ICC Sydney_Sydney Water

International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) has today revealed the impact of a compelling Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) partnership with Sydney Water, which is significantly reducing the venue’s ecological footprint by decreasing bottled water consumption onsite.


During ICC Sydney’s first ten months of operation, the partnership has saved over 520,000 plastic bottles from use – the equivalent of filling 1,500 domestic wheelie bins. The initiative sees Sydney Water and ICC Sydney co-branded, reusable glass bottles used in all meeting rooms to support both a healthy and great tasting experience for delegates, without the heavy impact on the environment.

ICC Sydney is leading best practice by promoting tap water as part of its sustainability commitment. As a harbourside venue, a part of this approach is a focus on the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ mantra, which minimises plastic use and its potential harm to aquatic life.

Geoff Donaghy, CEO at ICC Sydney, said that ICC Sydney’s work with Sydney Water is just one aspect of the venue’s plan to achieve its sustainability goals.“ICC Sydney is pursuing a number of progressive partnerships to create impactful sustainable models, and by serving tap water, we’re reducing our overall direct environmental impact. Indeed, by reducing consumption, ICC Sydney has indirectly reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 270 tonnes, the equivalent of keeping 58 cars off the road for a year.

“We’ve looked to Circular Economy concepts around the globe which provide waste solutions to keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and value at all times. With over 480 billion plastic bottles produced globally in 2016, we know that less than half were recycled and only seven per cent were reused as drinking bottles.”

With the global reusable water bottle market estimated to grow by more than four percent year on year between 2016-2024, the reduce and reuse model employed by ICC Sydney and Sydney Water highlights the importance of sustainable partnerships for the environment.

To put Sydney Water to the test, ICC Sydney also organised a blind taste test hosted by a panel of experts including William Wilson, Beverage Operations and Cellar Manager at ICC Sydney, Dr Peter Cox, Principal Advisor Public Health at Sydney Water and Kate Browne, Lifestyle Editor at Choice. The panel was challenged to taste the difference between two well-known bottled waters and Sydney Water, click here to see the results.


Dr Cox said the results of the blind test and partnership model makes a statement about the quality and taste of Sydney Water, alongside providing a key example for business leaders to reference when considering practices that create a positive impact.

“Sydney Water is best in class – the panel could not tell the difference between the samples. Sydney Water goes through a rigorous testing process with over 80 different tests conducted weekly for contamination. The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines cover management of tap water supply and are far more stringent than the Code that regulates bottled water. Through this commitment to quality control, we produce a great tasting product, for both Sydneysiders and visiting delegates to enjoy.

“By collaborating with progressive organisations such as ICC Sydney, who are committed to driving positive environmental change, we can drive results.”

Since launching, the program between ICC Sydney and Sydney Water has also seen the following:

  • The power saved has also been significant, representing the amount it would take to sustain 627 Australian homes for a year
  • By not using bottled water, ICC Sydney has saved an estimated 6,656 kilograms of plastic, the equivalent of filling 1,500 standard domestic wheelie bins
  • The ICC Sydney initiative has also saved 780,000 litres of water from being used in associated manufacturing of plastic water bottles. 

As part of a socially responsible and environmentally sensitive convention, exhibition and entertainment precinct, ICC Sydney continues to drive industry best practice, with the results from the Sydney Water partnership a key proof point of the venue’s commitment to sustainability.

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