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July 1, 2009
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Groundbreaking trade union event powered by green energy




UNISON demonstrated its commitment to the environment in Brighton in June, when it held the first major trade union conference to be powered by solar energy.
 
"Hosting a solar-powered conference was the next step for UNISON, which stands at the forefront of green trade unionism," said the union's head of energy Mike Jeram. "We have been long-term supporters of renewable energy. The aim is to show employers and members of the public that solar energy is a great idea."
 
Debbie Mathews, sales manager at the Brighton Centre, where the event took place, expressed her delight at hosting the event, adding: "The use of solar energy is getting more and more prevalent in the meetings and events industry, so it is something we're getting used.”
 
Around 10 metres of solar panels and a battery trailer were set up to power the sound equipment and presentations at the conference.

“Where appropriate, delegates debated a variety of climate change and energy issues,” said Richard Newton of WPB Events, which organised the event. “From a logistical point of view, it was relatively simple. We placed solar panels at the front of the Brighton Centre and ran the power into the conference with minimum fuss for organiser or delegate."
 
UNISON has called for other organisations to take a leaf out of its book when it comes to seeking green opportunities.


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