Cobo Center is the ninth U.S. facility to attain certification to the APEX/ASTM Standard, pertaining to the Evaluation and Selection of Venues for Environmentally Sustainable Meetings, Events, Trade Shows, and Conferences.
Thom Connors, SMG regional vice president and general manager of Cobo Center, confirmed July 9 that Cobo Center in Detroit, Mich., received the Convention Industry Council’s Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) certification, by the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC), a non-profit, membership-based professional organization spearheaded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which provides educational resources to planners, suppliers, and venues seeking to meet the ever-rising standards consumers set for sustainable meetings.
The GMIC award is the fourth for Cobo Center related to sustainability efforts. In 2012, Cobo became the largest Green Venues Michigan facility. Cobo was designated an EcoWorks Sustainable Communities Champion two years later, for which the facility was named a Detroit Green Leader by the Detroit Free Press in early 2015.
“Achieving certification to the industry’s global standard is clear proof of the Cobo Center’s commitment to sustainability,” said Connors. “We are proud to take the lead in advancing the convention center’s responsible environmental and social practices and hope this will encourage others in making Detroit a more sustainable meeting destination.”
Soon to complete a $279 million renovation project, Cobo Center offers 723,000 square feet of exhibit space and is the 19th largest convention center in the country. It is one of four SMG managed facilities to achieve GMIC’s APEX/ASTM certification.
The APEX/ASTM Venues Standard delineates the procedural requirements for venue selection – the practice of researching, evaluating and choosing the facility for an event. The standard specifies distinct performance criteria for staff management, communications, waste management, energy, air quality, water, procurement and community partners. The standards were created in partnership with ASTM International, an ANSI-accredited standards development organization.
“Achieving certification to this standard doesn’t just stop with Cobo Center,” said Larry Alexander, chairman of the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority (DRCFA) and president and CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau. “This is a huge achievement for the region and the DRCFA as we continue to promote Detroit as a true destination city – not just in the Midwest, but around the U.S. and international markets.”
The certification application was a coordinated effort by Cobo Center’s Green Committee, made up of members from every department and vendor company in the center. The committee created 85 separate required documents to substantiate the development of multiple policies and “best practice” procedures initiated to support sustainable events in Cobo. Over a six-month period, significant green practices such as composting and environmental purchasing policies were implemented to attain the certification and go on to support Green events in the center.
“This certification is one more step in Cobo Center’s effort to become an industry leader in sustainability,” Connors stated. “In the last four years, and despite the ongoing major renovations, we have substantially reduced utility costs while increasing the event schedule and expanding the footprint of the facility. At the same time, we reduced water usage by 17 million gallons.”
Roger Simons, president, GMIC added, “Responsible environmental and social practices in the meeting industry is a global concern. We are delighted to see a major U.S. facility such as Cobo Center step up and make a commitment to sustainable meetings.”
To view the Cobo Green Initiativesm, visit http://www.cobocenter.com/green_initiatives_1