The Minneapolis Convention Center (MCC) officially announced it has rolled out a new initiative to help meeting planners understand the environmental impact of their events. Customized client sustainability reports provide detailed analysis on energy and water usage, as well as how much material was recycled by each specific conference, meeting, or tradeshow. The MCC is a leader in sustainability, achieving a recycling rate of 61% for 2017.
“Limiting our environmental impact is extremely important, and our success is interconnected with the groups that hold their events with us,” said Director of Facility and Event Services Mark Zirbel. “Waste is sorted and accounted for, so we have the data available. Sharing that detailed information with meeting planners and event coordinators arms them with valuable insights. It also allows them to see their success or how they could be more proactive in making a positive impact on the environment.”
The Midwest Poultry Federation, which held its 2018 Annual Convention at the MCC in March, was among the first to receive a tailored event sustainability report. Their report showed sustainability efforts reduced the carbon impact of the annual meeting by 50%, or the same amount of carbon offset by 30,345 trees in one year. The MCC sustainability report uses visuals, including trees, to help planners put their numbers into context.
“Our attendees are poultry farmers and they work hard every day to reduce their carbon footprint on the farm,” said Lara Durben, assistant executive director for the Midwest Poultry Federation. “They will be very interested to see how the responsible use of water and energy along with the recovery of waste from our show makes a big difference to MCC’s overall sustainability program.”
• In 2017, the Minneapolis Convention Center produced 1,037 tons of waste, equal to the weight of 259 elephants. Staff recycling efforts recovered 61% of that waste, or 158 elephants.
• MCC used enough energy in 2017 to power 790 U.S. homes for one year. Through energy conservation, the MCC has reduced energy use by 13% since 2009, or enough to power 116 U.S. homes for one year.
“The Minneapolis Convention Center is a 1.6-million square foot facility that hosted 380 events in 2017,” said Executive Director Jeff Johnson. “By using our resources responsibly, we make a positive impact on our natural environment in this beautiful state.”
Tracking of the MCC’s recycling efforts began in 2012, when its recycling rate was 41%. By posting quarterly results, employees – who are integral to the success of the recycling program – see how their efforts can significantly impact the facility’s sustainability numbers. Staff embraced the program, which has allowed the MCC to reach its goal of a 60% recycling rate.
In addition to the client sustainability reports, ongoing initiatives include a roof-top solar array, a storm water run-off system that can divert 5 million gallons of untreated run-off from the Mississippi River every year, LED digital signage, and water bottle refilling stations to discourage the use of single-use water bottles. The Minneapolis Convention Center is also LEED certified, and has earned a coveted Green Meetings Industry Council certification.