlery as upfront investment at the required scales can be a big barrier and lower-priority for small businesses.
Another significant discussion point was public transport, especially regarding Liverpool’s nighttime economy. Ben Williams explained how the ACC and other event organisers have began to offer concessions to customers who chose to travel into the city for events using public transport.
This inevitably touched on the importance of ensuring that public transport within the city region is a greener choice, with trains, buses, cycling and walking being preferred in order to keep emissions down and improving air quality across the city centre. in particular.
Also, by making improvements to public transport, like introducing night buses, will only bring in more business, as it encourages people to stay out, spend more and, at the end of their evening, choose the more sustainable option to travel home.
The strength of the individual conversations before, during and after the event, including those at Albert Dock's The Long Shot Bar fuelled by a free glass of sponsored prosecco was truly energising. The tangible display of eagerness and community was apparent to all.
As within many sectors or across geographies, Liverpool's independent pockets of early visitor economy sustainability / corporate social responsibility practice could be seen to begin to connect together, and something which will be further reinforced by the upcoming new Sustainable Working Group for this sector as a key next step.
Accountability is key to authentic performance improvement in any sector, and around the event we witnessed encouraging enthusiasm in Liverpool to do much more and quickly. 2030hub saw numerous sign-ups by organisations and companies wanting to make a localised net zero pledge which is part of our 2030zero campaign - intended to provide businesses with the resources, free support and a peer-to-peer community they will need to navigate their way on their carbon reduction journey.
It is clear more and more organisations are realising that promoting ethical practices does win business. Sustainability HAS to be a top priority as it will not only benefit organisations economically and recover from COVID-19, but encourage others to do the same, and ultimately, supporting Liverpool to become a leadership sustainable city at the forefront of change.
If you want to stay up to date with visitor economy and wider SDG / B Corp and sustainability updates sign up for the 2030hub newsletter here, or make your local net zero position clear via www.2030zero.com