London’s O2 & OVO Arena Wembley Receive A Greener Arena Certification

The O2
The O2: England’s first arena with A Greener Arena certification. (Photographer:

Two iconic buildings in the UK have received A Greener Arena certification, the accolade awarded to buildings taking a holistic approach to sustainability, not only looking at emissions and environmental impacts but also people, inclusion and wellbeing.

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A Greener Arena certification was initiated by UK non-profit company A Greener Festival (AGF), which is committed to helping events, festivals and venues around the world. It classified The O2’s sustainability efforts as “outstanding.”

The O2 is the first venue in England to receive the certification for both its measures to reduce emissions, which include running on 100% renewable energy, and its dedication to the health and wellbeing as well as equality, diversity and inclusion of staff.

See: The O2 Presents Billie Eilish With Sustainable First-Time Award

Steve Sayer, VP and GM at The O2, commented, “We’re so proud to have achieved our Greener Arena certification, and to be paving the way for other arenas in England and around the world. Sustainability has been an integral part of our business strategy this year, and with events like Overheated we’ve been able to make real strides in this space.

“Becoming a more sustainable venue is a constantly evolving task, and we know there’s still a lot more work to do, which is why we’re hiring new, dedicated resource next year to help take on this challenge. We’re looking forward to working closely with AGF following the actions from their certification report and publishing a comprehensive Green Rider for The O2. This will ensure that we provide a best-in-class experience for both artists and fans in an even more sustainable way.”

The O2’s sustainability-driven initiatives this year include the cross-campus climate festival Overheated in June, which saw the arena go vegan for Billie Eilish’s six shows at the building; a reduction in the amount of single-use plastic used at the venue through the implementation of paper cups and recycled PET plastic wristbands; the venue’s catering partner Levy UK + Ireland has committed to reaching net zero at The O2 arena by 2025, which will be a venue-first for the catering company.

See: O2 London Announces New Sustainability Measures

OVO Arena Wembley by Luke Dyson
The OVO Arena Wembley. (Picture by Luke Dyson)

In London’s west, OVO Arena Wembley has also received A Greener Arena certification via AGF.

Following an eight-month certification process, which provides external verification that carbon reduction and transition strategies are at the heart of all venue operations, from catering to materials used and circularity, the OVO Arena Wembley was officially certified as “Improvers.”

According to AGF’s definition, “Improvers signify great strides on the green arena journey, with positive actions and improvements that show the arena exhibits a significant engagement with reducing negative environmental and social impacts, and enhancing positive impacts. Improvers are increasingly understanding their emissions and setting measurable targets for continuous improvements.”

AGF added, “OVO Arena Wembley has demonstrated a passionate drive to run a greener arena and a focus on improving practices going forwards. The team has shown a determination to advance sustainability, through considered resource use, protection and enhancement of local and wider environments, as well as positive social and community engagement. Everyone at AGF is very grateful for the efforts and achievements of Arenas striving for AGF certification, and again we thank you wholeheartedly for your actions to make the global live event industry greener.”

As the oldest arena in the UK, the OVO Arena Wembley also has the lowest embodied carbon impact, proving that a building’s age can most certainly be a virtue.

Since April 2022, OVO Arena Wembley, a listed building, synonymous with some of the world’s biggest artists and shows for over 60 years, has delved into the process via a baseline CO2 analysis and impact assessment, to develop and guide the arena’s strategy towards achieving its sustainability goals. “The arena supports OVO Energy’s commitment to becoming a net-zero business by 2035, and drive progress towards zero carbon living,” according to the press release announcing its A Greener Arena certification.

See: ASM Global UK Venues Aiming For A Greener Arena Certification

Chris Bray, EVP of Europe at ASM Global, the operator of OVO Arena Wembley, said, “On behalf of the ASM Global team, a huge congratulations to everyone at the OVO Arena Wembley on completing AGF’s Greener Arena certification. It’s a fantastic achievement and a positive step in the right direction, as ASM Global works towards its long-term sustainability goals.

“As a company, we are passionate about driving forward a greener future for the live events industry, and with the support of AGF, we’re able to continually learn, develop and innovate in this space. OVO Arena Wembley is the first of many ASM Global venues to undergo this process, with our entire UK portfolio soon to be following suit, backed by the company’s social responsibility platform ASM Global Acts.”

Claire O’Neill, CEO, AGF said, “The OVO Arena Wembley is one of the most iconic venues steeped in music history and remains a significant artery for the lifeblood of live music. The team at OVO Arena Wembley show determination to be a forerunner in making their venue sustainable, and helping all touring productions in the UK to become greener as a result. In addition to their own ambitions they are actively sharing with the rest of the industry to speed up the transition from fossil fuels and waste to clean energy and a circular economy. With players such as this putting their weight and experience behind making things better I am hopeful for the future.”

John Drury, VP and GM, OVO Arena Wembley said, “We are incredibly proud to be recognised as a Greener Arena in 2022, even more so to be the longest-standing arena in the UK to achieve this certification. This shows that reinvention of existing buildings and a focus on sustainability lowers impact dramatically while also paying back the embodied carbon in its build emissions. Sustainability is at the heart of our operations and we’re on a journey that we’re sharing with visiting productions, artists and promoters, to ensure our environmental practices align. This enables us to work together to put on shows in a greener way, as should be the industry standard now and even more so in future as we learn and evolve.

“It is wonderful to have the opportunity to develop ways and means to preserve and uphold the heritage of this remarkable venue, and to implement the very best and latest in innovative environmental strategies. It’s fantastic for our iconic and world famous venue to be able to demonstrate that building age is no barrier to environmentally sustainable initiatives. Sometimes adapting older venues is the real way to develop a green future!”

See: OVO Hydro World’s First Arena With ‘A Greener Arena Certification’

About AGF certification process:

AGF, the team behind the Greener Arena Certification, offers recommendations for immediate and mid term improvements, strategic emission reductions and holistic improvement of the venue’s sustainability for people as well as the environment. Following a detailed self assessment bringing together all departments and stakeholders, site audits are completed by AGF assessors. The subsequent report gives the certification level across 10 key areas, setting the baseline KPIs and roadmap for actions, not least to keep climate change within 1.5oC in line with the IPCC recommendations.