iCompli Sustainability

Setting the Context: Leading by example

Project Quick Facts
Location: Toronto, Canada
Facility Name: Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Operator/ Management Company: Self-Managed
Certification Date: December 2013

For the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC), certifying the sustainability of their venue was a strategic step. It helped propel the venue towards one of its long-term goals: to “serve as a global green leader” within the events industry.

Located in Toronto, the economic engine of Canada, the MTCC is a large venue which hosts a diverse portfolio of events and meetings. Events taking place at the MTCC range from major national and international conventions, like the Canadian Auto Show, to much smaller corporate meetings. No event is too long or too short. MTCC hosts summits and tradeshows that may span a few weeks and meetings that may take place for a few hours.

More than ten years ago, the MTCC embarked on a path towards sustainable practices, which included creating programs to tackle the venue’s waste, energy, water and green building practices. The MTCC pioneered “Zero Waste Events” –a revolutionary move for the waste laden events and meetings industry. The MTCC’s zero waste events avoid adding materials to landfills by preventing, eliminating and recycling almost everything that would be generated.

But it was not enough to be an industry leader.

The MTCC took it to the next level by substantiating both their sustainability claims and programs. Beginning in 2013, the MTCC began the process to become certified in both LEED® and the ASTM/APEX Sustainable Meeting Standards for Venues, as Vivian Fleet, the MTCC’s Sustainability Officer found the two certification processes complemented each other. What’s more, the data gathering for LEED helped feed information needed to satisfy ASTM/APEX certification.

Execution: Formalizing policies for international credibility

While the MTCC had many programs in place, the ASTM/APEX standards guided the organization towards formalizing these processes into permanent operational policies and taking small steps like updating signage. The Standards allowed the MTCC to rework existing efforts into a cohesive and consistent approach to sustainability across all departments.

As the MTCC’s third party auditors, iCompli Sustainability was there every step of the way. We furnished the information needed to get started, provided clarity on the specifics of the Standards, and offered timely feedback to make sure the MTCC was on the right track. As soon as Vivian and her team at the MTCC were ready to submit documents, we were ready to receive and evaluate them, allowing MTCC to control the pace of submission and make it work for their goals and timeline.

After we received the documents, photos and all other data, we interviewed key staff at the MTCC to supplement the information they had submitted. This step was straightforward as the MTCC had been through a similar data gathering process as part of their LEED certification and were easily able to answer the auditor’s questions.

Because the ASTM certification was created specifically for the meetings and events industry, it is well suited for the conditions and daily operations of a venue. Vivian and the staff at the MTCC quickly noticed this difference in comparison to LEED, which is a more building-centric approach and looks for requirements like an Energy Star® rating. In contrast, the ASTM Standards are prescriptive and provide organizations with a checklist that can be worked through to achieve more sustainable practices.

Our assurance and follow up

iCompli auditors thoroughly reviewed the documentation that the MTCC provided and were able to reliably assure the MTCC’s compliance with the APEX/ASTM Venue Standard. To complete the certification we issued an official assurance letter, a management letter with recommendations for improvement, as well as electronic and print certificates. We also issued a press release to publicize the news of MTCC’s certification.

Since being certified we’ve checked back with the MTCC team to learn about the impact of getting certified as a Sustainable Venue. The MTCC was proud to report that they are using the details of their certification to differentiate their offering in RFPs for conferences, meetings and events, which request a sustainable venue and hold the APEX/ASTM Standards in high regard. Overall, staff at MTCC knew their venue was a perfect candidate for certification. As Vivian said, “More and more clients are asking for external verification of claimed sustainable practices, and the ASTM standard provides the perfect tool for this. Plus, you get to tell a great story, help the environment, and find efficiencies in your business’ operations.”

iCompli are proud to have helped facilitate the Metro Toronto Convention Centre’s certification and lead the way for other Canadian venues.