Sustainable Plan for Tourism & Conventions 2023-25


Glasgow aspires to become one of Europe’s leading sustainable tourism destinations. The city has an overall goal to be carbon neutral by 2030 and acknowledges the destination’s role in promoting and encouraging responsible tourism.

Using the UN Sustainable Development Goals as inspiration, the city will focus on developing, measuring and reporting on the actions in the Sustainability Plan for Tourism & Conventions 2023-25.

The Tourism, Destination Marketing and Convention Bureau teams at Glasgow Life work with industry partners, VisitScotland and Scottish Enterprise, to develop and report on Sustainable Glasgow initiatives.

Our 2nd Sustainability Plan for Tourism & Conventions 2023-25 builds on our first phase 2022-23 version.  This updated plan reflects our focus for the next two years as we work with industry to develop the tourism and conventions sector and raise our profile to benefit our citizens, our economy and environment. Many of the actions in our Plan, have been updated to reflect our progress and the enhanced focus on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Accessibility

Glasgow: Dear Green Place Video
Video transcript for Glasgow: Dear Green Place

This plan sets out key actions which focus on driving and supporting change across the sector. The actions within this plan will be incorporated into the new 2024-26 tourism action plan (aimed for completion early 2024) which will feed into and directly support:

We are experiencing dynamic change and there is a need now for our tourism industry, government, public sector and communities to collectively respond, adapt and work together to deliver responsible, sustainable and managed growth for the future.

sign the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge

The UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge aims to promote sustainable travel, community resilience and heritage conservation globally. By signing the Pledge, properties publicly commit to actions that will reduce the environmental impact of their businesses, raising awareness to travellers and helping them make more sustainable travel choices.

The Pledge is free and easy to join, whether for individual self-catering properties or global hotel chains, and everything in between. Read more about The Pledge and sign up on the UNESCO website

Sustainable Conference Destination

In August 2016, Glasgow became the first city in the UK to be included in a new sustainability ranking of leading destinations.  Today, the number of destinations taking part in the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS Index) has more than doubled, bringing cities together to benchmark and improve their social and environmental performance by highlighting best practice and promoting responsible tourism. Glasgow is currently ranked as number 8 in the world.

Glasgow Convention Bureau actively promotes greener options to conference organisers and works with industry to highlight and encourage businesses to implement environmentally friendly practices. They were the first ever convention bureau to win a Green Tourism Award as well as the first in the world to join Tourism Declares.

The below documents provide industry with helpful summaries of how they can be more 'green'. 

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change - COP26

The Scottish Event Campus hosted the UN Climate Change Conference in late 2021. This globally significant event brought the world together to address climate change. COP26 was be the biggest conference ever staged in Scotland, welcoming participants from all over the world. For more information visit the conference website.

Supporting your business:

There are many reasons to become more sustainable:

  • Increasing efficiency and reducing running costs 
  • Protecting and enhancing our environment and cultural heritage
  • Enhancing the visitor experience 
  • Ensuring legal compliance
  • Gaining market advantage

There are many actions that your business can benefit from quickly which are simple and cost little or nothing.

For more information on sustainable tourism, has a dedicated section of helpful resources including factsheets helping your business become more sustainable.

Circular Glasgow - GROUNDS FOR RECYCLING 2023

This campaign is the next reiteration of Plate up for Glasgow which was a hospitality industry led month-long campaign in the lead up to COP26.  Grounds for Recycling is an innovative hospitality and tourism led campaign designed to help tackle the industry’s used coffee waste.  

Led by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, Glasgow Life and Zero Waste Scotland, partners launched the scheme in April 2023.  With Glasgow hosting the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, this provided a unique opportunity to demonstrate how “the power of the bike” and events of scale can play a key role in addressing global issues, such as the climate emergency, while supporting Scotland to deliver on its Net Zero and circular ambitions. 

Too Good to Go

Each day businesses throw out fresh food because they were unable to sell it in time. Not only is this wasteful and bad for the environment, but it also costs businesses a lot of money. Too Good to Go is a fantastic resource for businesses who are looking to reduce their food waste and recoup some of those wasted costs. Visit the Too Good to Go website for more information.

Guardians of Grub

Organisations in the Hospitality & Food Service sector are increasingly expected to undertake measures to ensure sustainability in their operations, and in their supply chains.  

The Guardians of Grub is a united collective from across the Hospitality and Food Service sector. The sole aim is to reduce the food we waste, to defend our profits and help protect our world. 

Guardians of Grub offers free, practical tools to empower professionals across the Hospitality and Food Service sector to take a stand against wasted food. Access resources on their website. Join the Guardians of Grub free today.

Green Tourism

Green Tourism's expert advice, eco-development programmes and internationally respected accreditation scheme have helped thousands of businesses adopt greener working practices, saving them money and making a real difference to the environment.  Glasgow Life Leisure and Business members benefit from a 10% discount with Green Tourism.

slow food Glasgow

Slow Food Glasgow's main goal is to encourage responsible food choices by our citizens, allowing us to move towards a healthier population and planet. Slow Food Glasgow follows the Slow Food ethos of good, clean and fair food for everyone.

The Slow Food Cooks’ Alliance is a network which unites cooks from restaurants, bistros and street kitchens from around the world. These cooks are all committed to defending biodiversity, traditional gastronomic skills and cultures, and supporting local food producers. Visit their website for more details. 

Green Key 

Green Key award is the leading standard for excellence in the field of environmental responsibility and sustainable operation within the tourism industry. This prestigious eco-label represents a commitment by businesses that their premises adhere to the strict criteria set by the Foundation for Environmental Education. Read more on the Green Key website

Zero Waste Scotland

Zero Waste Scotland  aims to motivate individuals and businesses to embrace the environmental, economic, and social benefits of a circular economy. 

They have two main areas of business support:

Energy Efficient Business Support offers businesses free support to reduce costs by implementing resource efficiencies in energy, water, raw materials and waste management.

The Circular Economy Accelerator programme aims to increase the resource efficiency of Scottish SMEs, strengthen Scotland's circular economy, and support community-based organisations. 

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