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

Destination Spotlight - July 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.

What sustainable attribute are you most proud of within your city and sets your city apart from other cities?
Denver was the first destination in the world to receive certification of the ASTM Standard pertaining to the Evaluation and Selection of Destinations for Environmentally Sustainable Meetings, Events, Trade Shows, and Conferences (abbreviated as "E2741-11” and commonly known as the APEX Standard). The development of these standards took years. We are proud to the first destination to become certified. Since our certification, both Portland and Chicago have become certified. I hope that other cities continue to pursue certification as it will continue to draw awareness to these sustainable meetings standards and the importance of green meetings.

How do you communicate you city’s sustainability commitment to meeting organizers?
Communication of our sustainability efforts begins with the bid process. All of our clients receive information regarding the sustainable practices in Denver. In addition, we continue to monitor and improve green page for meeting and event planners on our website.

How does this support your ability to attract meetings into your area?
It’s rare that clients are selecting a destination based on their green practices. However, having the ASTM certification shows our clients that our city takes sustainability seriously. The 3rd party certification is key because it validates that we are indeed a green destination. If all aspects of a bid between Denver and our competition were equal, this certification could be the deal breaker to win the business.

Describe the Sustainable transportation options available in your city for event organizers? (example, bicycling options, light rail, walkable convention zone)

  • Downtown Denver is an extremely walkable city. In addition to a very compact downtown, the Free Mall Ride along the mile long 16th Street pedestrian mall. These shuttle buses run every ninety seconds and make it easy for people to get from one end of downtown to the other.
  • Denver was the first city to adopt B-Cycle, a citywide bike sharing program. To date we have more than 700 rental bikes on the streets at 83 stations throughout the city.
  • Visitors may also opt to hop on one of our 300 pedicabs to get around downtown or jump in one of our hybrid taxis.
  • In 2016, RTD will open our first train from the Denver International Airport to Downtown Denver. This project is part of FasTracks: a program to build a comprehensive, integrated region-wide transit network adding 122 miles of new light rail and commuter rail.

What solutions do you provide to help event organizers with waste diversion (venue recycling, composting, donation programs, etc)?

  • The Colorado Convention Center offers front of the house single stream recycling and back of the house composting. Our center provides a reclaim room where we store left over products (foam core, bags, pens, etc) to be donated to local non-profits.
  • VISIT DENVER also offers a robust selection of voluntourism/ donation opportunities in our green section of our website.
  • Most of our downtown hotels offer in-room recycling and many are starting to add composting to their back of the house operations. Our goal is to make it easy for clients to find ways to divert waste from the landfill.

How do you support local community organizations and facility CSR project support for event organizers?
Our Voluntourism website offers meeting planners a wide variety of volunteer/ CSR opportunities. Our convention service managers will assist our clients in making connections with our local organizations that ultimately benefit from our client’s project.

How do you support local food or other procurement sourcing options for event organizers

  • In 2012, the Colorado Convention Center, in partnership with Centerplate Catering, opened The Blue Bear Farm. This 5000 square foot farm is located on property at the Colorado Convention Center and is the nation’s first sustainable convention center farm that produces 3,600 lbs of fresh produce annually.
  • In the last five years, the local restaurant scene has expanded exponentially and the major focus has been on farm to fork menus.
  • The City of Denver created Certifiably Green Denver, a free sustainability program that helps businesses find opportunities to improve efficiency and profitability by implementing energy efficiency and water conservation, and waste minimization. Currently, 37 restaurants are certified under this program and the program continues to expand.

Does your bureau or major convention center have a green team?
Yes both the convention center and VISIT DENVER have green teams. VISIT DENVER’s green team just completed our 3rd Annual Sustainability Challenge. The entire office is divided into teams and competes against each other in a wide variety of sustainable challenges. These vary from venue tours, a pedometer challenge, trivia contest, sustainable photo contest, walk tours, donation challenge and more. It’s a fun and interactive way to continue to educate our staff.

Do you provide educational training programs for your region (venues, etc) about sustainable best practice? IF so in what format. Do you profile and/or promote sustainable hospitality partners?

  • VISIT DENVER offers monthly educational workshops to our members on a variety of topics. This year we are hosting two different workshops to promote the City of Denver’s Certifiably Green program to our members. One workshop will focus on the restaurant program and the other one on the retail program.
  • The Alliance for Sustainable Colorado is also a great local resource for sustainable events in the region.

What advice would you provide to other CVB professionals seeking to head down the sustainable event pathway?
Don’t give up! Rome wasn’t built in a day! The path to sustainability isn’t easy and it’s always evolving. GMIC has been a great outlet for me to meet peers who are facing similar challenges within their organization. GMIC has allowed me to create my own green network which has been a huge resource in my sustainable journey.

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?
We always talk about the ease of getting around downtown and show clients how their attendees will experience the Free Mall Ride to get around downtown Denver. When time allows, it’s awesome to tour our clients around on one of our B-Cycles. It creates an entirely different experience and one that they won’t forget.

What value do you see being affiliated with the global GMIC community?
GMIC is a fairly young organization. Many other industry organizations have become stale and the educational focus is often diminished. There is so much growth in the sustainability sector. It’s refreshing to be around like-minded people from all over the world who inspire you to keep pushing the needle forward.

What support/resources do you need to continue on your sustainable path?
Having support from my leadership team is vital. They support my membership at GMIC and leadership in the local green community . Without this support, I would not be able to continue to increase my knowledge what is happening both locally and on a national front in our industry.

Do you have links, testimonials, case studies etc available that we can share with our community?
Our best resource is our green section of our website.