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

Destination Spotlight - October 2012
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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.

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How do you communicate your city's sustainability commitment to meeting organizers?
In recent years, there has been a focus by the LVCVA and our resort partners to become more environmentally conscious. From energy efficiency and water conservation to recycling and implementing greener practices, Las Vegas is doing its part to contribute to the sustainability of the planet. We share timely information with meeting planners, our building clients and show partners on the various environmentally friendly programs taking place across the destination. Whether it’s through our website, newsletters or in person conversations and presentations, we’re proud to highlight the work being done in Las Vegas.

One very visible way we inform the public about our work is through branding our trash compactors and containers. We came up with the idea to put a sustainable message on outdoor trash compactors which lets everyone know that we recycle the trash at the Las Vegas Convention Center. We were the first business to do this in Las Vegas, and now, more agencies and businesses are following our lead.

How does this support your ability to attract meetings into your area?
More meeting professionals are looking to reduce their carbon footprint when they host events, so they request information on what's happening in Las Vegas. We share our work and the work of our resorts partners and the community overall.

Our resort partners understand the importance of sustainability. Las Vegas Sands Corp. has achieved both Gold and Silver LEED certifications, and it is at the forefront of a national movement to recycle soaps and toiletries. MGM Resorts International’s CityCenter has received multiple LEED certifications for its environmentally friendly design and construction. Caesars Palace Conference Center has been awarded Silver LEED certification, and Caesars Entertainment partners with The Public Education Foundation’s Teacher EXCHANGE so that conference and convention attendees can put unused pens, paper and other repurposed materials into the hands of local school teachers. Wynn Las Vegas has an aggressive recycling program, including food waste. Boyd Gaming’s laundry facility is the first in the country to receive LEED Silver certification. M Resort Spa Casino took its environmental responsibility and energy conservation into consideration when constructing its resort. The list goes on. All of these initiatives show how Las Vegas has turned its attention to becoming more environmentally conscious, and people are responding to it.

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

We are proud that we have taken it upon ourselves to be more environmentally conscious. We are not required to be more sustainable by mandated regulations. Our meetings and conventions delegates may not realize that the trash generated at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Cashman Center is sorted, then recycled or repurposed on the back end. Our clients do not have to sort their own trash into different bins. The Las Vegas Convention Center and Cashman Center are able to report a 64 percent recycle rate, which is well above the state’s goal of 25 percent.

Conventions and tradeshows are increasing their attendance while also improving their sustainability. For example, International CES, which has more than 150,000 delegates, reported a recycle rate of 77 percent last year. Materials that could not be recycled were repurposed through a local nonprofit called Repurpose America. Large building-sized advertisements from that show are now being used as sunshades at UNLV.

From our restaurants and meeting venues to transportation companies and local business owners, the community is supporting sustainability as well. We have an innovative sustainable shrimp farm here, where shrimp supplied to several local restaurants are grown and harvested in ponds built from recycled shipping containers. We also work with the community to increase food donation throughout the valley.

In addition, when it comes to renewable energy, we average more than 320 sunny days a year here, making Las Vegas a hot spot for solar energy development.

How does your CVB/City support sustainable events (minimizing negative impacts and maximizing positive contributions in the local community) to help event organizers?

Describe the sustainable transportation options available in your city for event organizers? (for example, bicycling options, light rail, walkable convention zone, etc.)
One of the many things that make Las Vegas a great leisure and business destination is its accessibility. Most of our more than 150,000 hotel rooms are just minutes from McCarran International Airport. The Las Vegas Convention Center is just 3.5 miles from the airport. That accessibility is a great plus for event organizers looking for convenience and sustainable transportation options. The Las Vegas Monorail, which has several stops along the resort corridor, operates on a zero-emission transportation system, and our public bus system uses diesel hybrid electric buses on some of its routes.

What solutions do you provide to help event organizers with waste diversion (venue recycling, composting, donation programs, etc.)?
Please see the above response on our recycling program.

How do you support local community organizations and facility CSR project support for event organizers?
We work with our show management to help them donate surplus exhibitor product to community organizations who can repurpose the items and keep them out of local landfills. Excess food goes to various charities that run food banks. Other surplus materials are donated to nonprofits, including Repurpose America, Habitat for Humanity, Opportunity Village and Three Square which use the items in a variety of creative ways.

How do you support local food or other procurement sourcing options for event organizers?
Our purchasing department has an environment purchasing policy and works to buy sustainable products.

Does your bureau or major convention center have a green team?
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has a 30-member Green Team made up of representatives from every department. The Green Team meets regularly to discuss ways to enhance our sustainability program and engage the community in our sustainable efforts. These efforts include education about our recycle program and organizing neighborhood clean-ups.

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?
Our LVCVA representatives are often asked to speak about our green initiatives during conventions and meeting industry functions, which serve as great educational opportunities.

Describe the most impactful sustainable event experience/customer experience supported by your CVB?

One event that stands out is our overall recycling effort last year. In 2011, the Las Vegas Convention Center and Cashman Center recovered nearly 470 tons of cardboard, more than 460 tons of wood, 440 tons of paper, nearly 200 tons of plastic and nearly 200 tons of metals. In all, we recovered nearly 2,000 tons of waste, which contributed to our recycle rate of 64 percent, which is above the state’s goal of 25 percent.

What advice would you provide to other CVB professionals seeking to head down the sustainable event pathway?
Start with the low-hanging fruit. In other words, make little improvements that can be done right away. For example, at our facilities, we were able to replace more than 30,000 gallons of traditional cleaning chemicals with more environmentally friendly options. We also replaced 19 tons of plastic trash bags with biodegradable bags. Small changes can make a big difference.

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 typically showcase the LVCVA's recycling program, which was detailed above.

What value do you see being affiliated with the global GMIC community?
Our partnership with the Green Meeting Industry Council has been an invaluable resource when it comes to networking opportunities. It’s important to stay engaged in the global conversation about the environment and GMIC provides us with the perfect opportunity to stay informed and to share best practices.

What do you need from the industry to continue to advance in the realm of sustainability?
We are fortunate to have internal and community support which helps us move our work forward.


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