Phoebe Currie, sustainability & social values manager at Bristol-based lighting and event services supplier SLX, reveals the company’s Net Zero ambitions. She says real change needs to start with the supply chain.

At SLX, we want to step away from the narrative that the events industry is a “build and burn” sector. Although numerous new sustainable events companies have popped up in recent years and it is a topic that everyone is keen to talk about, there are many conversations that still need to be had.

We are predominantly a lighting hire company, and I believe that much of the responsibility to be sustainable falls on people like us. If the supply chain is not supplying sustainable products, how can event organisers and venues make green choices when it comes to the planning stage?

Our ambition is to become an industry leader for sustainability commitments and innovation, and make a demonstrable impact. We want to build on the good work we have already done in this regard, and be the company that others within the industry look to for best practice examples. So, how are we going about doing this?

One of our key targets is becoming Net Zero by 2030. We have identified four key focus areas in which we can make changes to achieve this; our transport, operations, warehouse, and suppliers. Firstly, transport. As a rental hire business we spend a lot of time on the road delivering and collecting kit from jobs, making this the largest contributor to our carbon footprint. We are looking to reduce this by investing in an electric fleet, installing EV charging ports to encourage our visitors to switch to electric, and changing from diesel to HVO for our larger vehicles.

Our warehouse currently runs on 100% renewable energy. However, one of our goals is to make our warehouse completely energy self-sufficient by installing PV panels across our roof.

We are also changing the way we approach our contracts, so that we can keep sustainability in mind from the start and offer more sustainable alternatives to our clients. I am currently creating an SLX bespoke energy rating for our lights, which will be able to calculate the eco-efficiency of our fixtures and offer sustainable solutions to any contract requirement. Hopefully in the future those in our industry will think twice before signing off on diesel generators, PVC tape or energy inefficient fixtures.

The most important thing we can do is to ask difficult questions, and lead by example with forward-thinking sustainable practices.