The Global Leader of Sustainability

Vancouver Convention Centre

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production

Overview

Vancouver Convention Centre (VCC) received its first LEED Platinum certificate in 2010 for its innovative building design and materials used for construction. In 2017, VCC scored another LEED Platinum certificate for its industry-leading sustainable operations. Innovation and forward thinking of management towards being sustainable are visible throughout their building and operations.

Authors

Ting-Wei Lin

Ting-Wei Lin

Bikal Prajapati

Bikal Prajapati

Sanjeev Joon

Sanjeev Joon

Jose Zamora

Jose Zamora

School

Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU)

Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU)

Professor

Hiran Roy

Hiran Roy

Innovation

Vancouver Convention Center opened its west building in April 2019, expanding its floor area to 466,500 square feet. This building was developed with an emphasis on sustainability along with superior building design. The building has onsite grey and water treatment plant to recycle and reduce water consumption in landscaping and lavatories. Floor to ceiling high insulated glass windows allow maximum inflow of natural light to reduce energy consumption. In addition, all the light fixtures inside the building are LED which further reduces lighting costs. The building also features six acres of rooftop garden with 400,000 indigenous plants species, which insulate the building by preventing heat loss during winter and heat gain during summer. The rooftop garden has four European Beehives that facilitate pollination of plants and provide honey. The building has been designed to take advantage of adjacent seawater heating and cooling. Woods were used throughout the building that come from sustainably managed forests of British Columbia. Food and Beverage operations taking place in the building are designed to take maximum advantage of recycling. The kitchen uses locally available fresh and seasonal ingredients. The VCC chooses to work with suppliers that strongly believe in sustainability and all the suppliers supply their products in reusable containers. All the cleaning products are ‘EcoLogo’ and ‘Green Seal’ approved. All these efforts have earned VCC's double Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certification, which is the first convention center in the world to do so.

The Global Leader of Sustainability

Inspiration

The innovation starts with the acknowledgment of the global issues, and the VCC is driven towards the solution of these problems. They focus on making the world a better and more livable place to the people. Healthy living and a better environment are mainly centered where VCC wants to provide more towards the world and the local community. Mandy (Sustainability Coordinator) points out the main inspiration toward innovation is to “continue to be a sustainability leader in the industry”. They also love to share ideas and opinions with the current students in order to know more about what they are doing for the community and what motivates them to follow or research the sustainability programs. In this case, on the one hand, they are helping to make society healthy and robust, and on the other hand, spreading the concepts and motivating the world to make it a clean and suitable place to live.

Overall impact

The VCC has a positive impact on the business community of Vancouver through the utilization of local transportation, accommodation, retail, entertainment, and foodservice industries. Such actions help to increase the local revenues of these industries as non-residents spend an average of $1,400 dollars when attending an event. In addition, the Convention Centre attracts approximate 750,000 people from across the world who are willing to repeat the visit. All these positive impacts help to bust the local business, so there are clusters of different service to be able to provide services to meet the needs of the visitors.

The company also helps to create a positive impact on society by hosting several events every year. All of these events target different topics which have meaningful messages for the country. These events are presented to experts in the target topics meaning that all the attendees leave with excellent information that can have a positive impact in their lives. For instance, TED 2017 had innovative ideas that help society through technology and values.

The VCC further has a significant impact on the environment. The Convention Centre manages diverse programs and activities which help the environment. For instance, they use fresh local and seasonal ingredients for kitchen usage. They are helping to promote the local produce and reduce energy consumption as well. In addition, the company uses a reusable container for delivery and cleaning products which are eco-friendly. Moreover, the company programs promote the usage of only organic products. These actions demonstrates how the company shows its commitment to the environment.

Business benefit

As one of the facilities owned by Provincial Crown Corporation, the Vancouver Convention Centre aims at generating economic and community benefits for the residents of British Columbia, striving to enhance organizational performance through attracting international tourists for the growth of the Province of British Columbia. The Vancouver Convention Centre holds more than 500 conventions and events that bring attendees and tourists from all over the world. Mandy points out "Sustainable initiatives are regularly reviewed and revised in the organization to meet with the industry demands" for not solely to benefit the business but to take proactive actions to protect the environment. “Whenever we look at sustainability initiatives we look at the return on investment (ROI), such as switching to LED lighting. However, sometimes we make a decision because it is the right thing to do, such as installing water refill stations to encourage the use of reusable water bottles”, Mandy further mentioned.

Another benefit is that the VCC learns new expertise and ideas from conferences and events because it provides a platform for the exchange of knowledge and information from various fields. Industry leaders in education, arts, science, and other prominent areas are gathering in Vancouver, the leading relationship-building destination, to attend conventions, trade, and meetings. Mandy states that “given the type of business – public gathering space – we strive to be a leader within our industry," and this not only brings up the recognition of the Centre, which ends up benefiting the organization, but also increases the economic growth of the city in terms of transportation, accommodation, and tourist attractions".

Social and environmental benefit

To elevate Vancouver as a global leader of sustainability, the Vancouver Convention Centre is committed to boosting the growth of the local community and increasing the community engagement through the creation of innovative and sustainable experiences for both its clients and residents. The VCC has provided plenty of benefits for the society and the environment. First of all, they are dedicated to reducing, reusing and recycling materials including batteries, lighting bulbs, plastics and much more to manage waste and production. For example, the organization achieves approximate “80% of diversion rate” and measures overall recycling amount monthly to ensure lower pollution to the environment. Also, they offer programs for those who choose to hold an event in the VCC with a zero-waste event. Secondly, the VCC showcases the commitment to food-friendly through the utilization of locally-grown produce to decrease the energy consumption of transporting food. Apart from encouraging serving with reusable containers and organic food, the VCC has participated in the CANstruction Vancouver fundraiser, donating their food from events and conventions to the Food Bank.

Lastly, Mandy pointed out that they “instill sustainability practices into all aspects of the corporate culture at the VCC,” aiming at going green on every action and design. They have installed energy efficient practices that implemented sustainability into the core objectives of the business. For example, VCC utilizes seawater to run the heating and cooling systems and maximize the use of natural light and ventilation to generate electricity and keep a desired temperature for the whole building. More importantly, a restored marine habitat was taken into consideration when the VCC built the West building. Both water quality and the diversity of sea life have significantly improved in the area with the effort of being green.

Every decision they have made are all because it is the right thing to do. The VCC becomes the first double LEED Platinum building in the world in 2017, setting an example for facilities across the globe. They continue their journey of delivering the highest level of environmental and social benefits to the local community and strive to be a global leader in the sustainability industry.

Interview

Mandy Gale, Sustainability Coordinator

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Vancouver Convention Centre

Vancouver Convention Centre

Vancouver, British Columbia, CA

Business Website: https://www.vancouverconventioncentre.com

Year Founded: 1987

Number of Employees: 201 to 500

Vancouver Convention Center (VCC) is part of BC pavilion which has three divisions, BC place, corporate office, and the previously mentioned Convention Centre. The Convention Centre opened in 1987 which was created to generate several benefits as economic and environmental purposes. The purpose of the VCC is to elevate as a global leader and convention destination by creating inspiring and sustainable experiences for clients, team, and community. Consequently, the company has been successful in this purpose as hosting more than 500 events every year which generates about $300 million for the province of British Columbia. Moreover, the company achieves all its goals by being faithful to all its values which are, trust, respect, accountability, innovation, and service excellence.