Switch to 100% renewable energy puts The O₂ centre stage on sustainability

Hosting over 200 events and 8 million visitors a year means minimising carbon footprint is an important focus for The O₂. John Marler, Senior Director, Energy and Environment at parent group AEG explains its industry-leading approach to sustainability.

Why is buying 100% renewable energy important for AEG?

At AEG, we are always looking for ways to reduce energy consumption at our venues around the world. We are one of the first live music and sports companies to adopt a science-based goal for reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 3.2% per year from 2010 to 2020. We have purchased 100% renewable energy to power O₂ since July 2013 and it’s already making a significant contribution to our greenhouse gas reduction targets.

What were the key drivers for adopting a science-based goal for GHG emissions?

We believe that aligning our efforts with the latest scientific consensus on climate change provides important context for our work to minimise the impact of our operations. The ambitious new target provides a robust framework for initiatives underway across the group.

Adopting this new goal helps to reinforce our position at the forefront of sustainability in the sports and entertainment industry and also helps demonstrate that we are trying to do our part to address this global challenge.

What are the benefits of sourcing 100% renewable electricity?

Buying 100% renewable energy is part of our wider energy strategy and it makes good business sense, as well as delivering CSR benefits.

Historically, fossil fuels have brought quite a lot of volatility to energy prices which is challenging from a budgeting perspective particularly given energy represents our second-highest operating cost. Buying green energy not only hedges our energy exposure but also reduces overall costs in the long term as the cost of renewable generation continues to come down.

Is the independent certification from the Carbon Trust important to AEG?

Absolutely. Proper carbon accounting is critical to our ability to meet our GHG reduction goals. We want to ensure we are getting the products we need and independent certification ensures that we will.

How does the Energy Label help with your GHG reporting?

The Energy Label, which specifies the source and carbon content of the electricity we buy, is an important benefit for us as one of the biggest challenges in energy procurement is getting transparency and having confidence in what you are buying. The last thing we want is to be talking about what we are doing on energy procurement and sustainability only to find out later we haven’t actually been buying what we thought we were. The O₂ is the third site in the AEG portfolio to reach the milestone of reaching 100% sourcing of renewable electricity and it’s great that we now have this transparency so we know exactly what we are getting.

Is sustainability an area that staff at The O₂ are engaged with? How important are behaviours in helping AEG achieve its targets?

Sustainability has been an integral part of operations at The O₂ since the beginning. Because of the size of its operational footprint, The O₂ is a significant contributor to AEG’s progress towards its sustainability goals, so we appreciate our team’s commitment to continually reducing the environmental footprint of operations at The O₂.

What are the company’s long term energy ambitions?

Energy represents AEG’s second-highest operating cost, so how we manage our energy usage is critical to our long-term success. To that end, our strategy on the supply side is to continually search for and procure cost-effective and environmentally preferable supplies for energy. On the demand side, we implement energy efficient practices and technologies and install distributed energy resources like solar and energy storage.

AEG is the world’s leading sports and live entertainment company and their commitment to reducing GHG emissions has achieved a 13% reduction in their annual GHG emissions across the sites in their portfolio since 2010 - the equivalent to taking 3,200 vehicles off the road.

> Read AEG's 2016 Sustainability Report

> Find out more about our certified renewable electricity