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Greenbuild Blog

Three Frameworks Greenbuild Uses to Achieve a Fully Sustainable Event

By Nick Vener

July 19, 2023

The events industry does not have the best reputation when it comes to sustainability, especially for a tradeshow that moves locations every year.

With all of the travel, combined with the energy, water, waste, and excess materials, the carbon footprint from the events industry can get overwhelming. Thankfully, events like Greenbuild are paving the way for change in the conference and tradeshow industry to create opportunities to host events nationwide while having a much friendlier impact on the communities, social issues, and the environment. 

Last year was a significant year in sustainability accomplishments for Greenbuild, including:

#1. EIC Platinum Certification

The Events Industry Council has announced that the Greenbuild International Conference & Expo has achieved Platinum Level certification to the EIC Sustainable Event Standards. Learn more.

About EIC:

The EIC Sustainable Event Standards are specific environmental and social responsibility standards within the events industry. Created by the EIC Sustainability Committee in partnership with industry professionals and leading sustainability practitioners, the requirements provide event planners and suppliers with prescriptive actions for producing and delivering sustainable events. 

The standard specifies performance criteria in organizational management, marketing, communications and engagement, climate action, water management, materials and circularity, supply chain management, diversity, equity and inclusion, accessibility, and social impact. The Event Organizer standard is one of seven comprehensive standards for environmentally sustainable meetings.

#2. TRUE Certification

Greenbuild 2022 in San Francisco earned TRUE Gold Certification, representing that the event is leading the way in minimizing waste output, becoming more resource efficient, and environmentally responsible.

About TRUE:

TRUE is a whole system's approach to changing how materials flow through society, resulting in no waste. TRUE encourages adopting sustainable resource management and waste reduction practices that contribute to positive environmental, health, and economic outcomes.

TRUE supports the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused and promotes processes that consider the entire lifecycle of products used at an event. With TRUE, your facility can demonstrate to the world what you're doing to minimize your waste output. More details are here.

#3. Certified Carbon Neutral Event

 While it’s challenging to eliminate all emissions from running an event, for the past 20 years, Greenbuild has purchased certified carbon offsets to compensate for those unavoidable emissions that we are looking to reduce. Greenbuild 2022 achieved the internationally recognized and independently developed CarbonNeutral® Event certification, signifying the decisive steps to address the full greenhouse gas impact of the event.

About Carbon Neutral Event Certification:

First developed and published in 2002, The Protocol is revised and updated annually to reflect developments in climate science, international policy, standards, and business practice. It is an open-source standard and guide developed for business by business that draws together leading independent standards for greenhouse gas accounting into a practical guide to carbon neutrality.

Carbon offsetting is when you compensate for the carbon emissions by paying to support a carbon-saving project elsewhere of an equivalent value. These purchases may fund initiatives that help others to reduce their carbon use or avoid generating emissions or projects that help remove carbon dioxide from the environment.

  • Learn more about Carbon Neutral Event Certification
  • Learn more about Informa’s Carbon Offsetting  

In addition to the above frameworks, each year Greenbuild releases an in-depth sustainability report accounting for GHG emissions, water usage, and event waste to measure the entire carbon footprint of the event. Therefore, the Greenbuild team can identify areas of improvement each year and strengthen the event's sustainability performance. You can view all of Greenbuild's achievements and performance metrics in the 2022 Sustainability Report here.  

Greenbuild Conference and Expo started 20 years ago. Even back in 2002, sustainability was a pillar in the event's design, production, and content. Ten years ago, San Francisco was the host of Greenbuild, where we focused efforts of the event to be sustainable by building the main stage from a salvaged greenhouse, choosing service ware for all certified food and beverage functions compostable, and launching the first Women in Green event.

These three sustainability achievements provide a strong foundation for creating and accomplishing a fully sustainable event that not only has a minimal impact on the environment but also creates a positive impact on the communities where it is hosted. The first step toward making your event sustainable is to take a close look at the event operations, see where you can find quick wins, and work to build out your event's sustainability report.

Aside from Greenbuild's progress in paving the way for sustainability in the events industry, Greenbuild was also announced as one of the fastest-growing tradeshows in the United States: 

Greenbuild wins a Fastest 50 Award. Greenbuild was ranked as one of the fastest-growing shows in the United States and was honored at this year's Trade Show Executive's Fastest 50 Awards & Summit. Greenbuild secured awards in three categories.

  • Fastest 50 – By Net Square Feet of Exhibit Space
  • Fastest 50 – By Exhibiting Companies
  • Fastest 50 – By Total Attendance

View the winners here.

About the Author

Nick Vener is a Marketing Manager for the Greenbuild International Conference + Expo. He focuses on digital and content marketing for Greenbuild, concentrating on sustainability and green building space.