ICC Belfast becomes first Green Meetings Gold certified conference venue on island of Ireland.
The International Convention Centre Belfast [ICC Belfast], together with sister entertainment venue, Waterfront Hall, has been awarded the Green Meetings Gold Award, accredited by Green Tourism, becoming the first purpose-built conference venue on the island of Ireland to receive the accolade.
This award recognises the commitment of tourism businesses that are actively working to become more sustainable. The Green Meetings Gold Award is acknowledged worldwide as the industry standard for exceptional environmental and sustainability practices. The Belfast venue achieved the award for its work in areas including protecting and supporting staff and customer health and wellbeing, energy monitoring and conservation measures, facilitating sustainable travel options for visitors and for the business and its strong support to community engagement, diversity, and inclusivity.
The award further enhances Belfast’s burgeoning reputation as one of the most sustainable destinations in the world – having reached number eleven in 2023 in the Global Destinations Sustainability Index. The city is the island of Ireland’s most sustainable tourism destination with seventy five percent of the city region’s 4,800 hotel rooms now officially accredited by Green Tourism
Welcoming the award, Julia Corkey, Chief Executive at ICC Belfast | Waterfront Hall | Ulster Hall said:
We are delighted to be the first conference venue on the island of Ireland to be awarded the Green Meetings Gold Award and are proud to play our part in supporting Belfast’s city-wide sustainability initiative.
“We have invested significant time and effort into reducing our environmental impact and enhancing our sustainability credentials, alongside our partners Hospitality Belfast and Mitie. Sustainability is a hugely important subject in the business events industry and our credentials in this space are relevant to decision-makers when choosing venues and destinations. This award is a fantastic reflection on our brilliant team who have recently celebrated industry wins including ‘Best Venue – UK’ at the C&IT Awards 2023 and ‘Customer Service Excellence’ at the Belfast Chamber Business Awards 2023.”
Two years ago, the state-of-the-art conference venue was awarded Green Meetings Silver Award and aligned to a city wide sustainable Green Tourism partnership funded by Belfast City Council and delivered by Visit Belfast. Achieving the Silver Award was the beginning of the ICC green tourism journey which has led us to this Gold Award accreditation.
A huge congratulations to the ICC Belfast team on becoming the first conference venue on the island of Ireland to receive the Green Meetings Gold Award.
"This is an incredible achievement for the venue and complements Belfast’s strategy to working with event organisers and delegates to deliver responsible and sustainable events with purpose. Belfast continues to thrive as the sustainable destination of choice on the Island of Ireland with more than 100 Belfast hotels, attractions and restaurants committed to sustainable tourism through the Green Tourism certification and awards programme. This award is another step towards our goal of making this region an inclusive, zero-emission, climate-resilient economy within a generation."
ICC Belfast launched its sustainability policy in 2021, which outlined 11 commitments which aligned to eight of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Iain Bell, Director of Finance, Risk and Corporate Services at ICC Belfast | Waterfront Hall | Ulster Hall, led the initiative internally. He said:
The Green Meetings benchmark and goals are built on a robust framework with across-the-board criteria aligned with the UN’s universally recognised sustainability goals. We received the Silver award in 2021 and continued on our sustainability journey, driving our commitment to the environment and sustainable business practices to reach the Gold accreditation.
"We implemented greener measures throughout all aspects of the organisation, such as sending zero waste to landfill, adopting a digital-first approach, and utilising the latest technology to minimise our environmental impact. This achievement reflects the dedication from the whole team and their diligence to providing a sustainable venue for meetings and events should be highly commended.”
It is estimated that hosting events, such as conferences and conventions in Northern Ireland is on track to deliver £120M to the local economy this year through sales, marketing, and visitor servicing activity. In October this year Belfast was officially named the world’s best conference destination at the Conference & Incentive Travel (C&IT) awards in London, securing a record-breaking position that underlines the city’s strengths as a major international draw for business delegates and event organisers.