The Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre’s Green Team, a group made up of team members from across the Centre, have helped make GCCEC one of the first Australian convention centres to achieve and consistently maintain Platinum status for its sustainability measures.
From the beginning, sustainability has been at the core of GCCEC. The Centre is a regional leader across its sustainability practices, and works daily to both maintain and progress its initiatives.
“Sustainability is part of our culture,” GCCEC General Manager Adrienne Reading says. “Having the opportunity to operate a facility of this size and host mass gatherings from all over the world, it was really important that we focused our attention on all the aspects of reducing our carbon footprint and measuring that success from day one.
“In the early days, we started with simple initiatives like introducing recycling bins, separating our waste and recyclables and changing the materials we used for meetings held at the Centre. From there, we’ve adapted – not only from an operational point of view, but by taking the conversation back to the very beginning of our processes.
“We now talk with event organisers about the importance of sustainability to us, and what our expectations for events held here are. We’ve developed a Green Events Checklist that we go through with clients to ensure ways to reduce their carbon footprint have been identified. This creates a true partnership between us and our clients, working towards sustainability together.”
The Green Team
One major initiative that GCCEC undertakes is its Green Team. Led by Assistant Facilities Manager Jamie Tonkin, this is a group from different departments who meet regularly to discuss the Centre’s environmental program.
“In my role, I work closely with our partners to ensure we are a market leader in this area,” Jamie says. “We have a few main drivers with regards to sustainability, including energy, water and waste.
“Since we began this journey, we’ve implemented a number of initiatives throughout the Centre, including LED lighting systems, native planting in the gardens and recycled water systems.”
Garry Kindred, GCCEC Executive Chef, ensures the venue’s approach to sustainability is reflected in its busy kitchen.
“When catering for so many people throughout the year, we want to ensure we are being as sustainable as possible,” he says. “We have a range of measures in place to reduce our waste, including making sure our packaging is all compostable, working with local produce where possible and eliminating any waste coming into the Centre by purchasing it peeled and ready to go.”
A recognised leader in this field, GCCEC has worked with EarthCheck, the world’s leading scientific environmental certification and benchmarking program, for the last 13 years.
“We chose to partner with EarthCheck as a company that is globally recognised for sustainability,” Adrienne Reading says. “EarthCheck’s strategy is all about building sustainability into our culture, rather than providing us with a one-off project that receives merits and awards.
“EarthCheck believes in the same principles that we do. We are at a Platinum level, and are proud to have been one of the first convention centres in Australia to gain that accreditation.
“When we have an event at GCCEC, it has a flow-on effect for all areas in the region. We provide a forum that facilitates opportunities across the whole city, and I would like to think that we are part of a much bigger sustainability movement for the Gold Coast.”
Stewart Moore, Founder and CEO of EarthCheck, recognises the great work that GCCEC does in the sustainability space.
“GCCEC is one of the leading operators in the Asia-Pacific region and has been recognised as a leader on the Gold Coast,” he says. “One of the hallmarks of the Centre's success is their recognition, right from day one, of the need to address environmental management and sustainability.
“You can have the best plans, but the hard yards, the heavy lifting, is all about your staff. GCCEC demonstrates that passion with their Green Team, with an excellent coordinator in Jamie Tonkin. Having staff who have ownership of and engagement with sustainability programs is critically important to the outcomes of the entire Centre, and rubs off on all those who partner with GCCEC.
“Like all key centres, you’d expect them to be addressing water, waste and energy, but some of the things they do very well are the simple and practical things. They provide Green Event Checklists for events both big and small; their landscaping uses grey water; and they’ve been able to reduce their food waste and support a range of charitable organisations.
“The bigger equation is not only the opportunity to help the whole region to understand the need to embrace the carbon economy, but understanding the need to build resilience at a community level too.
“Sustainability is about continuous action. We are looking forward to working with the team to maintain the successes they've achieved and the performance since opening The Centre.”
Learn more about the Centre’s sustainability initiatives below: