Green Venue Report Tracks Convention Center Sustainability

The 2015 Green Venue Report, which tracks convention center sustainability worldwide, was released this week. Some notable trends emerged in the annual report. Among the 30 convention centers around the world studied—up from 16 surveyed last year—researchers found that:

93 percent are accessible by public train, light rail or subway/metro systems
90 percent have either achieved or are working towards a sustainability-related certification such as LEED
80 percent regularly donate excess food to local charities, translating to approximately 1.4 million donated meals
85 percent participate in sustainability programs or initiatives led by their city
72 percent can provide event planners a specific waste diversion report for their event
70 percent have a dedicated sustainability coordinator or sustainability manager on staff

Details of the 2015 Green Venue Report

The Green Venue Report is a joint project of Greenview, a Washington, D.C.-based sustainability consulting firm, and Twirl Management, an Oakland, California-based, ecologically conscious event planning company. Their mission is to examine the overall environmental footprint of the meetings and events industry, highlight best practices of venues with sustainable operations, showcase innovative programs and compile relevant statistics.

“Unverified statistics tarnish the event industry, claiming it to be the second largest waste generator after construction. Even if the statistic was true, it certainly is outdated,” they maintain. Their 2015 data was mined from a 158-question survey filled out by leaders at convention centers in 6 countries and 4 continents. Questions probed venue space, events, energy, waste, water, accessibility, food and beverage, staff involvement and communications in calendar year 2014.

Interesting Findings

In 2014, the reporting convention centers hosted a total of 9,900 events and welcomed 35,740,600 attendees. More than one-fourth of the centers (27 percent) reported that planners are asking for sustainability initiatives, up from 20 percent in the 2014 report (which was based on data from 2013). Another interesting statistic is that today, 42 percent of the responding centers produce renewable energy (mostly solar) onsite, while 59 percent procure renewable energy (most commonly wind) offsite.

The goal of the annual Green Venue Report, according to Johanna R. Walsh, CMP of Twirl Management, is to increase awareness and spur an improvement in sustainability among exhibit and convention center facilities worldwide. She suggests that convention centers are in a powerful position to drive environmental change, and welcomes more convention centers to participate in the survey so their data can be included in the 2016 report.

“We hope this report and subsequent surveys serves as a catalyst for convention centers and show organizers to ‘up their green game’,” the report concludes. “Centers have both the square footage and engineering prowess to incubate and lead sustainable practices for the meeting and convention industry. Planners can make their events and spending power influence great change, benefiting not only their brand but also the world we live in.”

The free 2015 Green Venue Report can be downloaded at The press release is available in English, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai and Indonesian.