How 7 Event Venues and Organizations Will Be Honoring Earth Day This Year
Even though big gatherings still aren’t allowed in most U.S. cities, that hasn’t stopped sustainably minded event organizations, hospitality companies and venues from finding ways to celebrate the 51st edition of Earth Day. Held on April 22, the event’s theme this year is “Restore Our Earth.”
The global event will be primarily digital for the second year in a row but will offer a plethora of Earth Day activities available to those wishing to participate. Take a look at how our industry is celebrating and who knows, maybe you’ll feel inspired to create your own eco-friendly event or join one near you?
Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland
On April 15, team members at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland, along with in-house food and beverage provider Levy Restaurants, hosted a FarmVille cleanup day in honor of Earth Day. Team members spent the morning cleaning up the venue’s on-site 0.3-acre urban farm, planting fresh vegetables, herbs and spices and sprucing up the grounds.
Home to 14 beehives and almost two dozen chickens, FarmVille opened at the HCCC in 2014 to promote urban agriculture and showcase sustainable farming practices. Its hens produce approximately two dozen eggs per day and the 14 beehives and their inhabitants produce more than 2,000 pounds of honey annually, according to convention center officials.
“These organically grown food products are served to our guests throughout the year,” said Ron King, HCCC general manager. “Our honey bees also provide a valuable service to urban flowers, vegetables and trees, pollinating throughout downtown Cleveland.”
“Every day is Earth Day at Informa!” according to Ben Wielgus, head of sustainability at Informa. In 2020, the company launched its FasterForward strategy for sustainable business that includes becoming carbon neutral and cutting its product and event waste in half by 2025, and becoming zero waste and net zero carbon by 2030 or earlier.
According to Wielgus, the company will be hosting an array of green-minded projects on and around Earth Day this year to get its teams rallied around sustainability. These include:
- A photo competition in which colleagues can share what sustainability means to them;
- A friendly competition between hundreds of Informa events to introduce the company’s 12 Sustainable Events Fundamentals
- A series of announcements and webinars to help share Informa company-wide sustainability efforts
- The release of its 2020 Sustainability Report;
- Continuing and highlighting an ongoing series about the sustainability programs of Informa’s key travel partners (such as airlines and hotels) to demonstrate collaboration across the industry
- Encouraging Informa Awards entries to participate in the FasterForward award category.
Los Angeles Convention Center
This year, approximately 20-25 staff members from the Los Angeles Convention Center, the Los Angeles Department of Convention & Tourism Development and in-house partners including Edlen Electrical, Levy Restaurants and ABM, will gather for a staff engagement day to beautify the facility’s back-of-house areas.
The team will re-paint the Butler Building facade, dedicated in 2015 as the “CURB” (Committed to Using our Resources Better), which serves as the central hub for the LEED Gold-certified venue’s extensive recycling efforts. Additionally, flowers will be planted to spruce up employee break areas, with all activities to be outdoors and physical distancing maintained at all times.
As the facility prepares to reopen on June 15 alongside other business sectors in California, this special event will mark the first time LACC employees have gathered together in over a year, according to facility officials.
“The LACC has always taken our environmental stewardship seriously, so I could not think of a more appropriate way to welcome our team back to the building,” said Ellen Schwartz, LACC general manager. “Our intention is to make Operation Beautify LACC an annual Earth Day tradition.”
To highlight its commitment to sustainable travel and tourism to its guests, Hilton is encouraging all of its team members to rally around and celebrate environmental stewardship through education, volunteerism and on-property reduction projects. According to Hilton officials, team members will be geared with information on Hilton’s Travel with Purpose 2030 Goals, including how they can get involved and log their impact, and will be provided with refreshed resources to encourage sustainability prioritization, whether at home or at work.
Additionally, the Hilton Worldwide sales and corporate responsibility teams have collaborated to help event groups offset the carbon output of their meetings and events through the Hilton LightStay program, which offers tailored reports. These include its Meet with Purpose sustainable meetings program and Meeting Impact Calculator that tracks and measures the environmental footprint of meetings or conferences held at any Hilton property.
Orange County Convention Center
Centerplate, the F&B provider at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, has two environmentally-minded projects in the works for Earth Day. The facility is donating 1,000 sunflower seedlings that were grown on-property to 10 different local charities and sending seed cards to some of its trade show clients. With these cards, clients can grow herbs that are grown at the OCCC’s on-site Center-to-Table Gardens, including basil, parsley and chives.
Located in the facility’s Westwood lobby, the 2,000-sq.-ft. aeroponic garden provides edible greens and fresh produce for use in client meals, and includes 81 towers, each with 44 planting spots. In 2020, the Centerplate team harvested and donated over 50,000 plants and herbs to local community outreach organizations that needed extra help during the pandemic, according to Centerplate officials.
This year, UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry, will be celebrating Mother Earth by enabling its UFI connects online education program to do what it does best: providing top-notch talks, panels and webinar sessions for industry professionals.
On April 22 at 8 a.m. ET, it will be offering Creating More Environmentally Sustainable Exhibitions, which will cover the strides the exhibition industry is making to become more environmentally responsible and sustainable. Participants will have a chance to hear case studies, learn best practices and get their questions answered by industry experts. To register, go here.
Colorado Convention Center
Known as one of the greenest convention centers in the U.S., the LEED Gold-certified Colorado Convention Center in Denver will be hosting its 6th Annual Green Week Sustainability Challenge for its employees along with a new CCC Earth Day Event for the local community.
During Green Week, CCC employees are encouraged to choose three sustainable activities from a list of options:
- Taking alternative transportation;
- Visiting the CCC Earth Day Event;
- Carrying out sustainable activities in their department;
- Committing to one behavior change in 2021;
- Eating vegetarian for a week;
- Taking the Ocean Wise Plastic Free Pledge and creating their own challenge.
After completing their chosen challenges and taking the CCC Sustainability Quiz, employees can choose between a $10 Chipotle gift card or donating $15 to a selected local charity.
Run as a volunteer project by center staff, the CCC’s new Earth Day Event will take place April 22 from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. MT. The public is invited to stop by the venue’s beloved Blue Bear to learn more about sustainability and receive earth-friendly giveaways from local partners including ACE Hardware, Mile High Workshop and Country Fair Garden Center.