CSR/Sustainability News & Views...
Bee Sustainable: Levy Restaurants, Cleveland Convention Center Start Honeybee Colonies
Levy Restaurants, the exclusive food and beverage provider for the Cuyahoga County-owned Global Center for Health Innovation and the Cleveland Convention Center, has teamed up with SMG to start two colonies of honeybees to produce honey for Convention Center recipes.
This sustainable project includes colonies of bees that will produce anywhere from 40 to 60 pounds of honey per hive. In addition, the bees will travel up to eight miles from the Convention Center to pollinate plants and flowers in the surrounding area. Levy and SMG plan to utilize the honey as part of site visit packages, honey-infused recipes, and VIP client giveaways.
“We have learned that the national honey bee population is in jeopardy and last winter, nearly one-third of all honey bee colonies were reported to have died,” said Mark Leahy, General Manager, Global Center for Health Innovation and the Cleveland Convention Center. “Honeybee colonies provide a vital component in the food chain and this represents our initiative to create a sustainable honey bee population onsite that can produce honey for our Levy Restaurants kitchen in the facility and pollenate plants and crops in the area. Best of all, its plain ol’ fun!”
Several members of the Levy Restaurants team attended bee keeping classes over the late winter of 2013-2014 through Northeast Ohio area park districts and nurseries to learn the basics of beekeeping.
In addition, SMG/Cleveland Convention Center building facility engineer Dave Benedict is an avid beekeeper, providing on-site guidance and consultation to the Levy chef staff. Benedict is a trustee with the Greater Cleveland Beekeepers Association, an organization dedicated to educating beekeepers, promoting good bee keeping practices, and informing the general public about the current plight of the honeybee population.
“We are pursuing a Gold level – LEED certification and this initiative like many others within the Complex represents our commitment to sustainability,” said Leahy.
On April 29, 2014 Levy Restaurant Chefs Matt Del Regno and Angela Howard drove to Queen Right Colonies in Spencer, Ohio and returned to the Convention Center with 16,000 bees that had been shipped to Ohio from California. Levy staff performed the “Bee Dump,” moving the bees into their new bee hives.
Located on the north end of the Convention Center, just beyond the glass façade in the Grand Ballroom, the East Bee Hive houses Italian Bees and the West Bee Hive is home to Carniolan Bees.
Five Green Meeting Myths: Busted!
Association meeting planners conduct a “Sustainability Smackdown” to bury five myths during ASAE Springtime Expo
Green meetings have been popular for years, but a few people still seem to need convincing that sustainability is smart business.
Enter the ASAE Convene Green Alliance (CGA), which hosted a “Sustainability Smackdown: Mythbusting for Green Meeting Skeptics and Procrastinators” at the May 15 ASAE Springtime Expo at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.
Seeded with heckling actors, the session tackled five common myths about green meetings and--led by CGA Director Kristin Clarke--featured “mythbusters” Bridget Chisholm, conference director of the International Leadership Association, and Cheryl Wallen, meeting planner for the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. The speakers shared a gavel and compelling arguments to show how any organization can take advantage of green meeting practices to generate valuable ROI.
"Created in a funky format, this fun session sought to kill outdated green meeting assumptions related to areas such as budgeting, workloads, actual impact analysis, and attendee attitudes," Clarke says. "I still hear such excuses used by meeting planners who are new to the industry or who have not kept up enough in their professional field to realize that sustainability is no longer a trend but a constant. They don’t understand or they underestimate just how robust and positive the ROI from a good sustainable meeting strategy can be.”
Bridget Chisholm (left), conference director of the International Leadership Association; Kristin Clarke (center), director, ASAE Convene Green Alliance; and Cheryl Wallen (right), meeting planner for the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, shot down five green meeting myths in a special education session held at the ASAE Springtime & Expo.
Myth #1: Green meetings cost more.
Chisholm busted this myth by asking, “What are we concerned about? What costs so much? If it was 1984, maybe cost would be a deal breaker. But it’s 2014! It doesn’t cost any more to use a LEED-certified facility or sustainable lanyards. And what is more expensive about serving locally crafted beer or wine? Even tomatoes grown locally cost the same or are cheaper and often are much better-tasting than tomatoes grown elsewhere. Also, tote bags with recycled content might have cost more 10 years ago but not today. People always assume there is a green premium, but that’s generally not true anymore. You need to ask.”
Clarke, who was sharing results of a 2013 CGA survey on association involvement in green meetings, also suggested looking at the total bottom line rather than line-by-line. She noted that adjustments can be made to even out expenses such as offsetting slightly higher prices for organic food against cost savings of, say, switching from plastic water bottles to water stations or sponsored reusable bottles.
Another tip she mentioned is to work with the food and beverage department well in advance of a meeting to leverage strong relationships between the chef and local farmers and negotiate better food pricing, identify what’s in season and is therefore cheaper, and ensure access to sustainable ingredients.
Myth #2: Green meetings are a hassle because sustainability decisions add to my workload.
Wallen and other meeting planners have found that working with local partners can save time and easily tap local expertise on such issues as recycling or composting regulations and community service opportunities while offering solutions that will be popular with members who increasingly expect or ask for sustainable events.
“The hospitality community of hotels, convention centers, and other vendors that support meetings already has taken much of the work and expense out of greening conferences by pioneering innovations and boosting access to eco-friendly operations and opportunities. Increasingly, they get it—and so do associations. It’s a learning curve for everyone, but those on the ground are usually very knowledgeable and eager to help,” said Clarke.
Myth #3: My attendees/vendors/exhibitors don’t care about green meetings.
Wallen busted this myth by noting, “My members don’t give me a choice about green meetings. When you have ‘wild places’ in your mission statement, you have to pay attention to the environment.”
She cited studies that show “people do care. Seventy-five percent of the public recycles, so your attendees are recycling at home and/or at the office. Why would your conference be any different? Our members will hold onto a piece of paper until they find a recycling bin to put it in. It’s also just the right thing to do. Surveys of the impact of waste on the environment demonstrate that. We have a green mission logo next to everything we do that is green.”
According to the CGA survey, 64 percent of CGA members and ASAE meeting professionals reported that sustainability is fairly to critically important to their booking decisions, so these leaders clearly do “care” that they reflect the public’s greener attitudes and obtain the maximum ROI from doing so.
Myth #4: Our meetings are small, so we can’t make an impact with green meetings.
“You don’t think you are able to create change when you are small, but those collective asks across the country are making a difference,” Chisholm said. “How did LEED certification get started? People asked for it. Even small meetings can boost the local economy and the livelihoods of local farmers.”
“Small meetings are the fastest-growing segment of the meetings industry,” Clarke noted. “The impact when you add them all together becomes quite formidable.”
Myth #5: I don’t know much about green meetings.
“Talk to your convention and visitors’ center, convention center, hotel, and other local partners – they have plenty of information,” said Chisholm. “And you’ll find plenty of online resources.”
“You don’t have to go by any particular standards to green your meeting,” Clarke added. “But they can be helpful to use as simple checklists or goal-setting tools.”
Besides myth-busting, speakers also offered practical advice on getting started with green meetings.
“You don’t have to do everything,” said Clarke. “Once you take your first green meeting action and hopefully track what you are doing and its impact, it becomes easier for future meetings.
“Holding ‘paper-free’ and ‘paper-lite’ meetings are good first steps. The fear that people will object to this has generally not materialized. People are more digitally oriented and are more comfortable using meeting apps. Running a recycling program is also an easy thing to do. People are used to this and will appreciate having it.”
Holding meetings in facilities committed to sustainable meetings also is critical to making green meetings easy, creative, and cost-effective. “Choosing a sustainable venue is the top thing that planners want to do,” Clarke says. “Convene Green is always urging planners to ask about sustainability on their RFPs, something that about 85 percent of CGA members report doing.”
For more information on CGA, visit www.convenegreen.com. Membership is free to anyone who works at an association or nonprofit.
About the Convene Green Alliance
The ASAE Convene Green Alliance (CGA) is a free 1,100-member education and outreach community for meetings professionals dedicated to creating eco-friendly, socially beneficial meetings and events. To learn more, visit www.convenegreen.com.
ASAE is a membership organization representing more than 21,000 association executives and industry partners representing 10,000 organizations. Its members manage leading trade associations, individual membership societies and voluntary organizations across the United States and in nearly 50 countries around the world. For more information, visit www.asaecenter.org.
6 Simple Steps for Your Next Green Event
According to a 2011 study by MIT, sustainability is an ongoing agenda item for 70% of companies. Even companies like PepsiCo and Siemens are investing in sustainable solutions and programs in hopes of powering the future. And when corporations place a high value on being green, meeting planners must follow.
As our clients spend more resources than ever before on “going green,” meeting planners have added being green to their own agendas.
Luckily, being environmentally aware doesn’t have to be a burden. There are many little things that meeting planners, meeting facilities and meeting participants can do to make their events more sustainable. First, make sure you’ve established an eco-friendly meeting checklist.
Following this will often ensure that your green meeting is more cost-effective, efficient, and easier to implement than those that are not. In honor of Earth Month, we compiled a list of our favorite simple green meeting tips that you can use at your next green meeting or event.
Read more of this sponsored post by Q Center at eventmanagerblog.com.
Still printing that phone book for your conference?
Is it just me or are the phone books dropped on our doorsteps multiplying? Many moons ago, phone book deliveries were a once-a-year occurrence. Some people got pretty excited about it.
I can't help but wonder who's still advertising in that thing? Even more intriguing, who has that sales gig and what's their pitch? Which brings us to today's topic...
Read more from Donna Kastner