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Sustainable City Awards


Following on from Efua’s previous post regarding our award wins, I thought we should provide a bit more information about the work we’ve been doing in the Centre which gave rise to, not only the 2 awards we won but also another 2 we were shortlisted for, for which we received certificates.

On the 1st march 5 staff and volunteers from The Castle Climbing Centre donned their posh threads and attended the Sustainable City Awards. At a packed ceremony at the Lord Mayor of the City of London’s residence, Mansion House, we were delighted to receive not just one award but two!

This seemed even more remarkable when we found out the awards received in excess of 300 applications in its 11th year of running. The awards, one for Sustainable Building and one for Sustainable Procurement, were presented by Raymond Blanc (who champions sustainable fish) and Simon Mills (Head of Sustainability at the City of London Corporation).

In Simon Mills’ opening speech he said “this evening honours the efforts of organisations, both large and small who are at the leading edge of sustainability. Despite the economic challenges the country faces we have received a record number of applications- this is representative of a fundamental truth, that during tough economic times, it is the organisations which focus on resource efficiency, supply chain value and innovation which will best weather the storm. Sustainability is not an optional extra, to be discarded when the chill winds of the recession begin to blow. It is an essential shield which can protect businesses, and give them a spring board for growth as the economy begins to thaw. It is you, Ladies and Gentlemen, not politicians, who lead this country out of recession and I salute you”.

In the last 3 years the Castle Climbing Centre has been working tirelessly in our efforts to become a sustainable business, reducing our carbon footprint and increasing our environmental performance.

The building has undergone numerous environmental refurbishments, which the customers may not see, but include 2 new builds; a training room and offices completed using ecological building methods including insulation, natural ventilation, natural light and low energy heating systems.

Our main investment continues to be in Research and Development with plans to convert our site into a low energy building - looking at how we can further develop our climbing areas whilst making our Victorian building as energy efficient as possible.

Since 2009 we’ve made some substantial changes to our procurement code, prioritising the sourcing of sustainable products in all areas of the business. Purchasing decisions not only affect the performance of the Castle and the staff doing the purchasing, but sends a wider message down our supply chains, influencing their behaviour too. It is a diverse range of goods, works and services which are affected, such as the purchase of climbing holds, shop merchandise, staff uniforms, stationary, garden plants and cafe groceries.

The one area that has most obviously undergone huge change has been the development of the 1 acre of green space at the back of the centre into a market garden which now provides fresh, organic produce, not only for our own cafe but for Hackney’s Growing Communities, local businesses and the local community.

The Castle Climbing Centre continues to work hard to develop the centre as a premier indoor climbing venue, but not at the expense of the environment.

A copy of our new development plans for the Castle can be viewed at Reception.