Preserving nature and empowering business: a shared vision for a sustainable future - Marshall Dallas

Scotland’s landscapes and untamed wilderness have always held a special place in the hearts of its people and visitors alike. As the CEO of the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC), I have witnessed first-hand the profound impact that collaboration between businesses and wildlife conservation groups can have on preserving our natural heritage.

Inspired by the remarkable work of organisations like RSPB Scotland and WWF Scotland, we have embarked on a journey to integrate sustainability into every aspect of our operations. Together, we can pave the way for a more sustainable future, safeguarding our planet's treasures for generations to come.

In April, RSPB Scotland and WWF Scotland launched a 30-minute film titled Wild Isles: The Business of Nature at the EICC. This powerful production highlighted the benefits that businesses can bring to nature when working in collaboration with wildlife conservation groups. The screening marked a significant milestone in our long-term partnership with RSPB Scotland, and our commitment to support peatland restoration in Scotland. We have pledged to contribute a portion of every qualifying conference delegate's fee and every dinner guest’s payment to RSPB Scotland, with the aim of making a substantial financial contribution to their invaluable work.

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To deepen our understanding of the impact of our partnership, I recently embarked on a trip to Forsinard in Sutherland to witness the efforts of the RSPB’s dedicated full-time and volunteer teams. Their unwavering passion and collaboration left me deeply inspired. It is through such partnerships that businesses can play a pivotal role in nurturing and protecting our fragile ecosystems.

EICC CEO Marshall Dallas with an RSPB Scotland representative at Forsinard, SutherlandEICC CEO Marshall Dallas with an RSPB Scotland representative at Forsinard, Sutherland
EICC CEO Marshall Dallas with an RSPB Scotland representative at Forsinard, Sutherland

As an avid open-water swimmer and Munro bagger, I have personally cherished the beauty of Scotland's coasts, lochs, rivers, and mountains for many years, and the thought of these natural wonders being compromised for future generations is deeply unsettling.

To fulfil our responsibility, we have chosen to invest in a nature-based solution that addresses climate change and biodiversity loss: the restoration of peatlands. Peatlands are vital carbon sinks and home to numerous plant and animal species threatened by the climate crisis. Additionally, they play a crucial role in filtering Scotland's drinking water. It is estimated that 80 per cent of Scotland's peatland, nearly two million hectares, is currently degraded, emphasising the urgency of action.

Our commitment to sustainability is at the core of our plans at the EICC. We embrace a triple bottom-line approach, considering environmental, societal, and economic aspects equally, to achieve genuine sustainability. Through our transformative ‘Step Change’ initiative, we are well on our way to realising this vision. Our event impact reports serve as powerful tools, enabling clients to set environmentally-focused targets for their events and contribute to a greener, more sustainable future for our industry.

In line with our sustainability goals, we are developing a hotel and hotel school in Edinburgh’s Haymarket area. This establishment will be one of Scotland’s most sustainable hotels upon its opening in 2025, with zero fossil fuel energy use.

Marshall Dallas, CEO, Edinburgh International Conference CentreMarshall Dallas, CEO, Edinburgh International Conference Centre
Marshall Dallas, CEO, Edinburgh International Conference Centre

By working together and fostering collaborations between businesses and conservation groups, we can create a future where nature thrives alongside our economic endeavours. Let us embrace the responsibility to reduce our environmental impact, preserve our natural heritage, and build a sustainable future for generations to come.

​Marshall Dallas, CEO, EICC



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