20 Steps to a Greener Event from Detroit’s COBO Center

November 27, 2015

Mary Klida

Mary Klida is Marketing and Communications Manager at Cobo Center in Detroit.  She is an award winning writer with more than 30 years communications experience.

Cobo Center has been awarded the Keep Michigan Beautiful (KMB) President’s plaque, their highest annual award. KMB was founded in 1965 by then Michigan Governor George Romney as a response to Lady Bird Johnson’s White House Conference on Beautification.

The President’s Plaque is awarded for environmental improvement, beautification, site restoration and sustainability.

Patrick Bero, CEO/CFO of the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority, the governing body of Cobo Center, was on hand to receive the award October 16, 2015, in Frankenmuth Michigan.

“In 2011, at the beginning of our 5-year $279 million renovation, we put together a Green Committee with members from every department and vendor company in Cobo Center,” said Claude Molinari, regional director of operations SMG and assistant general manager or Cobo Center. “That committee drives the momentum for improving sustainability and environmental stewardship of our facility and community.”

Since 2012, when Cobo Center was certified a Green Venues Michigan facility, it has received five sustainability recognitions, including the Detroit EcoWorks Sustainability Champion Award in 2014, the Detroit Free Press Michigan Green Leaders award in 2015, the GMIC APEX certification in 2015, and now the KMB award.

“We feel Cobo Center offers a unique package of Green Event support at little or no cost to customers, in a place not known for sustainability – Detroit! We aim to change that perception and show the world that Detroit is back and better than ever,” said Thom Connors, SMG regional vice president and general manager of Cobo Center.

Cobo recommends that customers who want to make their events more sustainable start with these 20 easy suggestions:

1. Investigate Cobo’s Green certifications. They outline the operational structure for sustainability

2. To save time in your RFP, simply mail your questions about Green Events in Cobo Center to greenevents@cobocenter.com

3. Use Cobo’s free app and website to find sustainable transportation options and walkable local attractions

4. Cobo Center has 180 recycling stations. Have some placed strategically throughout your event spaces, especially on the closing day

5. Cobo Center will supply a post-event sustainability report that meets the requirements of your Green Event sponsors

6. Use signage without dates to promote re-use

7. Use online event service order forms on the Cobo website to reduce paper waste

8. Distribute event information online or in digital format

9. Use the free facility app to notify attendees of event and facility features

10. Generate less paper waste by using Cobo’s digital signage to announce sponsors, direct attendees and announce agendas

11. Work with Cobo’s chef to source food locally and sustainably

12. Request un-served food from your event be donated to Forgotten Harvest, a local food redistribution agency (48.8 million pounds of food last year)

13. Publicize Cobo’s sustainability practices to your attendees and encourage participation

14. Cobo uses compostable food containers and utensils making food outlet waste 100% compostable or recyclable

15. Your sponsor can underwrite a coffee break with their logos on compostable cups

16. Include a sustainability slide show at the entrance and exit of your event and let attendees know how they can be a part of it

17. Recycle badge holders to local charities and declare to attendees with signage

18. Inclusivity is sustainability. Work with your event manager to insure attendees special needs are met during your event

19. Work with your event manager to create Detroit area walking tours for attendees to encourage walking as transportation

20. Cobo supports the use of bicycles as attendee transportation

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