The integrated resort invests in carbon neutrality to transform events at one of Asia’s most sustainable venues as it gears up for pilot events in October involving up to 250 persons.
Sands Expo and Convention Centre at Marina Bay Sands has become the first carbon neutral MICE venue in Singapore, giving another boost to the venue’s capability to host innovative and sustainably-driven events.
As Sands Expo gears up for a gradual re-opening, clients can conduct meetings and conferences that are 100 per cent carbon neutral and at no additional cost. Already a LEED-Platinum and ISO20121-certified venue, Sands Expo’s carbon neutral status is a step in the right direction towards Singapore’s transition to a low-carbon economy.
“Being carbon neutral gives us the opportunity to raise the bar for sustainable events and demonstrate our commitment towards managing our environmental footprint effectively with our MICE partners. Together with our resource-efficient infrastructure and customisable meeting solutions, our carbon neutral MICE venue adds another dimension to our suite of sustainable event solutions. Since 2012, we have reduced our carbon footprint by 33 per cent, and we will continue to explore industry-leading methods to further decouple our carbon footprint from our business growth,” said Kevin Teng, Executive Director of Sustainability, Marina Bay Sands.
Achieving carbon neutrality
Since its early days, Marina Bay Sands has invested in energy efficient infrastructure to reduce its carbon footprint. For example, its S$25 million Intelligent Building Management System has helped save over 7.4 million kWh of energy annually since 2012. Sub-metered floors at the integrated resort’s (IR) MICE venue also help event organisers effectively track energy usage across specific areas.
Marina Bay Sands’ latest investment in Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and carbon offsets covers 100 per cent of the carbon emissions generated from the meeting venue’s gas and electricity consumption. The RECs are being purchased from Sembcorp Solar (Sembcorp), as part of the IR’s commitment to support the development of renewable energy in Singapore. Each REC represents the environmental benefits of one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity generated from a renewable energy source.
From 2019 to 2022, Marina Bay Sands is committed to purchase an annual average of approximately 25,000 RECs, based on the IR’s yearly energy consumption levels over the last five years. This corresponds to electricity generated by various solar rooftop projects in Singapore which have been developed, installed, owned and operated by Sembcorp.
Jen Tan, Senior Vice President, Head of Solar (Singapore & SEA), Sembcorp Industries, said: “Our focus is to help customers lower their carbon footprint. Our engagement with Marina Bay Sands is a good example of our commitment to help businesses meet their green energy needs and their sustainability targets. Carbon-neutral venues are a growing trend to promote environmental sustainability in the MICE industry and we are delighted to be able to extend such green options to Marina Bay Sands and its customers.”
Since 2013, Marina Bay Sands has been enhancing clients’ sustainable meeting experiences through the Sands ECO360 green meetings programme, ranging from sustainable advisory services, comprehensive waste management initiatives to post-event impact statements. Over the years, its sustainable meetings programme has won several accolades including the prestigious UFI Sustainable Development Award in 2015.
The IR is also offsetting its carbon footprint through the purchase of carbon credits to fund certified projects that reduce carbon emissions, such as wind energy projects.
Reimagining the future of meetings
The IR is working towards welcoming MICE events of up to 250 attendees upon obtaining the necessary approvals from the Singapore Government. These pilot events must demonstrate the ability to implement Safe Management Measures to ensure the health and safety of the delegates in attendance.
One of the pilot events taking place under this arrangement is the Singapore International Energy Week Conference 2020, which is scheduled to take place at Marina Bay Sands from 26- 30 Oct 2020.
Apart from being a carbon neutral venue, events held at Sands Expo will be reimagined for a safer delegate experience. Each event will feature reduced capacities and measures to adhere to safe distancing requirements – from onsite registration processes, event queue management systems to redesigned event set-ups.
Theatre-style set-ups will observe government guidelines on capacity and prevailing safe distancing rules. Banquet table capacity will be reduced, with the distance between tables doubled. Meeting rooms will be equipped with teleconferencing capabilities, as virtual conferences become the norm in the current age of travel restrictions.
New prototypes being developed and tested for the resumption of safe tradeshows – such as meeting pods and exhibition booths with plexiglass guards – will also be tested out at TravelRevive – powered by ITB Asia and STB, a new event taking place at Marina Bay Sands in November.
“The MICE industry is currently experiencing an accelerated digital transformation, and traditional event set-ups no longer serve the needs of event planners in this new environment. Digitisation, flexibility of venue spaces as well as health and safety protocols will be event planners’ key priorities following the resumption of the industry. Marina Bay Sands is investing in the future and has further expanded our in-house capabilities to meet the demands of the evolving landscape,” said Mr Ong Wee Min, Vice-President of Conventions & Exhibitions, MICE, Marina Bay Sands.
This includes its new state-of-the-art Hybrid Broadcast Studio, adding to its suite of first-to-market lighting, video, sound and logistics equipment. “We will continue to introduce technological innovation to the business event industry by offering AR, VR, XR and holographic telepresence capabilities for the Hybrid Broadcast Studio to create a unified experience for both in-person and virtual audiences,” said Mr Ong.
As with the rest of the Integrated Resort, Sands Expo – which is already certified SG Clean as well as by Bureau Veritas – will enjoy enhanced hygiene protocols. In addition to more regular disinfection measures, all audio visual equipment will be cleaned and sanitised after each use.
Electrostatic sprayers will also disinfect meeting services spaces including the business centre, podiums, waiting areas, halls and lobbies.
The F&B team has also redesigned the way food will be served to delegates. All meeting buffets will be transformed into set lunches instead of self-service, to minimise physical interactions and social mingling.
“Having an operationally safe venue and sanitised operations will be the baseline moving forward for all venues hosting business events. It is the collaborative partnership that we have with our clients, partners and stakeholders that will enable us to co-create new experiences for our respective client communities and truly set us apart. Together, we will reimagine the future, just like how we redefined business events experiences in the last 10 years together,” added Mr Ong.
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