Pennsylvania Convention Center Achieves Gold Level EIC Sustainable Event Standards Certification
The Pennsylvania Convention Center (PCC) has earned Gold Level certification for the Events Industry Council’s (EIC) Sustainable Event Standards for venues, part of a collection of eight standards developed to assess events and industry suppliers on specific criteria for producing and delivering environmentally and socially responsible events.
These criteria include organizational management; marketing, communication and engagement; climate action; water management; materials and circularity; supply chain management; diversity, equity and inclusion; accessibility; and social impact.
The achievement of EIC’s venue certification further solidifies the facility’s position as an industry leader in sustainability and social responsibility, according to PCC officials.
“The Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority is proud to be recognized by the EIC for our commitment to sustainability and social responsibility,” said David A. Nasatir, board chair of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority. “The Gold Level certification confirms the degree of focus the Pennsylvania Convention Center has placed on being an environmentally friendly facility and a dedicated community partner.”
Updated in 2022, Sustainable Event Standards certification consists of four levels – bronze, silver, gold and platinum – that each represents the percentage of completion the venue or event has achieved in the implementation of sustainable practices. Transparency and accountability are provided by third-party verification of compliance.
Moving the Green Needle
Sustainability and social responsibility have continued to be top priorities at the convention center and over the years, and the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority has made significant investments in tools and initiatives designed to reduce the negative impacts of events while providing a clean facility and operational efficiency, according to PCC officials.
The center’s partnerships with technology, environmental management and sustainability companies, including Siemens, Republic Services and Honeycomb Strategies, respectively, have also allowed the facility to make substantial progress in waste diversion, utilities management and other sustainable solutions.
The 2016 launch of the PCC’s “Green Team” — an employee network of staff from the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority and ASM Global, stakeholders and service providers who are responsible for developing, implementing and enforcing the center’s sustainability best practices and programs — has helped position the venue as a reliable and expert sustainability partner to event customers, according to venue officials.
For example, the Green Team has collaborated closely with shows such as the Philadelphia Flower Show and Natural Products Expo East to help them successfully execute their unique sustainability initiatives, they added.
“The Pennsylvania Convention Center is serious about our responsibility to the environment and our communities, and we are proud to collaborate with our stakeholders and customers on initiatives that make a positive impact,” said John McNichol, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority.
He continued, “As a steward of the public good and a major economic driver for Greater Philadelphia, sustainability and social responsibility will always remain top priorities in our operations, and we welcome every opportunity to provide our customers with the expert support they need to achieve their sustainability goals.”
When asked why the Pennsylvania Convention Center decided to pursue the EIC Sustainable Events Standards rather than Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, McNichol told TSNN that while both are well-respected environmental certification programs, the facility’s decision to pursue the former at this time had to do with the program’s strong focus on sustainability within an event operations framework.
“As a world-class event venue, we felt that having this certification, within the context of the event industry, would be meaningful for meeting planners who also place sustainability as a top priority for their events,” he explained.
According to Tony Hodgins, general manager, ASM Global, the certification process began a year ago and involved the facility’s team reviewing the EIC’s standards and criteria and then demonstrating how the venue was meeting each of them via supporting documentation.
“In the assessment, our facility achieved 115 points of the stated elements, which earned us the Gold level certification,” Hodgins said.
As an ASM Global managed facility, several of the sustainability and social responsibility initiatives at the PCC fall under the ASM Global Acts program, a corporate social responsibility platform launched in 2021 that aims to contribute to a healthier planet, serve the communities in which the company operates and encourage diversity and inclusion.
Under this program, PCC has enforced a robust sustainability and social impact plan and has successfully implemented initiatives including increasing its daily purchase of renewable energy certificates to 50%, increasing its waste diversion rate goal to 50% and eliminating single-use plastics.
“The ASM Global Acts program is a visionary and innovative approach to sustainability and social responsibility,” Hodgins said. “Through the program, ASM Global has maintained its position as a leader in sustainability operations management and community stewardship, and our continued collaboration with the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority will allow the Pennsylvania Convention Center to be a key initiator of change in the Greater Philadelphia region.”