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USGBC earns certification for sustainable event management

The U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Conference and Events team has earned certification under ISO 20121: 2012, a new standard signifying excellence in sustainable event planning and management.

“As the leading voice in the movement toward a sustainable built environment, USGBC has a responsibility to set a strong example for the meetings and events industry in planning and running the most sustainable events possible,” said Kate Hurst, director of Greenbuild Conference and Events for USGBC. “Certification under ISO 20121 signifies our unequivocal commitment to mitigating natural resource use and reducing carbon emissions related to our events, as well as engaging with our stakeholder and vendor community to ensure ongoing improvement as we push for a continuous transformation of the meetings industry.”

In order to achieve certification under ISO 20121, organizations must develop a policy for sustainable events, engage with stakeholders, and identify key sustainability issues. The standard requires that organizations delegate appropriate responsibilities and provide resources and training; effectively manage their supply chain; develop and implement a communications plan for stakeholders; maintain and control documentation and records; and implement operational control procedures including measuring performance against targets, correcting problems, and conducting management system audits and reviews.

The USGBC Conference and Events department is responsible for more than 100 events per year, including the Hanley Wood-owned and -operated Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. In 2013, the conference was held in Philadelphia, drawing more than 23,000 attendees and securing a 67% waste diversion rate at the Pennsylvania Convention Center during the week of the conference, up from a 10% annual diversion rate. The waste diversion rate was achieved after six months of work by a cross-organizational waste management planning team, the purchase of 500 new waste bins, and composting throughout the entire convention center for the first time.

The achievement is among others noted in the 2013 Greenbuild Sustainability Report, which reviews Greenbuild’s sustainable best practices by core objectives related to waste, energy, material use, stakeholder engagement, performance tracking, and communities. The 2013 report is available as a free download by going here

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