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January 23, 2007

FUTURE LONDON: the ultimate sustainable event

It’s one thing trying to make the events you organise as environmentally friendly as possible to satisfy your own corporate social responsibility strategy or that of your client if you’re a live marketing agency. However, if you’re organising an event that’s launching London’s campaign to become a greener city, as the capital takes its first steps to host the greenest Olympics on record in 2012, there can be no stone left unturned in the quest for sustainability.

That’s what live marketing agency Out of the Blue (OOTB) faced when London Unlimited asked it to help create Future London ‘Footprints of a Generation’ last autumn. “It was an interactive eco-installation,” explains Colin Hampden, OOTB’s head of partnerships.  

“As part of our remit we were charged with ensuring the event production was equally environmentally friendly,” says Hampden. “Through our chosen suppliers, building materials and even marketing literature we were able to deliver a truly environmentally friendly and sustainable event.”

Consisting of six interactive ‘arenas’, the event informed and challenged Londoners’ attitudes to the environment, promoting greener living in London by demonstrating how making small changes, such as recycling waste, or buying locally sourced food, could make a positive impact on the environment.

Through this live experience, London Unlimited, the new government agency responsible for developing a global brand for the capital, was able to communicate directly to Londoners, as well as tourists, who are a significant and constant feature of life in the capital.

Split into two, each of the six interactive arenas first shocked visitors with how their everyday actions can have a devastating environmental impact, before showing them how individuals committing to small changes can make a big difference. Each arena addressed key environmental issues, looking specifically at ‘building and energy’, ‘food’, ‘transport’ and ‘nature’, together with ‘future London, your London’ and ‘London 2012’.

In the ‘transport’ arena, for instance, visitors first had to pass through a car exhaust pipe – hot, smelly, noisy and filled with compelling video footage of how cars are contributing to climate change, air pollution, road accidents and congestion. In stark contrast, they were then presented with a clean and white area, featuring a bespoke photographic art exhibition of eco-friendly modes of transport.

Future London was initially housed at the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane before moving to The Science Museum. The installation was then dismantled so that the individual arenas could tour the city.

Delighted with the event, London Unlimited’s chief executive James Bidwell commented: “From the food we buy to how we travel to the office, every day we make choices that impact on the world around us. Future London ‘Footprints of a Generation’ engaged and informed visitors about how even the smallest changes to their daily routines can ensure London becomes an exemplary sustainable world city.”

And thanks to OOTB, no one could dilute the message by claiming the event itself was anything but green. In fact, its sheer sustainability only helped to strengthen the sentiment by showing what can be done with a medium that is generally thought of as being a threat to rather than a friend of the environment.

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