Event Venues

4 Green Meetings Certifications Defined

Convention centers are more aggressively pursuing green certification because it’s becoming a competitive advantage for contracting events with certain meeting professionals.

The soon-to-be-released 2015 Green Venue Report is the focus of the latest article in our CMP Series. Here’s a quick guide to the four main green venue certifications in our industry.

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification is a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings. The latest iteration, LEED v4, is more specialized and focused on improved user experience.

ISO 14000
The Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) 14000 series of green benchmark standards helps organizations minimize how their operations negatively affect the environment and comply with applicable laws. ISO 14001 is part of the European Union’s Eco-Management and Audit Scheme, which is more demanding concerning performance, legal compliance, and reporting.

Developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Green Meeting Industry Council, the APEX/ASTM certification is a partnership between the Convention Industry Council’s Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) and ASTM, the international standard-development organization. The certification was created by event-industry professionals and more than 200 non-industry stakeholders.

The Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada’s (BOMA Canada) Building Environment Standards (BESt) program establishes realistic benchmarks for energy and environmental performance of existing buildings based on independently verified information. In recent years, the certification has evolved from identifying key best practices to providing common standards.

Read the “The Greenest Convention Centers in the World” here.

Greg Oates

Contributing Editor Greg Oates is a writer and editor based in New York City.

  • Wendi Shafir

    I’m curious why you did not include ISO 20121 standard for
    sustainable events management. How frequently is it used as compared to ISO 1400 or the APEX/ASTM standard for events?

    • Thank you for your question, Wendi. We asked Amanda Simons, Sustainable Events Program Manager for Greenview, which published the Green Venue Report, to answer your question. Here is her reply:

      “The certifications listed are for buildings and event venues, not specific for the events industry per se. For the Green Venue Report, we did include ISO 20121 as an answer choice for convention center sustainability certifications. Of responding centers, only 4 percent were certified ISO 20121, compared to the 21 percent ISO 14001 certified.

      “ISO14001 focuses on the environmental management system under the direct control of the venue and it’s been around longer than ISO 20121, which may be why more venues are certified against it. Also, it is most likely easier, or that is at least the perception, for venues (the focus of our study) to re-certify than working to obtain an additional certification.”

      ISO 20121 is focused on sustainability management for events, and while venues are an integral part of the event supply chain, they exist to house events, there are steps in the ISO 20121 process that may prove more challenging for a venue to manage compared to 14001. ISO 20121 works very well when driven by event organizers, working to get entire event supply chain aligned and certified.”