Detroit's Cobo Center Achieves Green Meetings 'APEX'

Cobo Center Exterior

Detroit's convention center, Cobo Center, has received the Convention Industry Council's (CIC) Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) certification, granted by the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) to venues that achieve minimum standards in sustainability, it announced last week. Cobo is the ninth U.S. facility to achieve the certification.

"Achieving certification to the industry's global standard is clear proof of the Cobo Center's commitment to sustainability," said Cobo Center General Manager Thom Connors, regional vice president of venue management company SMG, which runs the convention center on behalf of Detroit. "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."

The APEX initiative was launched in 2007 by CIC, which set out to create industry standards for environmentally sustainable events. Officially sanctioned by ASTM International -- formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials -- the completed standards include nine individual topic areas: Accommodations, Audio/Visual, Communication, Exhibits, Food and Beverage, On-Site Office, Destinations, Meeting Venue and Transportation. The completed standards were published in 2012, and in 2013 GMIC launched a certification built around them.

To achieve certification, Cobo Center's Green Committee created 85 separate required documents to substantiate the development of policies and "best practice" procedures supporting sustainable events at Cobo. Over a six-month period, green practices such as composting and environmental purchasing policies were implemented to attain the certification.

"This certification is one more step in Cobo Center's effort to become an industry leader in sustainability," Connors continued. "In the last four years … 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."

Concluded GMIC President Roger Simons, "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."

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