The Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCCEC) has been awarded EarthCheck Gold Certification making it the first convention centre in the world to achieve this environmental badge of honour.
The accolade cements the Centre’s position as a leader for sustainable conferencing venues making it a stand-out benchmark operator in the MICE sector on a global scale.
GCCEC’s golden achievement comes after five years of continuous advancement of both environmental and business performance underpinned by the science and integrity of EarthCheckTM, the world’s most recognised and largest environmental management program, designed specifically for the travel and tourism industry.
The program is trusted by more than 1300 organisations in over 70 countries including 10 convention centres throughout Australia and globally including the Amsterdam RAI Convention Centre, Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at Central World and ICC Jeju in Korea who operate under silver status.
GCCEC General Manager, Adrienne Readings said that the historic accomplishment is reflective of the Centre’s culture and unwavering commitment to operating at the world’s highest environmental standards.
“As part of our corporate social responsibility, the GCCEC has gone through a period of growth and development in terms of sustainability over the years,” said Ms Readings.
“Environmental sustainable practices are at the Centre’s core values and therefore integral to our overarching strategy and operational practices which help the GCCEC retain its competitive edge in the meetings and events industry.
“Implementing positive sustainable choices and practices including partnering with clients and key suppliers have enabled us to roll-out numerous initiatives to become a frontrunner in the field of sustainability and a preferred business events venue,” added Ms Readings.
Adhering to environmentally-friendly policies since inception, the GCCEC has recognised the many benefits that innovation and change champions, including a reduction in operational costs, a reduction in the Centre’s overall carbon footprint and recognition throughout the community and industry who have come to expect a certain benchmark of eco?friendly performance.
Over the years, the Centre has implemented initiatives that have positively benefited the venue and subsequent events which have boosted the client’s morale and enhanced the reputation of respective organisations.
Adrienne Readings said that “simple and effective steps such as introducing 100% recycled paper, updating lights to more energy-efficient models, installing sensor taps, sourcing local produce and ingredients and creating a comprehensive Green Events Guide for event organisers detailing how to cut back on carbon and costs has helped us to significantly reduce waste, water and energy consumption”.
“As more emphasis is placed on sustainable conferencing by the industry we are finding more and more clients approaching us to find out how they can improve the sustainability of their event,” she said.
While the Centre already has a number of sustainable initiatives in place, event planners can also take their own steps to make their events more environmentally friendly, such as always checking the environmental credentials of their suppliers.
Stewart Moore, CEO of EC3 Global, congratulated the GCCEC on being awarded EarthCheck’s prestigious Gold Certification – a first for Australian and convention centres worldwide.
“Achieving EarthCheck Gold Certification is not an easy task to achieve. It requires the commitment and ownership from management, staff and suppliers and a willingness to submit reporting to expert scrutiny.
“There are no short cuts, no ways to buy your way in; it’s a matter of being able to prove the integrity of an organisation’s operational practices year-in and year-out, and then be willing to have everything verified by an independent, third party auditor,” explained Mr Moore.
“The Australian and global tourism and travel industry can look to the GCCEC for inspiration on how to successfully integrate sustainability practices into their own planning and ongoing business operations.”
Since 2008, GCCEC has been adjusting staff behaviour and operational practices in line with the international standards required by the EarthCheck Program.
Credentials have been achieved with the help of a dedicated ‘green committee’ compromising of key staff members who as a group continually look at new ways in which the venue can reduce waste and the consumption of water and electricity.
How GCCEC achieved gold over the years:
100% of the cleaning and pesticide products used on-site are biodegradable;
Light sensors installed throughout all toilets and storerooms;
500 power-saving LED lights installed throughout the foyers, replacing less efficient lighting;
All taps fitted with flow restriction devices and water tap sensors installed in all bathrooms resulting in reduction of water from 30 litres to 6 litres per minute;
Shower hoses were retrofitted to reduce water flow from approximately 25 litres per minute to 9 litres per minute;
Dual flush toilets with a 6/3 litres per minute flow rate were installed and all urinals have been fitted to Zip-master time delay flush systems, with a flow rate of 6 litres per minute;
External and stair tread LED lights were installed, cutting energy consumption from 18W per unit to 3W per unit;
All external up-lights were replaced, reducing energy consumption from 85W to 48W;
All used printer cartridges and toners are recycled through Australia Post and Planet Ark;
The Centre adopted 100% recycled paper throughout all printers and faxes;
Bottle cyclers (bottle and recyclable glass crushing machines) have been installed throughout the Centre;
The Centre uses recycled (non-potable) water for the landscape irrigation systems;
GCCEC has worked with local suppliers to change the way goods are being packaged and delivered. For example: most suppliers are now using cardboard boxes that are then recycled onsite;
Menus consist of 85 per cent locally-grown and organic ingredients. Leftover packaged foods are donated to local charities.