Environment at the shOW

In 2018, in a show of long-term commitment to marine conservation, British Marine pledged a long-term plan to minimise the environmental impact of its world-class event, Southampton International Boat Show. As well as using the event as a platform for change, we will help raise awareness of the plight of the world’s oceans among our thousands of visitors and exhibitors.

We are focusing on eight main areas: Plastics / Paper / Catering / Waste & Recycling / Our Home/ Travel / Access / Education & Awareness.

An important part of this pledge is the Exhibitor & Contractor Charter which will ensure all operations run both directly and indirectly in accordance with the event are as eco-friendly as possible*. As well as adapting how we operate and run the Show, the intention is to have individual engagement and signed commitment to marine conservation from all of our exhibitors and contractors over the coming years.

As a purpose-built event, reducing our environmental impact isn’t easy, but it is an essential step we need to take and requires each and every one of us to play our part.


Roughly 300 million tons of plastic are produced each year, half of which is single-use plastics. Worldwide only 10-13% of plastic items are recycled. Currently, single-use plastics are a huge contributor to marine pollution making up 80% of all marine debris.
Plastic Bottles & Cups

      • Saying no to Plastic Bottles – This year, we will deliver a solution to reducing the environmental impact of single-use plastic on site by only selling soft drinks and water in cans and using only compostable cups at our onsite catering outlets. We will also be encouraging exhibitors to provide their staff with reusable water bottles and to reuse their drinks vessels
      • Plastic Straw Free We are proud to be plastic straw free across all our onsite catering outlets
      • Plastic Bags & Packaging – In our Exhibitor & Contractor Charter we are asking exhibitors and suppliers to commit to not using plastic bags

Food & Beverage

Our seas face a wide range of threats. Climate change, pollution, habitat and biodiversity loss are all impacting our seas, plus 90% of global fish stocks are either fully or over-exploited. In addition, the environmental impact of sourcing produce non-locally or out of season can require more energy to transport and/or grow crops.

      • Responsibly Sourced Seafood Policy All seafood on sale at the Show is responsibly sourced and has a rating of 3 or above according to the Marine Conservation Society’s Good Fish Guide
      • Local and Seasonal We are focused on using seasonal produce in all our catering outlets and where possible, sourced locally from Hampshire suppliers
      • Plastic free All food traders at Southampton International Boat Show use non-plastic cutlery and crockery. This includes but is not limited to plates, stirrers, knives, forks and food containers. Through our Exhibitor & Contractor Charter, we are also asking exhibitors and suppliers to sign up to this
      • Water Refill Points  To support visitors, exhibitors and contractors using reusable bottles, we have set up a number of drinking water taps signposted round the Show. Through our communications, we are encouraging both exhibitors and visitors to bring their own reusable bottles with them and fill up at the water refill points


The production of paper requires a lot of energy. Pulp and paper mills contribute to air, water and land pollution and discarded paper and paperboard make up a large portion of waste in landfill sites.

      • Digital Move  As digital marketing diversifies, we are moving away from postal mail outs and printed material; including but not limited to brochures, leaflets and posters and are instead focused on electronic communications and online platforms to inform and stay in touch with visitors, exhibitors, contractors and the media Through our Exhibitor & Contractor Charter, we urge exhibitors to also reduce the number of postal mail outs and printed marketing collateral they produce for the Show
      • E-tickets We are improving the efficiently of our e-ticket service and urge visitors to bring their tickets electronically. We aim to cut our printing of tickets by the thousands

Waste & Recycling

Disposing of waste in landfills has a huge environmental impact and can cause serious problems. Three significant problems associated with landfills are toxins, leachate and greenhouse gases. The more we move towards recycling the less waste goes into landfills.

      • Recycling Scheme  We are proud to work with Biffa, an accredited recycling plant, to guarantee our onsite waste is processed properly and we continue to investigate ways in which we can ensure more is recycled year-on-year. Last year, we recycled: – 3.74 tons of wood – 2.18 tons of glass – ½ ton of cardboard – 1.12 tons of Dry Mixed Recycling (DMR) including plastics, paper and metal cans
      • Re-use Stand Build  Through the Exhibitor & Contractor Charter, we are asking exhibitors to think about the design and build of their stands to ensure materials or elements can be reused year-on-year
      • Signage We are reviewing our own signage to ensure we utilise reusable elements wherever possible

Our Home

At the same time as caring for the global environment, we need to make sure the show we put on and enjoy has the least possible impact on Mayflower Park and the surrounding areas.

      • Leave No Trace We ensure that every single item dropped at the event is picked up and all equipment is removed following the show, leaving the site in pristine condition
      • Sea Clean Up Regime To help protect and support the iconic coastal habitat and wildlife surrounding the event, we will be working with various parties to run sea clean initiatives.


Carbon emissions contribute to an increase in greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Greenhouse gases trap heat and warm the atmosphere. This is contributing to destabilisation of our climate systems.

      • Public Transport We encourage all visitors and exhibitors to travel to and from the Show by public transport where viable by promoting the various public transport routes through our communications and on our website here


Physical accessibility is not only about wheelchair access, but about improving access for non-able-bodied people with a wide range of impairments to ensure a welcoming environment for all.

      • Physical Accessibility We ensure the show is accessible to people with a wide range of impairments. This includes but is not limited to level access, accessible toilets and working with the charity, Wetwheels, to run a specialised vessel suitable for wheelchair access on our Try-a-Boat attraction
      • Assistance Dogs We allow entry to all assistance dogs and provide appropriate facilities
      • Carers We offer free tickets to carers
      • Access to Stands Through our Exhibitor & Contractor Charter, we will be asking exhibitors to think about access to their stands and ensure their facilities are suitable for people with a wide range of impairments

Education & Awareness

With the world facing critical man-made environmental issues, it has never been more important for us to understand the fragility of our environment and the importance of its protection. Attracting thousands of visitors, young and old, the show offers the ideal platform to raise awareness and lead change.

      • New Environmental Innovation Showcase The new Environmental Innovation Showcase, located in Ocean Hall, will shine a spotlight on the best of the marine industry’s new environmental products, highlighting to consumers how the marine industry is becoming greener and cleaner and what they can do to become a more environmentally conscious boater.  
      • Signposting Responsibility We actively encourage environmentally responsible behaviour by our staff, visitors, exhibitors and other stakeholders with signposts around the Show, as well as within internal and external communications
      • Environmental awareness area We will have an environmental awareness area in the British Marine Members & Exhibitors Lounge for industry guidance and promote The Green Blue’s key messages to consumers.
      • Supporting environmentally responsible behavior. Through our Exhibitor & Contractor Charter, exhibitors and suppliers are signed up to support environmentally responsible behavior from their staff and contractors while onsite.
      • Schools programme As part of our Schools program, where we engage and invite school groups from the local community to visit the show, we are driving awareness of the plight of the world’s oceans in fun educational packs

Environmental Partners
We are working with numerous environmental charities and partners, including The Green Blue, to put on a number of awareness features and activities both at and in the run-up and during the show.

Environmental Innovation Awards

This year marks the fourth year of the Exhibitor Environmental Innovation Awards. Judged by an expert panel, the awards recognise exceptional exhibitors, who have truly embraced environmentally responsible behaviour and sustainable work practices both at and outside the show.

To enter the Award, the company must be contracted to exhibit at Southampton International Boat Show 2022 and signed up to the Sustainable Exhibitor & Contractor Charter.

The deadline for nominations is Friday 9th September 2022. Enter here