Sustainability, science and success

Date: 7 June 2024

For us, sustainability includes reducing our environmental impact, and boosting access and inclusion.

As a global learning, training and engagement programme, we are conscious of our responsibility to operate as sustainably as possible, across all our activities. For us, sustainability includes reducing our environmental impact, and boosting access and inclusion.

A greener venue

Logo: Green Meetings: SilverOur beautiful venue, Hinxton Hall Conference Centre, hosts over 500 events and around 20,000 delegates each year, including those coming to our own Campus-based learning and training activities. This summer, Hinxton Hall received a silver Green Meetings award from Green Tourism, the largest and most established sustainable certification programme in the world. The result of a rigorous assessment, a Green Meetings Award means that a business works responsibly, ethically and sustainably, contributes to their community, is reducing their impact on the environment, and aims to be accessible and inclusive to all visitors and staff.

Thanks to our Wellcome Genome Campus Estates and Facilities team, we have a waste management system through which we monitor and measure our non-organic and organic waste, as well as water and energy consumption. We use cleaning and washing products and systems that are not damaging to the environment, and we encourage wildlife and biodiversity on site. Campus wide, we assess our suppliers for their commitment to sustainability, ethical trade practices, and equality.

The Hinxton Hall estate and wider Wellcome Genome Campus have a number of different types of environment which support biodiversity.

Our Campus Gardening team collects and uses the coffee grounds from the Hinxton Hall kitchen, as well as frying oil, which they convert into biodiesel onsite and use to power vehicles on Campus. This year we have also set up Conference Centre-specific compost bays to reduce the amount our green waste travels.

At our meetings and events, our food and drink is ethically and responsibly sourced or produced; with many elements locally-grown or produced, which reduces food miles. Our partners Restaurant Associates have the highest Food Made Good accreditation by the Sustainable Restaurant Association, which covers sourcing, society and environment. They are also committed to Net Zero by 2030. Find out more about food sustainability at the Conference Centre.



We also regularly review, monitor, and measure, our consumption of single use items, setting targets for reduction. We do not have plastic cutlery or disposable salt and pepper sachets, and we have replaced all plastic water bottles in our accommodation and bar, with water machines and canned water.


Promoting inclusivity and accessibility across Wellcome Connecting Science

To support people with different physical accessibility requirements we have made a number of adaptations to our venue, the latest improvement being the installation of a gated lift allowing step-free access to the auditorium’s stage area.

Over the last few years, we also have invested in virtual and hybrid conferencing equipment for almost all of our meeting rooms. This gives our event organisers the ability to hold meetings that are accessible to those who would otherwise not be able to attend due to geography or cost, or those individuals and organisations who are reducing the amount they travel internationally for work. Our scientific conferences programme now runs a hybrid conference model, with hundreds of delegates attending each event virtually.

The Learning and Training team also used technology and collaborative support to reach scientists across the Global South, reducing both travel and cost implications. For example, over 350 researchers based in 22 countries participated in ‘distributed’ classrooms, using multiple platforms to access our SARS-CoV-2 Bioinformatics for Beginners course. Read more: From Covid to the classroom: How COG-Train shared learning from the pandemic to bolster global disease surveillance.

Tackling other barriers to attending to our Campus events, we support a carer grant to help delegates with the costs of caring for children or dependent family members. We have also been exploring potential barriers relating to race and ethnicity at research conferences, and how these intersect with other identities. Read about the outcomes in this article: Exploring the experiences of minoritised groups at life sciences conferences in the UK: new perspectives and actions to improve inclusivity in the sector.

By considering sustainability both as a strategic priority, and in terms of operational actions, we aim to ensure that we reduce our impact on the environment, whilst still making a positive impact on people. We are aware that sustainability is an ongoing process, so if there is anything you’d like to see from our venue or from our wider programme, please get in touch!