The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is committed to its mission of green buildings for all within this generation, and USGBC’s event operations are a part of how our organization embodies our values. Launched in 2002, Greenbuild quickly became the world’s largest conference and expo for the green building industry and is seen as the Platinum standard when it comes to event sustainability due to its long-standing event sustainability program. The flagship U.S. show is now produced annually by Informa, USGBC’s conference partner, and attracts tens of thousands of green building and sustainability professionals annually. The event consists of four days of education sessions, hundreds of exhibitors, multiple catered functions, a Celebration event, and thousands of hotel nights.
Greenbuild’s sustainability program encompasses all aspects of the event from soup to nuts and includes vendor and hotel sustainability plans, sustainable sourcing policies, greenhouse gas emission reduction and offsetting, volunteer and community engagement programs, and of course waste planning. Greenbuild waste planning involves several months of planning and close collaboration with waste haulers, convention center staff, suppliers, exhibitors, volunteers, and attendees. Because Greenbuild has always implemented a robust waste plan, the TRUE for Events pilot was an obvious next step for Greenbuild to evaluate our existing best practices against a set of verified standards and see how our waste planning measured up. We were thrilled to receive TRUE Platinum for four years running.
Waste reduction and reuse tracking was critical to accomplishing TRUE for Events Platinum certification for three years in a row, as it helped us to understand the impact of our policies and procedures that encouraged source reduction in addition to diversion. Quantifying Greenbuild’s waste reduction helped us to understand how much unnecessary waste we avoided before it was ever created. Some examples of this include our expo hall carpet reuse program, elimination and reduction of printed materials, and shipping policies encouraging reuse of shipping materials. The TRUE application and certification process helped Greenbuild to validate and measure our success in achieving zero waste as well as helping us make progress with three of seven long-term sustainability objectives at the show: Move toward a Zero Waste Event, Improve Performance and Tracking Methods, and Lead the Event Industry Through the Advancement of Sustainable Event Management Initiatives.
“The U.S. Green Building Council is a standards-based organization and Greenbuild is the largest convening of our green building community - having a sustainable, zero waste event helps us to embody ours and our stakeholders’ values. Achieving TRUE for Events certification allows us to demonstrate that the event’s zero waste efforts have been designed and executed to the highest industry standards and helps us to hold ourselves accountable to our community as we strive to achieve green building for all in every aspect of our organization.” – Ryanne Waters, Manager, Event Sustainability and Programs, U.S. Green Building Council