Raccoon Events ditches aisle carpets in net-zero pledge

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Raccoon Events, the award-winning health and well-being events company behind shows such as The National Running Show, The National Cycling Show, The National Outdoor Expo, and The National Snow Show, has announced it will remove aisle carpets from all future events.

This is the first of many initiatives from Raccoon Events as they strive to become net-zero by 2025, announced by CEO Mike Seaman at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2021.

Mike commented: “When I announced our ambitious target at COP26, we were still in the process of having our carbon footprint measured. This is an in-depth analysis of all areas of our business to identify where we can make carbon reductions, and I’m thrilled to see we could save over 15,100kg CO2 e just from removing aisle carpets from our shows!”

Although they can be recycled, it’s not easy, and the carpet industry still produces significant carbon emissions. Mike explained: “We initially looked at recycling, but from manufacturing to installing and removing the carpet and then transporting it from venue to venue, it still added up to a significant footprint. So in the end, we decided to get rid of them completely.”

“Of course, we’re looking to our venue partners to come up with a sustainable yet comfortable alternative to make sure our visitors still have a great experience,” he added, “we’re looking forward to seeing what they come up with but in the meantime we will be pushing forward to remove all aisle carpets at our shows..”

To measure its carbon footprint, Raccoon Events partnered with ecollective, a carbon emissions analysis firm. Charlie Cotton, Founder of ecollective, said: “When you think of carbon footprints and emissions, you normally don’t think of carpets, but to tackle the climate crisis, no area of a business should be out of scope. When we worked through the data and presented it back to the Raccoon Events team, the numbers spoke for themselves.”

Raccoon Events set up a Sustainability Working Group to work with suppliers and exhibitors to reduce their carbon footprint. Event carpeting was one of the first areas they focussed on.

Matthew Lambert, Director of Operations at Raccoon Events, said: “When we got the data back from ecollective, we jumped at the chance to make a real difference. So when visitors flock to the National Running Show South in May, they’ll take part in a much more sustainable show experience. Not only have we removed aisle carpets, but our ambassador teams all wear T-shirts made from recycled plastic bottles produced by our partners Scimitar.”

“In addition, we removed over 20,000 plastic merchandise bags, discouraged the use of single-use printed materials, and swapped our printed show guides with a digital alternative. We even replaced our VIP gift bags with ones made from sustainable and biodegradable jute.”

Raccoon Events is calling on the rest of the event industry to follow its lead and assess their supply chains. Matt continued: “We want to challenge every supplier and partner to join us in focusing on minimising their carbon footprint and offsetting any emissions that can’t be reduced. We’ve also given our visitors the option to offset their emissions from travelling to the venue. We want our guests to feel confident that whenever they visit one of our events, it’s as sustainable as we can make it. Even down to the (lack of) carpet under their feet.”