Salesforce living their values at COP26

We love working with brands who share our passion for doing right in the world, that’s why we were thrilled to work with the wonderful team at Salesforce at COP26 - UN Climate Change Conference. Check out how we created this beautiful (and sustainable!) experience, as well as how our Cycle service ensured the activation had sustainability at its heart.

The Challenge

Create and manage a meeting space with the lowest possible carbon and waste footprint.

Our Approach

Salesforce is committed to sustainability. Not only do they demonstrate climate leadership in the industry, they also help their customers achieve net zero through their products. 

So, the company’s attendance at the COP26 UN Climate Change conference would need to be much more than a superficial brand exercise. Our solution: an event space fit for ‘ecopreneurs’ (including CEO Marc Benioff) to meet with influential COP26 attendees – but one that had the lowest environmental impact. 

To achieve this, we transformed a downtown Glasgow venue called The Spiritualist into Salesforce’s COP26 Lodge. Without fixing anything to walls, floors or ceilings we dressed the room using wood reclaimed from a nearby demolition site. Furniture was rented, not bought, and all food served was a mixture of vegetarian, vegan and pescatarian. Creative signage consisted of messaging routed into the wood panels, and where vinyl applications were used, they were of a recyclable nature. Even the trees and pot plants used to dress the venue were rented locally, and returned afterwards.

Suppliers were vetted for their sustainability practices and were required to minimise the number of truck movements. The Smyle staff all, with the exception of a few, eschewed air travel for the much lower carbon impact railways. 

Local staff and suppliers were used where at all possible.

The Result

Client feedback was universally positive. In line with the vision and goals of the brief, we ensured our operations were as sustainable as possible, including the use of renewable electricity and carbon neutral gas. Crew travel was minimised, as was their carbon footprint. What small amount of furniture that was bought was donated to local charities to extend their lifecycle. In fact, the percentage of materials reused, donated and repurposed on this project was an impressive 93%. The vegetarian food choice alone saved almost half a tonne of CO2 emissions. Such was the savings that the whole event came in 3% under budget – money that was subsequently donated to the charity Global Forest Generation. Cycle baseline event sustainability data was captured by Smyle to help inform future Salesforce events.

By keeping climate action front and center, Smyle and Salesforce's joint-event demonstrated that it is possible to embed sustainable practices from start to finish at events like we did at the Salesforce Lodge at COP26. Smyle's commitment to sustainability ensured that Salesforce event production decisions at COP26 were vetted through a sustainability lens, and provided expert guidance on environmentally-friendly best practices that created a holistic experience for attendees.
Kelly Cowden, Senior Manager, Strategic Events at Salesforce

Leading the way in sustainable experiences

Facebook called on us to support them in creating a World Economic Forum 2020 experience that was humble in tone and rich in content, with a pioneering approach that delivered ambitious sustainability goals.

We developed a comprehensive event strategy that placed sustainability at its core. The resulting custom-built two-story Facebook Pavilion clearly illustrated that sustainable design doesn’t mean compromise; it can be as beautiful as it is responsible.

The Challenge

To support Facebook in creating their presence at the World Economic Forum; a presence that needed to be humble in tone, rich in content, and gentle on the planet. The impact of the project was to be benchmarked against the UN sustainability goals.

The Approach

In 2020, Facebook gave Smyle an amazing opportunity to be at the forefront of new and innovative ways to approach sustainable events. The overall aim was to significantly reduce environmental impacts with a particular emphasis on eliminating plastic waste. This would then create a sustainable benchmark from which future activations at Davos, and indeed other Facebook events around the world, could be measured.

Smyle worked closely with partners, architect Mike Lim, and David Stubbs, a renowned sustainability expert, to design and build an incredible two-story structure in Davos, using specially sourced recycled and repurposed materials – all delivered high in the Swiss mountains, in record time.

The design and project was completely driven by a sustainable strategy – a sensitive architectural design to reduce build time and transport, material choices to reduce environmental impact and reduce waste, space planning and technical designs to both maximise heat efficiency and minimise power and water consumption. Interior finishes were made from 90% wood, with additional panels of 100% recycled plastic, to be reused afterwards, in a fully circular model.

We provided a locally sourced menu with 100% vegetarian options and 35% vegan choices to help reduce our carbon footprint, as well as softer touches such as rugs made from recycled bottle tops. Smyle also delivered a comprehensive Sustainability Report to help our client take learnings from this event and apply these to future live experiences.

The Result

The Facebook Davos presence was hugely successful with a build commended by WEF themselves, for being so forward thinking around sustainability. It resulted in a humble and beautiful, content-driven Facebook brand experience. The entire experience was custom built in a little under two weeks, proving Smyle can work magic at high altitude working into tight turnarounds and tricky logistics – something we’re hugely proud about.

Winners of Best Sustainable Initiative at C&IT Awards 2021

National Grid amplifies impact with first ever hybrid investor conference

Smyle partnered closely with National Grid leadership to position the brand at the centre of the energy transition to a critically important audience of investors, media and consumers. This hybrid experience was held live at the ExCeL London for approximately 200 delegates and online using the Bizzabo platform for 600 participants.

The Challange

To position National Grid at the centre of the energy transition.

The Approach

National Grid has a solid reputation but was concerned that a lot of its innovative UK and US energy transformation work was not sufficiently understood. Our solution was to make the company easier to understand, and bring to life the innovation and ‘sexiness’ of this engineering focused organisation.

For its Investor Day in November 2021 we advised that National Grid run a truly hybrid event. This would involve 100 people attending a physical event at the ExCeL in London and a much larger online international audience. Both audiences were to be catered for in an integrated digital and physical experience. 

Research led us to develop the event theme ‘Doing Right Now’. This conjoins the ideas that the company is ‘doing right’ in the energy transition, and doing it ‘right now’. To demonstrate this, we showcased the unsung experts around the company that are making energy transition happen. We also used storytelling about key initiatives as indicative of what the larger business is all about.

Smyle camera crews captured the event in real time, all footage was fed through Smyle’s gallery and managed by its central studio team. Footage was live streamed to the online audience using the latest Bizzabo platform, with interactive elements for virtual participants built into each session. The live audience rotated between three innovative breakout session experiences, and the virtual audience had an exclusive digital-only rotation with a camera and host onsite curating their experience.

The Result

The success of an investor event is both qualitative (the audience regards the company more positively) and quantitative (the investment community promotes it in research advice and/or invests in the company’s stock). While the direct financial impact is hard to discern, we used audience surveying to understand the impact on the perception of National Grid at the centre of the energy transition, as well as perceptions of quality of content and interaction. The hybrid nature of the occasion allowed audiences in the UK and US to become immersed in National Grid’s strategy and performance.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation launches their first ever digital sustainability summit

This two-day virtual event included broadcasting fireside chats, presentation and panel sessions direct from London's Kennington Film Studios, plus key presenters appearing from multiple locations around the world to thousands watching live on YouTube.

To support Ellen MacArthur's circular economy mission, Smyle's Cycle service captured data to record and capture learnings for sustainable reporting to support future sustainable improvements in project delivery.

The Brief

Capture and report Cycle Baseline sustainability data for the virtual Ellen MacArthur Foundation Summit 2020.

Our Approach

This two-day virtual event involved the live filming and broadcast of content at Kennington Film Studios in London, with key presenters, Ellen MacArthur team and Smyle crew working on-site, under strict biosecurity measures.

Our team recorded Cycle Baseline data for sustainability metrics including crew travel and accommodation, material use, equipment provision, transportation and catering. Within the planning, we also reviewed the venue’s environment policy which covered recycling, reuse, energy usage and travel. 

This data culminated in the creation of a Cycle Baseline Report, providing a benchmark for mapping the full sustainability footprint of the Summit activation, including estimated CO2e (greenhouse gas emissions) for crew travel and transport and stats on the % of the equipment, materials and equipment reused or hired. 

The Summit report also highlighted the vital role of venues in sustainability. In this case the event was powered by 100% renewable energy, and our on-site Smyle team monitored how key venue sustainability policies were implemented. 

Cycle Baseline Reports also capture learnings for future action. In this example, biosecurity measures and public transport restrictions resulted in an unavoidable negative impact, for example, limited public transport options for crew, on sustainability, presenting opportunities for further improvement next time around.

The Result

This example of Cycle Baseline Reporting, highlights how Smyle is promoting the sustainability agenda to strive for future improvement. Going forward, tracking core sustainability metrics will be part of every Smyle project, ensuring this becomes part of our mindset and process across core elements of planning and delivery.

For brands like the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, sustainability is already a priority, for their Summit event, our 2020 Cycle baseline report provided a benchmark data set, learnings and recommendations to inform direction and decisions about future events and identify opportunities to raise the bar even higher.

See also

Country House

The Lockhouse,
71 Mead Lane,
Hertford, SG13 7AX

Town House

Albert House,
256-260 Old St,
London, EC1V 9DD


Studio 106, SeeSaw,
86 Princess Street,
Manchester, M1 6NP


Suikersilo-Oost 22,
1165 MS Halfweg,