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Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important focus for manufacturing and supply-chain groups. It's evident in a wider breadth of programming that touches on earth-friendly responsibility and sustainability, as well as in the choice of destinations whose convention venues, hotels and environment make it easy for meeting planners to green their events.
The challenge of supporting sustainability in the manufacturing and supply-chain markets will have a prominent spot on the agenda at the MODEX 2020 exhibition and conference, scheduled at Atlanta's Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) from March 9-12, according to George Prest, CEO of the Material Handling Industry of America, the event sponsor. A Sustainability Theater, sponsored by the Reusable Packaging Association, will offer presentations and panel discussions centered on improving supply-chain performance while reducing environmental impact. Specific topics to be covered will include sustainable materials management, zero-waste supply chains, energy and resource conservation, reusable-packaging systems, asset-tracking technologies and public-policy developments.
Some seminar content will be specific to individual manufacturing segments. For example, one session, sponsored by Deloitte, will delve into sustainability in the food manufacturing and supply chain.
In a similar vein, the National Glass Association sponsored a GlassBuild America 2019 session at GWCC, where attendees learned how initiatives like New York City's Green New Deal might impact their work.
Another seminar explored the use of manufactured glass in biophilic design. Biophilic-designed buildings incorporate elements such as natural lighting and ventilation, natural landscape features, and materials like glass to create a healthier environment for occupants.
Meanwhile, the Greenbuild International Conference & Expo from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), also held at the GWCC in 2019 with a manufacturing contingent in attendance, offered multiple sessions pertaining to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). These sessions encompassed a LEED bootcamp and a seminar about the future of the designation. Programming at the conference also included sessions on the future of sustainability and creating healthy buildings, achieving green-building standards with sustainable coating systems, the manufacture and selection of healthy sustainable materials, and zero-waste concepts.
Industrial Pack, a two-day industrial-packaging event scheduled to run from April 1-2, 2020, at Atlanta's Cobb Galleria Centre, will include a new Reusable Pack Pavilion. The area will be dedicated to manufacturers of new products, alternatives to "everyday" products, and new materials that have been designed to be more environmentally friendly and sustainable. One of the event's conference tracks will feature seminars in the industry's environmental issues.
Facilities support green events
"For some groups, a destination that supports sustainability is as important as one that supports technology-intensive programming or other features," says Renee Jacobs, executive vice president of association management at McVeigh Global Meetings & Events.
Atlanta is ripe for hosting sustainable meetings. The city is more densely forested than other metro regions in the United States, with a tree coverage of 36 percent vs. the average of 27 percent, respectively. In fact, it has come to be known as the "city in the forest" because of its abundance of trees.
While Kermit the Frog has long sung that "it's not easy being green," that doesn't ring true for all groups coming to the city, when it comes to finding eco-friendly facilities in Atlanta. Some of these venues are LEED-certified, meaning they have been rated for their environmental performance according to a scale devised by the USGBC. With more than 4 million square feet of total space, the GWCC is ranks as the world's largest LEED Gold-certified facility of its kind. It is also one of the 15 largest LEED-certified buildings in the world.
Two of Atlanta's sports venues hold LEED certification, as well. Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which like the GWCC is situated on the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) Campus, has the distinction of being the first NFL and MLS stadium to earn LEED Platinum certification, and State Farm Arena (formerly Philips Arena) was the first NBA facility to achieve LEED for an existing facility.
In fact, events held at the GWCC, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, or anywhere on the GWCC Campus — including Centennial Olympic Park — have a built-in "sustainability factor" because of the proximity of hotel rooms, attractions and restaurants to these venues, allowing groups move about without arranging for a lot outside transportation. More than 12,000 hotel rooms lie within walking distance of the GWCC campus, as do some of the city's most popular attractions and acclaimed restaurants. The new headquarter hotel opening in 2022, the Signia Hilton Atlanta, will not only underscore the role Atlanta's position as a premiere destination for conventions, sports and entertainment events; it will also up the GWCC's "sustainability factor" by adding more more than 1,000 guest rooms and another 70,000 square feet of ancillary space to the compact campus.
Several hotel properties that partner with Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau — including the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Hilton Atlanta, Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center, Sheraton Atlanta and the Westin Peachtree Plaza — are ranked as TripAdvisor GreenLeaders properties, which are committed to following various environmentally friendly practices, such as recycling, serving local and/or organic food, and offering electric-car charging stations. Properties must apply for program membership and are ranked bronze, silver, gold or platinum, according to the number of sustainable measures they have implemented.
Atlanta is also home to two Green Key Global-rated hotels: the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead and the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. Promoted as "the leading standard for excellence in the field of environmental responsibility and sustainable operation within the tourism industry," the Green Key label represents a commitment by the properties that their premises adhere to strict criteria set by the Foundation for Environmental Education.
Additionally, many of Atlanta's convention hotels offer green-meetings packages with refillable water stations and bottles, linen-free tables, recycled-paper products, leftover-food donation, recycle bins and waste diversion. The GWCC itself is just as sustainable as the city's hotels, if not more so. Underscoring its LEED certification, the facility has in place a comprehensive waste-diversion program that encompasses recycling, composting, and provisions for food and materials recycling and reuse. GWCC is accessible via MARTA, Atlanta's public transportation system and offers charging stations for electric vehicles along with bicycle racks for cyclists.
On top of all this, Maynard Jackson Jr. International Terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is LEED Gold-certified, while the Georgia International Convention Center is the only such facility in the U.S. with a direct connection to an international airport (via MARTA's ATL SkyTrain). MARTA provides easy, reliable transportation to 38 rail stations in the city, while the Atlanta Streetcar transports passengers from the downtown entertainment and convention district to the east side of the city, stopping at other top attractions and neighborhoods. More than 600 buildings with more than 114 million square feet of space have committed to making sustainability improvements through the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge by conserving energy and showcasing their best strategies.
Resources and recognition
Moreover, when it comes to environmental resources that might be leveraged by manufacturing and supply-chain groups as well as others, Atlanta has a myriad of options. The city serves as headquarters of organizations such as the Captain Planet Foundation, Green Chamber of the South, EarthShare of Georgia, and chapters of the Green Meetings Industry Council and the U.S. Green Buildings Council-Georgia Zero Waste Zones. Atlanta's roster of environmental resources also includes, but is not limited to, the Coca-Cola Foundation, the Home Depot Foundation, and the Turner Foundation.
Recognition for its environmental friendliness and sustainability also sets Atlanta apart from the pack. For the past several years, including 2019, Atlanta has ranked number three in the Green Building Adoption Index, a study that highlights the growth of Energy Star- and LEED-certified spaces for the 30 largest U.S. markets. In 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency listed Atlanta as number four in its ranking of U.S. cities with the largest number of energy-efficient buildings that had earned its Energy Star certification the previous year. Ponce City Market, a 2.1-million-square-foot mixed-use redevelopment of a distribution-and-storage facility, won the Urban Land Institute Global Award for Excellence in 2016 and is LEED Gold-certified.
The Limitless Capabilities of Atlanta's Manufacturing Industry
From all over the country and world, meetings and conventions are hosted in Atlanta to share new solutions and advancements throughout the supply chain, manufacturing and automotive industries.
Adjacent to the airport you'll find 1.3 million square feet of cargo storage connected to expansive interstate and railway systems—accomplishing 2-day shipping to 80% of the consumer and commercial markets. Atlanta ranks in the top 20 cities for industry-related jobs with the third-lowest unionizations. Deloitte also named the city No. 2 in the nation for supply chain demand.
Atlanta also houses The Center of Innovation for Manufacturing and Georgia Tech; both offer facilities and advanced research in cutting-edge improvements to the industry. The wide-ranging manufactures consist of textiles, metals, food processing and equipment, making Atlanta the most diverse, successful, and effective host in the industry.
Discover an illuminated Atlanta: contact the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau today and begin the RFP process.