Green-Meetings Coalition Earns Nod for Political Convention Work

Green-Meetings Coalition Earns Nod for Political Convention Work

The nonprofit Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Conventions (CERC) has received the 2005 Environmentally Responsible Meetings Award for its work to implement environmentally sensitive practices at the 2004 U.S. Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

The award was made by IMEX (the international meetings and incentive travel industry conference), the International Hotels Environment Initiative, and the Green Meeting Industry Council. The award recognizes environmental excellence and innovation within the meeting industry, and represents the highest accolades for environmental responsibilities among meeting professionals.

"[CERC's] contribution, in significantly reducing the environmental impacts of the Republican and Democratic Conventions in the autumn of 2004, serves as a shining example of the way in which meeting planners can incorporate such positive policies into their events," said IMEX Chairman Ray Bloom.

Some of the 25 projects carried out by CERC and its partners at the conventions included:
  • Renewable energy - purchased and acquired from wind farms, a small-scale hydroelectric dam, and a landfill gas facility to offset power usage at Boston's Fleet Center and New York's Madison Square Garden.

  • Clean energy - A 250-kilowatt fuel cell provided much of the power for the media pavilion in Boston. Fuel cells emit only a small fraction of the pollution emitted by standard generators.

  • Carbon emission offsets - 122,100 greenhouse gas credits were acquired to offset carbon emissions and air pollution resulting from travel by convention-goers from their home states to and from Boston and New York.

  • Construction Recycling - 88% of the 116 tons of materials used to prepare the Fleet Center for the Democratic Convention were reused in other Boston-area buildings or recycled.

  • Waste Paper Recycling – 1.3 tons of political posters, waste paper, and cardboard were recycled and converted into commemorative posters distributed to convention-goers on the last day of the Democratic Convention.

  • Fuel-efficient buses – General Motors sent eight hybrid buses to each convention. These low emission vehicles are much more fuel efficient than standard diesel buses.

  • Idling-engines initiative – The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection trained Peter Pan Bus Lines drivers to adhere to the Massachusetts anti-idling law, reducing emissions and increasing fuel-efficiency.

  • Local food – Event planners served food produced in Massachusetts and New York at 22 functions, including the 15,000-person media party in Boston. Use of local food supports local farms while reducing emissions generated in transporting non-local food.

  • Pedestrian travel – CERC and WalkBoston produced Walk to the DNC, led by former Governor and 1988 presidential nominee Michael Dukakis. The event enabled many delegates to walk to the Fleet Center rather than take motor vehicles. It demonstrated the value of walking as a means of transportation, and portrayed the advantage of pedestrian-friendly planning and policy.

  • Public education – CERC educated delegates and the general public about environmental best practices by securing 98 articles in publications, television, and radio shows; hosting seven educational events for delegates; holding a green hotels seminar to encourage environmental practices in the local lodging industry; making 25 public presentations; and producing an educational Web site.
Award applications were judged on the following criteria: minimizing environmental impacts (energy, air and water quality, water conservation, waste minimization, environmental purchasing), economic indicators, commitment to change, commitment to community, commitment to conservation.