Sustainability Report | Greenbuild

Sustainability Report

Sustainability is the foundation of Greenbuild

Greenbuild is the only event genuinely dedicated to sustainability in the built environment, from the sessions we present to the products on the show floor to the way the event is produced.

NOW AVAILABLE: The 2018 Greenbuild Sustainability Report

Greenbuild Releases 2018 Sustainability Report

Hosted in one of America’s Greenest Cities, Greenbuild Continues to Set an Industry Standard for Events by Reaching 86% Diversion Rate 


Check out the Top Five Sustainability Stories from Greenbuild 2018 in Chicago, Illinois - showcasing some of the most successful sustainability initiatives from the event.

McCormick Place was located a few miles from most of the hotels in the Greenbuild room block. Knowing this would impact the show’s carbon footprint, Greenbuild partnered with ride-sharing operator LYFT to encourage event participants to share rides to and from the convention center and hotels.

LYFT offset all the carbon emissions for rides taken to and from McCormick Place for the duration of the conference. Attendees received a 5% discount on their fare to encourage use of LYFT. Almost 20% of Greenbuild attendees used the promo code. This partnership saved 20,162 pounds of carbon, or the equivalent of two passenger vehicles driven for one year. 

When Greenbuild comes to town, LEED-certified buildings and venues are front and center. With more than 840 LEED-certified buildings in Chicago – equaling 275.6 million sq.ft - choosing LEED spaces for Greenbuild events was a relatively easy task.

McCormick Place West was the largest newly-constructed facility in the country to be certified at the time of construction. The Field Museum, which hosted the Greenbuild Celebration, and Willis Tower, which hosted the Leadership Awards Reception, are both LEED Gold.

For the first time, a focused education session for event organizers, venues, and vendors was offered, featuring the Greenbuild sustainability team sharing info on how the sustainability side of the event is run.  Attendees with backgrounds in building operations, building management, event planning, waste management, and education joined the session, which offered one hour of Certified Meeting Professional continuing education.  

Greenbuild has a strong reputation for pushing the meeting and events industry to embrace sustainable planning and operations, and has won the IMEX-GMIG Award five times over. Educating planners, managers, venues, and vendors is just one way Greenbuild continues to move the needle for sustainability.

In an on-going effort to produce one of the most sustainable events in the country, the Greenbuild team consistently evaluates the materials used on-site to reduce the show’s overall impact on the environment. Straws are a single-use plastic and not easily recyclable; they often find their way to the landfill, or worse, into waterways.

Thanks to amazing efforts by Savor (the in-house caterer at McCormick Place), Greenbuild was able to remove plastic straws from all concession areas throughout the convention center. Even more impressive, through partnering with the in-house Starbucks at McCormick Place, Greenbuild eliminated straws for the duration of the event, and utilized their new lid for cold drinks which typically come with a straw. The hope is that this initiative helped raise awareness of single-use plastics and is a catalyst for change as Greenbuild participants return to their everyday lives.

Meat, cheese, and egg production are the largest carbon footprint culprits in Greenbuild’s menu planning. This year, for the first time, the International Summit, WaterBuild, Communities & Affordable Homes Summit, workshops, and Women in Green Power Lunch featured plated lunches that were 100% vegan – totaling 3,500 meals.

This initiative reduced Greenbuild’s carbon footprint by more than 9.35 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2 Eq). This equates to the amount of carbon dioxide produced charging 1.2 million smartphones.

Greenbuild Sustainability Objectives

  1. Move toward a Zero Waste Event
  2. Advance Stakeholder Education and Engagement
  3. Improve Sustainable Sourcing
  4. Improve Performance and Tracking Methods
  5. Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  6. Positively Impact Communities
  7. Lead the Event Industry Through the Advancement of Sustainable Event Management Initiatives

Waste Diversion Manager


Our 2018 Carbon Offset Projects

During registration for Greenbuild 2018, we asked that you contribute toward carbon offsets. Proceeds went toward University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the Clinton Landfill in Illinois, and wind RECs.


University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Campus Clean carbon credits allow U.S. colleges and universities leading their peers in emissions reductions to create credits and the ability to reinvest into further emissions reductions projects on campus. Carbon credits are generated from  Energy efficiency projects,  Energy conservation,  LEED certified buildings, and  Renewable energy installed at participating campuses

Clinton Landfill in Illinois

Landfill Gas capture carbon projects turn gabage into power capturing methane they release. They also benefit the local economy by creating jobs and adding renewable energy into the grid.  

100% wind RECs

Renewable energy credits (RECs) represent the intangible environmental and social benefits of renewable energy that go along with the physical electricity that is generated and delivered to the grid. These particular credits are generated from 100% wind projects to cover the kwh use during Greenbuild.


2019 Guide to Green Meetings

To help event organizers and event partners from venues and caterers to exhibitors and everyone in between, we’ve compiled and are pleased to release the first edition of Greenbuild’s Guide to Green Meetings. We hope that anyone can use these best practices to improve their sustainable event operations.