Cobo Center Makes More Sustainable Strides in 2019
In yet another example of its ambition to become one of the greenest convention centers in the nation, Detroit’s Cobo Center has been taking more progressive green steps as it actively moves toward a more sustainable future.
Last week, the facility achieved venue recertification from the Event Industry Council’s Accepted Practices Exchange/American Society for Testing and Materials International (APEX/ASTM) Sustainable Meeting Standard, which focuses on the evaluation and selection of venues for environmentally sustainable meetings, events, trade shows and conferences.
As the ninth U.S. convention facility to achieve this certification, Cobo was initially certified in 2015.
“Each year we strengthen our green operations and our contribution to the greater Detroit sustainability action agenda, [and] 2019 is shaping up to be a big year for our green team,” said Claude Molinari, general manager of SMG/Cobo Center.
Meanwhile, Cobo’s very active Green Committee has been working to attain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, a globally recognized rating system for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of green buildings developed by the U.S Green Building Council.
Earlier this year, the Committee also upped the ante on its waste diversion program during the North American International Auto Show, held Jan. 14-27 at Cobo.
The result of this effort was a 60 percent diversion rate representing 95 tons of material — the highest waste diversion rate the facility had ever achieved during the month of January. It was also a vast improvement compared to a 31 percent and an 18 percent diversion rate during 2018 and 2017 NAIAS, respectively.
This ambitious green strategy involved staff training, staff designations, composting procedures, new policies for bottle collection and handling, as well as new post-event donation handling program that yielded 20 percent of NAIAS’ 60-percent diversion rate.
Collecting and donating materials left from the show’s exhibits also made a sizable dent in what went to landfill after NAIAS. As of last year, materials including carpet, trees, wood, metal and flooring, as well as clothing, food and various attendee giveaways are now set aside after big events and then donated to local area nonprofits. This not only prevents usable items from going into the waste stream but also contributes to a more sustainable economy, according to Cobo officials.
All these green achievements haven’t escaped the notice of the trade show industry, particularly environmentally minded show organizers seeking to partner with suppliers and venues demonstrating a commitment to sustainable practices.
For the second time in two years, Cobo Center was chosen as the host site for Sustainable Brands, the annual global flagship conference for brand innovators and sustainability professionals, which will run June 4-6.
“Cobo’s commitment to innovation and sustainability has demonstrated how leadership and teamwork can achieve very high goals,” said Sustainable Brands Director of Business Development and Event Strategy, David Fiss, who is also the president of the EIC Sustainability Initiative’s Northern California Chapter and former member of EIC Sustainability Leadership Council.
He continued, “Doing so helps our event meet our sustainability goals, educate our attendees, and encourage other suppliers to the meeting and events industry to do the same. A sustainable event is more thoughtful and creates a better participant experience.”
Meanwhile, Cobo intends to keep raising the bar with its green practices, according to Molinari.
“Getting recertified to the APEX/ASTM Green Meeting Standard and hosting Sustainable Brands for the second time signals that our efforts are truly world-class,” he said.
Check out this video about Cobo’s green event donation program HERE.