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Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre sets environmental benchmark for meetings industry

The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) has set an environmental benchmark for the industry, becoming the only convention and exhibition venue in Australia with both Green Globe and Waste Wise accreditation.

Green Globe is a worldwide environmental benchmarking certification and performance assessment program. Its rigorous assessment process looks at an organisation’s environmental output and measures its performance in energy and water consumption, waste recycling, and paper and chemical use, comparing it against established baseline and best practice levels.

In congratulating the MCEC on its achievement, Green Globe said the MCEC’s water consumption, waste sent to landfill, waste recycling and use of cleaning products are all above best practice level.

Waste Wise certification, which is managed by Sustainability Victoria, identifies environmental leaders in minimising waste and maximising the efficient use of resources.
MCEC chief executive Leigh Harry says the accreditations reflect the centre’s commitment to an environmentally sustainable business and industry.

“We have worked hard to ensure every aspect of our operation is conducted in an environmentally conscious manner, from the way we dispose of our waste, to our water use, use of energy and even the food we serve.”

Leigh says clients are also encouraged to conduct their events in a similar manner and are offered a number of environmental initiatives including ‘green power’ where equivalent power usage is purchased from a renewable energy source.  

MCEC’s successful waste management processes have led to the centre hosting a tour of 12 representatives from various councils across Melbourne. The group was organised through the Melbourne Waste Management Group which co-ordinates Waste Wise certifications. These council representatives were looking at ways to assist them in their own Waste Wise processes when organising council events.

The MCEC’s extensive environmental program includes recycling organic food waste into compost; reducing light bulb wattage; installing new sensor taps; increasing water collection from its roof areas from 6000 to 25,000 litres for re-use in the gardens and for cleaning purposes; establishing an ‘M Green’ team to implement environmental initiatives at the MCEC; and creating a sustainable food menu using products supplied by local Victorian producers. 

The new Melbourne Convention Centre, which opens in 2009, has recently received a leading environmental accolade, being awarded a ‘6 Star Green Star’ environmental rating, the first in the world for a convention centre.

The rating was awarded by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) under its Green Star – Convention Centre pilot tool for the convention centre’s innovative environmental design and operational features.

At the business event industry’s largest event, AIME 2008, in February this year, the centre also won the prestigious ‘Best Environmental Supplier Award’. The coveted AIME 2008 Awards recognise the best in the business.

The MCEC was presented the award for its efforts in ensuring AIME was a climate neutral event, in particular through its recycling, which this year is expected to reduce the amount of timber products disposed to landfill by 50%.