2017 Green Venue Report Highlights the State of Global Convention and Exhibition Sustainability

August 17, 2017

The 2017 Green Venue Report: The State of Convention and Exhibition Center Sustainability has been released.

In its fourth year, the GVR is an industry-wide initiative designed to provide benchmarking data, catalyze best practices and stimulate competition around global convention and exhibition center sustainability.

The project is the brainchild of Greenview, a sustainability consulting and research firm based in the U.S. and Singapore that provides strategy, programs, measurement and reporting for hospitality, travel and tourism organizations.

Sponsored by Freeman, the comprehensive report not only evaluates a collective environmental footprint of industry meeting and events, but also highlights best practices and innovative programs going on at convention venues throughout the globe.

This year, the GVR compiled data from 66 convention and exhibition centers across 16 countries and four continents (a 50 percent increase in participation compared to 2016) via a 131-question survey conducted last spring through the Greenview Portal system, an online tool used to consolidate, track, measure and obtain actionable guidance on sustainability.

The resulting report compares green venue performance over a wide-range of areas, including energy efficiency; waste management; water usage; food and beverage services; cleaning practices; staff involvement; communications and certifications.

This year, the GVR includes an easy-to-understand graphical representation of three-year trends of many of the surveyed practices, ranging from common to emerging to innovative sustainable practices.

Key findings of 2017 GVR include:

  • Venues are saving millions of dollars with sustainability upgrades. Venues that invest in energy, water and/or waste technologies receive returns on their investments ranging from a few hundred dollars by converting street lights to LED bulbs, to millions of dollars of savings by implementing venue wide energy programs. 

  • Health and Wellbeing of staff are of growing importance. Sixty-two percent of venues reported to having a health and wellbeing policy in place that applies to all staff. Policies and programs include health and fitness facilities with free personal trainers to help promote healthy living and exercise, to weekly onsite doctor visits. 

  • Venues continue to value sustainable food and remain committed to purchasing from local producers. Eighty-nine percent of venues procure food and beverage products with at least one sustainability-focused certification or accreditation. This trend shows a jump from 85 percent last year. 

  • Venues continue to reduce food waste. Seventy-seven percent of venues practice active food waste management (the tracking and monitoring of food production waste, overage and spoilage) using either manual or automated tracking. Over half of venues (56 percent) donate food on a regular basis at no additional expense to event organizers. 

  • Venues are procuring more renewable energy and incorporating more renewable energy technologies into onsite operations. Twenty-three percent of venues purchased Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), representing a total of approximately, 248 million kWh purchased. Twenty-five percent of venues responded to having at least 50 percent of the venue’s purchased energy obtained from utilities or other parties using renewable sources.
  • Venues are starting to offer additional resources on sustainable events to organizers. Eighty-three percent of responding venues have sales staff that consistently and proactively make organizers aware of a venue’s sustainability practices or “greening meetings.” In addition, several venues also indicated that they distributed a sustainable meetings pamphlet, manual or sales kit to meeting organizers.

As the GVR continues to grow, the project intends to provide critical analysis, while documenting the tools and best practices required to move the meeting and events industry in a more sustainable direction.

For more information about how to sign up for the 2018 survey and to download a free copy of the 2017 Green Venue Report, go here.

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