When the Stadium was built to host the 1999 Rugby World Cup matches, managing the overall environmental impact of an event was not high on the agenda.


Formal planning for the £121million project began in 1994 and a new 74,500 capacity stadium was created from 56,000 tonnes of concrete and steel.

The Stadium has the UK’s first and largest fully-retractable roof and a unique palletised pitch system which transforms the sports venue into a multi-event arena.

After more than 10 years, over 300 major events and 10 million visitors, however, many of the stadium’s systems, dating back to the early 1990s, were identified as non-sustainable.

The stadium needed to implement a sustainability policy to demonstrate sound environmental practice, reduce its carbon footprint and build for a better future.

Aims and Objectives

In 2010, the organisation appointed a Facilities Manager, to manage the policy and the stadium applied for the BSI British Standard 8901 for Sustainable Management Systems for Events.

In September 2010 the Welsh Rugby Union, the venue owners, announced their bid to make it the UK’s first certifiably sustainable stadium and set out to achieve the standard within the first 12 months.

The British standard required a framework for managing the overall environmental, economic and social impact of an event and encouraged stakeholder engagement.

The following objectives were set:

• To evaluate and improve sustainability of stadium operations
• To improve sustainability communications by:

– Creating a clearer message for sustainability
– Identifying key stakeholders
– Recognising clear lines of responsibility for sustainable practice
– Educating internal and external stakeholders

Strategy and Outcomes

Stadium Operations

Research was conducted across operating systems, methods and resources to identify areas in need of improvement and the following changes were made:

• All waste is segregated for recycling into dry mixed recycling, compostable food waste and pitch waste.
• Upgrading the heating, cooling and ventilation systems and operating them in a more efficient manner by reducing speeds, temperatures and operational hours have contributed to energy saving.
• The installation of computer controlled lighting systems which switches on lights at specific working areas, rather than an entire floor, to save energy.
• LED lighting has been introduced to reduce electricity consumption and heat emissions, and thus improved air conditioning levels throughout hospitality lounges.
• Plant operations are limited to event days only to reduced maintenance expenditure and energy consumption.
• The replacement of all refrigerators in the hospitality lounges with efficient A-rated systems.
• Rainwater harvesting below the grass beds of the palletised pitch recycles water.
• Root zone (soil) is re-used and the 40mm rye grass turf is recycled for use at rugby clubs throughout South Wales.
• Maintenance staff use natural products wherever possible.


Key stakeholders were identified, such as suppliers and staff, and a communications strategy was developed to engage support and participation levels.

• An internal communications strategy was devised for staff via surveys, focus groups, training sessions, newsletters and the intranet and the launch of a ‘steering group’ of management personnel with the responsibility of promoting sustainability within their departments.
• Employees are now well educated and therefore more responsible in their approach to recycling and energy consumption.
• The ‘steering group’ has identified clear lines of responsibility for individuals and groups.
• There is improved employee relations with casual/ part-time event staff which has helped to promote key messages.
• A stakeholder communications project was initiated with stadium suppliers to provide an integrated supply chain partnership framework. (Please see Supporting Material)
• By working with our supply chain we removed 71.52 tonnes of waste from landfill and a consequent reduction of 28.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions. Additional savings of 60.8 tonnes of CO2 were also made from reduced raw materials use, water and energy use.
• An improved supplier/contractor tender and selection process has been put in place to take into account the future proofing of any potential installation and an assessment for its energy consumption.
• New ‘partnerships’ with our suppliers, rather than the traditional supplier/ client relationship, engages their interest in the impact of events at the stadium.


The Stadium implemented a sustainability policy and successfully achieved certification to BS 8901 making it the UK’s first certifiably sustainable event stadium.

The certificate arrived in July 2011, less than one year after the stadium bid to improve its sustainability credentials in line with the standard.

Achieving BS 8901 proved a major feat considering the stadium was built without many of the innovative design elements in new stadia.

The project has improved the stadium’s environmental, social and economic impact and spurred a host of future sustainability initiatives.

The Stadium Supply Chain Project

The project was set up to engage the stadium’s supply chain with the Sustainability Policy and in particular the reduction of waste and costs. The project began in September 2010 and was completed by February 2011.

The stadium reviewed data for suppliers and selected those with the greatest volume of sales and producing most waste within the stadium, to participate in the project. Invitations to attend a launch event were sent to the most strategically important suppliers, which accounted for 54 suppliers. The launch event provided training workshops, to provide technical knowledge to understand resource efficiency, environmental performance indicators, sustainable packaging, sustainable purchasing, environmental management and the importance of continuous improvement.

The aims and objectives of the programme were to:

• Provide an enhanced and integrated supply chain partnership framework to achieve environmental improvement and cost savings;
• Encourage the Millennium Stadium and its suppliers to share experiences regarding environmental activities and work together to identify areas for improvement;
• Present the concepts, benefits and opportunities of environmental supply chain partnerships in action;
• Illustrate the links between waste management and resource efficiency, as part of an environmental management system.

Principality Stadium Sustainability/ Sustainable Development Policy

Statement of Purpose:
The purpose of the Principality Stadium is to provide a flexible multipurpose events venue for sporting and other types of event in a sustainable manner. Concern for the environment and promoting a broader sustainability agenda are integral to Principality Stadium’s professional activities and the management of the organisation. We aim to follow and to promote good sustainability practice, to reduce the environmental impacts of all our activities and to help our clients and partners to do the same.

The scope of the management system will cover all event related activities provided by the Principality Stadium Plc , Westgate Street, Cardiff, CF10 1NS.
Mission: To promote a must play, must see venue

Our commitment to sustainability is based upon the following principles:

* To comply with, and exceed where practicable, all applicable legislation, regulations and voluntary codes of practice.
* To integrate sustainability considerations into all our business decisions.
* To ensure that all staff are fully aware of our Sustainability Policy and are committed to implementing and improving it.
* To minimise the impact on sustainability of all activities.
* To lead and promote to our clients, suppliers, sponsors, partners and stakeholders, sustainable development, and encourage them to adopt sound sustainable management practices.
* Commitment to follow the Welsh Assembly Government’s Sustainability Charter and to the City Councils sustainable development programmes.
* To work with the Welsh Rugby union to embrace and promote sustainability through rugby.
* To review, annually report, and to continually strive to improve our sustainability performance.
* To continually improve the sustainability of the Principality Stadium’s operations where possible or to seek the best practices of delivering services and to continually improve our sustainability management system.
* To follow the principles laid out by management system.

* Leadership: The Principality Stadium as an iconic landmark for Cardiff, Wales and the United Kingdom aims to promote sustainability in all areas of its activities. With such a high profile we must provide our stakeholders with an example of how sustainable development can be accomplished.
* Stewardship: The Principality Stadium has a responsibility for all aspects of sustainable development and has been entrusted as the home of Welsh Rugby and is built on the site of the former National Stadium and is the New National Stadium. We have a duty to ensure that the stadium continues in this historic vein and to ensure that the stadium provides a must play venue for sporting and other types of events. It is important to retain the heritage of the site as well as the look towards the future.
* Inclusivity: the Principality Stadium is committed to engage with its stakeholders at the different levels for the different types of events that it presents.
* Transparency: The Principality Stadium will at all times be transparent and not avoid any unpleasant issues with regards to its sustainable development.
* Integrity: The Principality Stadium strives to promote sustainability and abide by ethical governance in its own operations, the operations of its partners and contractors.

The Principality Stadium will undertake to encourage, support, develop and maintain by the subscribing to these values:
Low carbon, Reduction of waste with Zero Landfill, Low Carbon Transport, Use of Sustainable Materials, Food Provenance, and Use of water in a sustainable manner, engage with and support the local economy, encourage active, sociable life and promote health and wellbeing.