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Food for thought

Labour of love transforms trash to treasure

Posted on 19 June, 2015

If sustainability is the way of the future then the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition (GCCEC) has a bright future ahead, with the Centre unveiling their latest sustainability initiative at today’s This is Gold Coast 2015 Business Exchange.

In what has truly been a true labour of love, the GCCEC team have collaboratively designed and executed the Centre’s four metre by two metre trade stand almost entirely from repurposed materials.

The clever creation harnessed the talents of the GCCEC team whose commitment to sustainability earned them a place in the history books in 2013 as the first convention centre in the world to achieve EarthCheck Gold Certification and more recently, as the first EarthCheck Certified member to be verified against the EarthCheck Responsible Meetings and Events Standard.

GCCEC General Manager Adrienne Readings believed the latest initiative demonstrated the perfect synergy between her passionate team and their sustainable approach to business practices.

“Sustainability is not only one of the Centre’s core values, but is something which is ingrained into the corporate culture of the GCCEC,” Ms Readings said.

“We’re finding clients are becoming more aware of the environmental impacts created by their conventions and exhibitions.

“While upcycling is not a new concept, it’s something that has resurged of recent times and become a fascinating trend we’re seeing more and more of with our own clients.”

The idea was born when the Gold Coast icon undertook a host of improvements to its interior aesthetics, including the installation of more than 10,000 square metres of carpet across both levels.

“The prospect of utilising the leftover pallets, timber offcuts and old reinforcing mesh to highlight our sustainability credentials ignited significant interest from the team,” she added.

“While the stand may take on a more unique look than what some might generally associate with the Centre, it reinforces our key messaging in both the use of materials and the execution of the project.”

The sales team took charge of the project, overseeing the delivery and timeframes, while marketing orchestrated the design elements and the events team sourced local suppliers to assist with the final touches.

The real heroes came from the Centre’s property operations department though, who worked tirelessly in addition to their usual duties to bring the idea to life.

From the repurposed pallets that were stained and sanded to reflect the iconic boardwalk at the back of the property, to the photo frames that were repurposed from the GCCEC’s Centre of Christmas event, no detail was left unchecked.

The result has been a win-win for the Centre, attracting a plethora of interest and taking home the people's choice award for the most creative stand at today’s exhibition - a timely reminder that there are some things money can’t buy.

Fast facts:

The GCCEC continues to promote best practice and successfully integrates sustainability solutions into its planning and ongoing business operations.

A volunteer group of dedicated employees, the Project Green Committee, drive our environmental policy and maintain the Centre’s Environmental Management Plan that tracks and controls key areas of energy and water consumption and waste management.

  • The Centre crafts its menus from 85% locally-grown and sourced organic produce.
  • An on-site herb garden is grown and cared for by our Chefs to flavour our cuisine using fresh and local ingredients.
  • The GCCEC donates excess and packaged foods to Australian food-rescue charity OzHarvest, redistributing more than 2,500 meals in the first six months.
  • We recycle, reuse or compost 75% of our waste.
  • Our team have worked with local suppliers to change the way goods are being packaged and delivered, resulting in the majority of our suppliers now using cardboard boxes that are then recycled onsite.
  • The Centre uses Biopak’s environmentally sustainable packaging products and has installed Bottlecycler bottle and recyclable glass crushing machines throughout the venue. Every Bottlecycler bin filled saves 33KG of CO² emissions.
  • 100% of our cleaning and pesticide products used on-site are biodegradable.
  • The GCCEC has adopted the use of 100% recycled paper for all printers and faxes, with all printer and toner cartridges recycled through Australia Post and Planet Ark.
  • A partnership with Burleigh company, Boomerang Bags, enables the Centre to repurpose outdoor banners into shopping bags.
  • Light sensors installed throughout all toilets and storerooms, while 500 power-saving LED lights installed throughout the foyers reduced electricity usage from 85W to 48W.
  • The installation of external and stair tread LED lights cut electricity usage from 18W per unit to 3W per unit.
  • The Centre’s bathroom taps are fitted with flow restriction devices and water sensors to reduce water usage from approximately 30 litres to six litres per minute.
  • All GCCEC’s shower hoses have been retro fitted to reduce water flow from approximately 25 litres per minute to 9 litres per minute.
  • We also pride ourselves on the use of Class A recycled (non-potable) water for the landscape irrigation systems.

The GCCEC has continued to set the standard for sustainable event management since its inception more than a decade ago and is renowned for delivering sustainable excellence in the meeting and events industry.

What Our Clients Say

I have conducted two major formal dinners at GCCEC for approx 700 people each time, the more recent of these being held in March 2015. I am completely satisfied with all aspects of working with GCCEC and their performance in presenting our function. They were completely professional and were willing to do things exactly the way I wanted them done, even meeting some unusual requirements. When I requested to make layout changes only hours before the dinner the request was accommodated immediately and with professional ease. The dinner was an alternate drop three course full service meal with drinks package, and it was without a doubt the best formal dinner I have ever attended. I have managed many similar dinners in the past but this dinner achieved by far the best result, it was the easiest to organise and to then manage on the night. Our GCCEC functions manager was a competent and willing professional who achieved an absolutely flawless event. I am still trying to understand how the catering staff were able to prepare almost 700 perfectly cooked and presented meals and get them to the tables whilst still hot. An excellent event perfectly presented by cheerful and competent professional staff.

Bruce Schmidtchen
Chairman, 5RAR Assoc Inc 50th Anniversary Reunion Committee

We have held our major event, the Conference of Major Superannuation Funds (CMSF), at the GCCEC on six occasions since it opened in 2004. Through holding our event at the GCCEC we have established a terrific relationship with the venue. Each and every staff member works tirelessly to ensure that our event is run to the highest calibre. Any task, no matter how little or large is undertaken to ensure our expectations are met and our event is delivered successfully.

AIST Events Team

It’s the small things that make such a big difference. My organisation has held its conference annually at GCCEC since 2008, during which I’ve experienced unparalleled service. I continue to be amazed by the dedication, friendliness and professionalism of all staff – be it sales and event management to back of house and floor staff. They know my event inside and out, making the experience seamless. I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every conference I’ve held here!

Marika MacKenzie
Communications Manager, Optometry Queensland Northern Territory

You guys did it again! It is such a pleasure to work with a dedicated, proactive and friendly team. Your can-do attitude, your attention to detail and your willingness to try something new all help to make our lives easier and to keep our event fresh and interesting. Once again, the food was superb and the level of service provided by everyone at the centre was exceptional.

Julie Hood
Director Events Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association

There is no doubt that next time we need to be ‘creative’ on the Gold Coast; the GCCEC is the only venue we’d choose. No matter how difficult or unusual our demands prior to the event, nothing proved impossible for you and during the conference your professionalism and attention to detail ensured that everything ran without a hitch enabling us to focus properly on the job in hand. Last, but not least, the catering was superb!

Greg O’Neil
General Manager - Rural Merchandise CRT Rural Supplies