Glasgow’s OVO Hydro, a Scottish Event Campus (SEC) venuehas been announced as the first arena in the world to achieve A Greener Arena (AGA) certification for its commitment to sustainability.

AGA is awarded by A Greener Festival (AGF), a not-for-profit company committed to helping events, festivals and venues around the world, including Glastonbury, Primavera Sound and Roskilde, to reduce their environmental impact. 

AGA takes a holistic approach to sustainability, not only looking at emissions and environmental impacts but also people, inclusion and wellbeing. Assessors highlighted the OVO Hydro’s commitment to reducing emissions, enhancing local biodiversity, and being an instrument of positive change on the arena tour circuit.

They praised the venue’s use of 100% renewable electricity, elimination of single use plastic cups at live events saving two million cups per year, campus wide sustainable food strategy and expansion plans for electric vehicle charging points. The “outstanding” programme for inclusion, health and wellbeing for staff through the dedicated people department was also highlighted.

Arena naming rights partner OVO Energy supported the venue’s goal to achieve ‘Greener Arena Certification’ through funding of specific carbon-reduction and environmental initiatives. OVO said it would back the effort after it took on the naming rights back in October.

As part of the assessment, AGF will also share actionable recommendations with the OVO Hydro team that are designed to further evolve the venue’s ongoing certification assessments in years to come.

Debbie McWilliams, director of live entertainment at SEC, said: “More than ever we are focused on the impact our business has on the planet and are proud to be awarded A Greener Arena certification.

“Receiving such an accolade is further proof of our commitment to delivering a greener future for our events. Being the first arena in the world to accomplish this is a huge achievement and we hope this paves the way for others to follow.

“It is a significant milestone on our journey towards net zero by 2030, and a real credit to the team who work so passionately on implementing our sustainability strategy.”

Alongside 100% renewable electricity and elimination of single use plastic cups at live events, the campus has implemented a sustainable food strategy where a minimum of 80% of all ingredients are sourced in Scotland, as well as reducing food waste to below 1%. The strategy combines working with staff, organisers, partners and visitors to support the net zero journey.

Claire O’Neill, co-founder of AGF, said: “A Greener Festival was launched in 2007 and since then we’ve assessed over 1,000 events, tours and venues across five continents, providing the first and only sustainable event certification including on site assessment of practical implementation and independent verification across 11 categories of event analysis, and the first dedicated arena certification.

“We’re delighted for the team at the OVO Hydro, and we hope that this leads the way for more arenas to get involved in the process.”

Today’s (Friday’s) announcement comes after State Farm Arena, home of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, this week became the first sports and entertainment venue in the world to be awarded TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency) Platinum certification by the Green Business Certification Inc (GBCI).

The GBCI is the world’s leading sustainability and health certification and credentialing body. It offers four levels of TRUE certification: Certified (31-37 points), Silver (38-45 points), Gold (46-63 points) and Platinum (64-81 points).

State Farm Arena is the first venue to be awarded Platinum certification having earned near the maximum number of points across a variety of categories including redesign, reduce, reuse, compost (re-earth), recycle, zero-waste reporting, diversion (minimum 90%), zero-waste purchasing, leadership, training, zero-waste analysis, upstream management, hazardous waste prevention, closed loop system and innovation.