Friday, February 12, 2010

Vancouver goes for Gold, wins Platinum

In our February issue, Convene wrote about the historic inclusion of Canada’s First Nations as hosts of the Games. The city has made history again: this week, the Vancouver Convention Centre -- site of the International Media Centre where 10,000+ media will be located during the Games -- became the first convention center in the world to earn the LEED Platinum Rating.

Sustainability will be one of the legacies of the games, said Rick Antonson, president and CEO of Tourism Vancouver “There is no pride in being part of an event that creates immense clutter and garbage when massive portions of it could be recycled or not created in the first place,” he said.

“Conferences and events have a long history of leaving this downside, and leadership in the convention and meetings businesses in more recent years has rightly taken to the task of reversing that damage. Staging something like the Olympics requires more that a philosophy of environmental responsibility; it requires action.”

In Vancouver, that includes a recycling ethos that addresses everything from home garbage pickup to every hotel room. And its new (now platinum) convention centre, where every aspect of its construction, from its living roof to its use of recycled rain water has been considered from the viewpoint of sustainability.

The city also has reduced its corporate emissions for its own operations and facilities by an impressive 33 per cent below 1990 levels – which is 13 percent more than it had targeted. The city of Vancouver aims to be carbon neutral in its own operations and facilities by 2012 and is establishing 2,010 new garden plots as a legacy of the Games.

None of the athletes gathering in Vancouver trained to win a bronze medal — and neither has the city, Antonson added. When the Games leave town “what we will have left will be our reputation,” he said. “Every aspect of what we do, every service -- from taxis to restaurants, from retail to volunteers -- needs to be of the gold standard.”

No comments: