The Sustainable Event Awards – Meet the Judges: Raquel Noboa


The Sustainable Event Awards Celebrate Excellence in Event Sustainability.

The judging panel for the inaugural awards is a stellar line-up of experts and we’d like to introduce them to you in our Meet the Judges series, this week we present Raquel Noboa, founder of Fifty Shades Greener.

  • What experience can you draw upon to successfully judge the SEAs?

I have worked in the hospitality industry for over 20 years, and have specialised on Green Hospitality and environmental management systems in hospitality since 2012. During my career as an environmental manager I have won several National awards in Ireland, in 2015, I was the Environmental Manager of the year from the Irish Hospitality Institute, and in 2019, I became a judge of that same award.

My company Fifty Shades Greener, was founded in 2017, to help hospitality businesses to reduce their carbon footprint, by reducing their use of energy & water and production of waste.

  • How long have you worked in the events industry and what keeps you interested in it?

I have worked in the Hospitality Industry since 1998, holding different positions from floor staff, operations, weddings and events, revenue management and sales & marketing management. The hospitality industry is like no other, it is a fast paced industry and it is all about people. It is the human aspect of the industry that keeps me coming back to it, the comradery with your work colleagues and interaction with guests.

  • Best (and worst?) moments working in the events industry?

My best moment from working in the industry was when I learned about sustainability back in 2012, which opened a brand new world and career to me, while still liaising with the industry.

Worst moment would have been while working in The Maldives in 2004 and the Tsunami of Boxing Day hit our island.

  • What was the last event on which you worked?

The last event I worked on was a charity dinner event in October 2019, the “Chef’s Table in Doolin”. A group of ex colleagues from the West Coast of Ireland got together to raise funds for a friend of us also working in the industry, who was going through cancer. We hosted 150 people for a charity dinner and raised €12,000 in one night.

  • What does sustainability mean to you?

To me sustainability means reducing our impact to the environment, or the impact our workplace causes to the environment, by reducing our use of water and energy and production of waste. Hotels and events are notorious for wasting a huge amount of resources by having poor processes and systems within their workforce. Small changes, can create great results, and it is my mission to teach the industry all those small actions they can take, as individuals, to reduce their impact in the environment.

  • When did you first become interested in sustainability?

Back in 2012, I was the Sales & Marketing Manager at Hotel Doolin in the West Coast of Ireland. My general manager came to work one day and told me he wanted to run the greenest Hotel in Ireland and I was appointed as the Green Manager. At the start, I did not even know what that meant, or what to do, but what I learned, changed my life forever and resulted on the foundation of my company Fifty Shades Greener. Hotel Doolin became not only the greenest hotel in Ireland, but also the first Carbon Neutral Hotel in Ireland.

  • What do initiatives, such as the SEAs, mean to you?

Business sustainability is not an easy journey, but it is a very rewarding one. Businesses that make an effort to reduce their impact to the environment need to be recognized as such. Awards are a great way, not only to recognized business efforts, but also to motivate the team behind it and make them want to do better. Awards are also a great resource to let customers know, that a business is environmentally conscious, and customers are demanding sustainability more and more.

  • What are your hopes for event sustainability in the future?

My hope is that sustainability and environmental management systems become the norm within the industry, not an added activity for some, but a core value of all.

  • What is one thing we can all do on a daily basis to help make us more sustainable?

Awareness. Be aware of your own impact to the environment in everything you do, the waste you produce, the energy and water you use. We all have a part to play on Climate Change. A small change in everyday life can have a large impact in the environment if it was adopted by many people. Been aware of your own impact, will make you want to reduce it.

If you are leading the way in event sustainability then get the recognition you deserve, enter today

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