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Industry Briefs

Sustainability Efforts at Cobo Center Attract Global Events Like Sustainable Brands


Claude Molinari, general manager of SMG/Cobo Center, recently announced that Cobo Center has achieved recertification to the Event Industry Council's (EIC) Accepted Practices Exchange/American Society for Testing and Materials International (APEX/ASTM) Sustainable Meeting Standard for venues.

The Cobo Center Green Committee is also in the process of attaining LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification with the U.S Green Buildings Council, a venue rating for design, construction, operation and maintenance of green buildings with environmental responsible practices that utilize resources efficiently.

Cobo's sustainable operations gained the attention of the trade show industry and the facility was chosen as the site of this year's Sustainable Brands (SB'19) conference. Detroit's main convention and exhibition venue was the host site for Sustainable Brands'17 Detroit, and will again host the event June 4-6 this year.  

"Sustainable Brands is excited to continue to partner with suppliers and venues like Cobo who demonstrate a commitment to sustainable practices. Cobo's commitment to innovation and sustainability has demonstrated how leadership and teamwork can achieve very high goals," said David Fiss, CMP and director of business development and event strategy for Sustainable Brands. "Doing so helps our event meet our sustainability goals, educate our attendees, and encourage other suppliers to the meeting and events industry to do the same. A sustainable event is more thoughtful and creates a better participant experience."  Mr. Fiss is the president of EIC Sustainability Initiative, Northern California Chapter and former member of EIC Sustainability Leadership Council. 

A number of leading companies and organizations will be supporting the Sustainable Brands event, including Ford Motor Company, the Dow Chemical Company, BASF, General Motors, Nestle, NSF International, The Erb Institute for Global sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan and the Detroit Experience Factory..

Molinari said "We continue to make strides in improving the sustainability of our offerings, including a new post event donation program.  Getting recertified to the APEX/ASTM Green Meeting Standard and hosting Sustainable Brands for the second time signals that our efforts are truly world class." 

During 2018, the Green Committee in Cobo Center organized a group of local area agencies that can use materials often left behind by big events in the convention center. Materials like wood, metal, and carpet along with plants, clothing, food and various attendee giveaways are donated to local non-profits and schools. The re-use of these materials prevents them from going into the waste stream and contributes tons of materials annually to the local Detroit region goal of a more sustainable economy.

Cobo Center was initially certified in 2015 to the APEX/ASTM Standard pertaining to the evaluation and selection of venues for environmentally sustainable meetings, events, trade shows, and conferences, and was the ninth U.S. facility to do so.  The venues standard is one of the nine developed by the meetings, conventions, exhibitions and events industry to provide event planners and suppliers with specifications for producing events in a more sustainable manner.

"2019 is shaping up to be a big year for our green team," Molinari said. "Each year we strengthen our green operations and our contribution to the greater Detroit sustainability action agenda."

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