COP26: Glasgow businesses expect disruption, but excited over climate summit

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Businesses in Glasgow are expecting disruption during COP26, but view it as a ‘great thing’ for the city.

The scale of COP26 - which started yesterday - has meant that major roads around the SEC, including the Clydeside Expressway, have been closed.

This - along with the 25,000 world leaders and delegates now in Glasgow - has meant more congestion problems on the roads.

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This has an impact on businesses, as delivery services will be affected and customers might find it more difficult to visit.

Locavore, for example, has warned its customers that road closures and planned protests related to COP26 is impacting on its deliveries, forcing it to reschedule some.

However, it also has its positives.

Restaurants are booked up, while hotels and airbnbs are packed - a welcome change after a difficult 18 months during which the Covid-19 pandemic and numerous lockdowns have wreaked havoc on the hospitality industry.

How has COP26 impacted hotels in Glasgow?

The Radisson RED sits next to the SEC, where COP26 is being held. It will have a major impact on the hotel - but, despite the challenges it brings, the hotel still sees the summit as a positive.

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Graham Chalmers, curator, Radisson RED: “We are at the very heart of COP26 here at Radisson RED, as our hotel is of course within the campus itself – normally we are known as the hotel of music, but instead of rock stars we are welcoming world leaders for a fortnight.

“Clearly there are challenges associated with this – we are surrounded by steel wire, armed guards and roadblocks, so conditions are certainly unusual. But we adapt, and our staff have been doing an incredible job.

“COP26 means the eyes of the world are on us. We all have to do better, personally and professionally – which is why we are thrilled to be the first hotel in Scotland to be awarded the prestigious Green Key certification by Keep Scotland Beautiful.

“We go out of our way to be as sustainable as possible, from generating power to return to the grid in our gym, to using rain catchers on the roof to waiter our plants.

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“For me COP26 coming to town is a good thing – we have all had a very hard time over the last couple of years but it is vital we continue to focus on fighting for all of our futures.”

How is COP26 affecting Glasgow businesses?

The eyes of the world are on Glasgow for COP26. It has also led more businesses to think about the impact they have on the environment.

The Hidden Lane Brewery in Finnieston is an example of a businesses that is making changes to make itself more sustainable.

Rachel Suttle of Hidden Lane Brewery said: “There are inconveniences with so many road closures and things, but I think it’s a great thing for the city to have the eyes of the world on us.

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“We are very aware of what we want to do here at Hidden Lane Brewery in terms of being the most sustainable business we can possibly be – we recycle our spent grain by donating it to a city farm, they grow organic vegetables and sell them here so it goes full circle.

“We also donate it as feed for farmers. We are fully vegan and organic and have lots of plans to go even further.

“For example we are about to launch a range of spirits created by recycling beer we had brewed prior to lockdown – initially we have a rum and a gin. This is the way forward, for us and for everyone, and it’s really important to us.

“I think COP26 is definitely a positive thing for Glasgow, Scotland and the world, and it definitely is a boost to Scottish business after 18 months of relentless pressure, confusion and fear.

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“We all need to pull together to do better, to be better and to make sure our kids have a better world than we do. That’s at the heart of everything we do here at Hidden Lane Brewery – my boys Felix and Kit deserve a world they can enjoy, and be proud of our role in helping it.”

COP26 legacy on Glasgow businesses

The Hidden Lane Brewery is just one business which is thinking about the future.

The Glasgow Chamber of Commerce said that it is working with its members to make sure that COP26 has a “lasting economic and environmental legacy” in Glasgow.

Stuart Patrick, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief executive, said: “Businesses understand the importance of combatting climate change as we drive to net-zero and the outcomes of COP26 will be pivotal to this mission. Through our Climate Chamber Mission and My Climate Path initiatives and our ongoing Circular Glasgow work, we are proactively connecting our members to COP26 opportunities and working to ensure a lasting legacy for our city and local businesses.

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“Inevitably there will be some disruption to businesses over the course of the summit but we are working closely with Glasgow City Council and the Scottish and UK Governments to minimise this and advising our members accordingly. COP26 will put Glasgow on the world stage and we will be working hard with our members to ensure there is a lasting economic and environmental legacy from the event.”

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