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Green Meeting Industry Council
700 N. Fairfax Street, Suite 510
Alexandria, VA 22314

Destination Spotlight - April 2013
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Destination Spotlight

Get to know our member destinations. Every month we profile a different destination who helps to make the GMIC community so unique.

How do you communicate you city’s sustainability commitment to meeting organizers?
  • Choose Chicago, the official destination marketing organization for the City of Chicago, promotes our city's sustainability commitment to meeting organizers via Information can be found in the Green Meetings article within the Meeting Professionals section of the website along with in the Green Chicago section.
  • This information is also provided in the Chicago Meeting Professionals Guide available for viewing and download here.
How does this support your ability to attract meetings into your area?
By providing general sustainability information including details about Chicago's Green Seal Certified™ hotels, green restaurants, green roofs, and public transportation, Choose Chicago creates top-of-mind awareness and easy access to eco-friendly establishments within the city.

What sustainable attribute are you most proud of within your city and sets your city apart from other cities?

  • McCormick Place West Building is one of the largest new construction facilities in the country to achieve LEED Certification.
  • Chicago currently has 13 Green Seal Certified hotels, one of the largest concentrations in the country..
  • Chicago has over 200 green rooftops covering 2.5 million square feet..
  • Choose Chicago, McCormick Place and the City of Chicago are working to become APEX certified as a destination.
How does your CVB/City support sustainable events (minimizing negative impacts and maximizing positive contributions in the local community) to help event organizers?
Chicago offers many alternative transportation options:
  • Biking:Chicago currently has more than 170 miles of on-street protected, buffered and shared bike lanes, many miles of off-street paths (including the 18.5-mile Lakefront Trail), more than 13,000 bike racks, and sheltered, high-capacity, bike parking areas at many CTA rail stations.
  • Public Transportation:With the nation's second largest public transportation network, taking the CTA's elevated train system or bus line is convenient and eco-friendly. The CTA runs a fleet of hybrid buses that use cleaner fuels that lower harmful emissions.
  • Car Sharing:Chicago has multiple car-sharing services for those moments when you need four wheels. According to iGo, one share car replaces 17 cars on the road and over 25% of share-car users report that they've "increased their walking."
When an event organizer comes to your city for a site inspection, what is your favorite sustainable activity, attribute, location or experience that you like to share with them?
  • Chicago’s Parks, Lakefront, and Green Roofs: In the 1830s, Chicago's developing government body adopted the city nickname "Urbs in horto," which translates from Latin to "City in a Garden." Then Daniel Burnham's 1909 Plan of Chicago advocated public outdoor and green space and, as a result, Chicago's 26 miles of lakefront and 580 parks with 8,100 acres of green space help counteract greenhouse gas emissions by removing carbon dioxide from the environment. In addition, the city's over 200 green roofs help manage storm water and contribute to improved water quality by retaining and filtering rainwater through the plant’s soil and root uptake zone. The water that does leave the roof is slowed, kept cooler and is filtered to be cleaner. Green roofs can also further insulate the building, reducing cooling and heating costs.
  • Green Seal Certified Hotels: With over a dozen of these hotels, meeting organizers have a variety of lodging options that adhere to environmental standards of energy efficiency, water conservation, recycling and waste reduction. Some even provide organic linens and other amenities to further support sustainable practices.
  • Millennium Park and Soldier Field: Built above an underground parking lot, Millennium Park is one of the state's most popular tourist attractions and - at close to 25 acres in size – is one of the world's largest green roofs. In the same mold, the home of the Chicago Bears is constructed above an underground parking garage. In addition to Soldier Field's award-winning green roof, it has achieved LEED certification - the first stadium in the NFL to receive the eco-friendly distinction.
  • Eco-Friendly Dining: In an effort to enable diners in Chicago to easily identify and support restaurants, caterers, and other foodservice operations that have achieved a markedly high level of environmental responsibility, the Green Chicago Restaurant Coalition created the Guaranteed Green Chicago program. Locations that display the Guaranteed Green 'sprouting fork' decal in their window are guaranteed to be certified by either the Green Restaurant Association or Green Seal, two independent, national non-profits with comprehensive environmental standards.
What value do you see being affiliated with the global GMIC community?
The GMIC community exposes our great city to organizations and companies who may not have considered Chicago in their previous city searches. GMIC gives us the opportunity to showcase the value of sustainability in a city where residents incorporate these values in their daily living.