The Adelaide Convention Centre has achieved Gold Certification under the globally recognised EarthCheck environmental program.
EarthCheck, run by environmental advocacy group EC3 Global, is the standard environmental best practice program used by convention centres, travel and tourism organisations around the world.
Gold Certification follows the Centre achieving five years of continuous silver certification and in the process significantly reducing its environment footprint.
During this period, the Centre became the first convention centre to use earthworms to recycle its organic waste, reduced its gas consumption by more than 8 per cent, reduced water consumption by 10.7 per cent and re-used or re-cycled 90 per cent of its exhibition waste.
Under EarthCheck, the Centre has performed above best practice in seven key areas of natural resource use reduction. The new environmental benchmarks have been achieved while the Centre continued to grow its business and the number of events and delegates visiting the Centre.
The Adelaide Convention Centre is now one of the country’s greenest convention and meetings venues and among the world leaders in terms of sustainability.
Adelaide Convention Centre Chief Executive Alec Gilbert said attaining Gold Certification is a major milestone in the Centre’s long-term commitment to sustainability and the environment.
“We’ve created a culture within the organisation that empowers everyone to make a contribution,” said Mr Gilbert.
“This culture will be invaluable in maintaining our environmental credentials as the Centre’s capacity is nearly doubled following completion of the Centre’s $350 million expansion over the next 3 years.”
In order to achieve EarthCheck accreditation, the Centre is required to submit a year’s worth of operational data across seven key areas, which is then benchmarked against industry best practice. These areas include environmental policy, energy and water use, waste and community engagement.
Stewart Moore, CEO of EC3 Global, congratulated ACC on achieving Gold Certification.
“Adelaide Convention Centre has joined an elite group of convention centres and tourism operators across the world which has consistently demonstrated commitment to adopting responsible environmental practices and promoting the need for more sustainable operations.”
“Attaining EarthCheck Gold certification is not an easy task. It requires commitment from the entire personnel to achieve better results in terms of sustainability each year. The challenge is to continually prove the integrity of an organisation’s operational practices and then be willing to have everything checked and measured by an independent third party.”
Some of the key initiatives introduced by the Centre to reduce its environmental impact include:
Adelaide Convention Centre’s Worm Farm
An on-site worm farm was established by the Centre in 2008. Since then the worms have eaten 14.552 tonnes of kitchen scraps saving them from landfill.
The Centre sorts the scraps before they go to the worm farm as worms don’t like citrus, capsicum, onion, garlic and red meat.
In addition, a small amount of shredded paper and/or cardboard is added to keep natural composting process aerobic rather than anaerobic.
The worm farm is solar powered with an on board water tank and pump to keep the worms (who are 75% water) and their food moist.
The Adelaide Convention Centre has an on-site BiobiN® which are composting vessels with an aeration system.
Since mid 2006, when the first BiobiN® was installed at the Centre the composting system has resulted in 234.6 tonnes of organic waste being recycled.
Organic material is placed in the bin and allowed to compost, rather than putrefy, which is what happens when waste is placed in conventional commercial bins.
Partnerships with Foodbank SA and OzHarvest Adelaide
Adelaide Convention Centre has formed partnerships with Foodbank SA and OzHarvest Adelaide to ensure that any surplus meals from an unexpected drop in event numbers are put to good use.
As a result, disadvantaged and homeless South Australians have now received over 90,000 meals from the Adelaide Convention Centre (ACC) through its partnerships with Foodbank SA and OzHarvest Adelaide.
Adelaide Convention Centre’s Green Team
Internally, the Centre’s environmental innovation is driven by the ‘Green Team’ – a group of volunteers who formed a committee to research and develop ideas and mentor other employees in environmentally responsible practices.