GBTA Convention 2019 - Sustainability Initiatives

Ways to be greener while attending GBTA Convention 2019



Public Transportation

Take public transportation to and from the convention center.

Go Wireless

Don't print - go wireless! Carry your mobile device and use our free wireless to save on paper.


Recycle your paper, plastic and glass in the receptacles in each meeting room/pre-function area.




As in years past, GBTA will implement green initiatives at Convention 2019. We will support these initiatives by:
  • Offering online registration and housing
  • Badges will be emailed for proofing prior to printing onsite which saves money and carbon emissions from postal delivery
  • Minimizing the use of paper; online service kits for exhibitors eliminating copies for exhibitors
  • Using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified materials for print pieces
  • Purchasing recycled materials to create signage and other products
  • Increasing use of digital signage and monitors
  • Increasing use of mobile app and distributing electronic handouts
  • Utilizing electronic mail for marketing/communication purposes
  • Contracting and working with green/sustainable facilities
  • Working with the caterer to utilize local products when possible and donate excess food or compost food/waste
  • Providing recycling bins at the Convention and recycling paper, badges, and other materials
  • Asking exhibitors to recycle any unused materials
  • Donating all unused convention bags to local charities/schools
  • Minimizing shuttle transportation from hotels to the convention center

McCormick Place Chicago

Committed to Sustainability through Partnership

McCormick Place is committed to initiatives designed to conserve energy, protect vital resources and promote ecologically-efficient policies and procedures. To achieve this goal:


  • McCormick Place works with service partners, customers and vendors to encourage sustainable efforts through education, defined expectations and example.
  • McCormick Place develops and incorporates into its operation procedures environmentally-friendly products, processes and practices that are cost-effective and consistent with the core services we provide.


McCormick Place Convention Center Environmental Policy

To ensure that all McCormick Place events utilize sustainable practices, we have committed to be a green facility and have prioritized green initiatives in the following six areas: Energy, Air Quality, Water, Procurement, Waste Management and Community Partners. 

Full Policy




Sustainability is more than just a corporate initiative for SAVOR…Chicago. It is a passion that touches every aspect of our operations and drives the way we do business. Not only do we practice sustainable operations, we are also committed to sharing our knowledge and experience with others in our industry and locally.

From creating the Midwest’s largest outdoor rooftop garden to sourcing certified sustainable coffee, increasing our recycling diversion rate and reducing waste, here are a few highlights of our commitment:

  • The Crown Jewel of SAVOR’s sustainability program is the rooftop garden atop the West Building. We developed our program to serve as a model to promote sustainable local agriculture, serve as a training ground for city residents interested in careers in urban agriculture and to represent on the McCormick Place world stage what can be done with a convention center roof space. No small plot with a few herbs and flowers, our 2.5 acre garden is the Midwest’s largest outdoor rooftop garden and produces seasonal harvest yields of up to 7,000 lbs. of farm-fresh plenty including tomatoes, kale, carrots, lettuce, hot and sweet peppers, beans and herbs. This hyper local produce is prepared in SAVOR…Chicago kitchens and served in McCormick Place catering and restaurant operations, including “Windy City Harvest” menu items served in the 23rd Street Cafe & Market.
  • Additionally, of the various plants we grow on the rooftop, 16 different varieties have been selected from the Slow Foods Arc of Taste to help drive awareness of the importance of Bio-Diversity, as well as to take advantage of the great flavor available from these currently neglected, but historically important, vegetables.
  • Working with BrickStone Brewery, a local brewer based in Bourbonnais, Illinois, we partnered in the creation of McCormick Place Everyday Ale, a Session Ale that is brewed in part with Cascade Hops grown on the rooftop. Launched at the prestigious Chicago Auto Show this popular craft beer is now widely available in the greater Chicago area as well as Northern Illinois.
  • In total 33% of all food purchased at McCormick Place is local, organic or environmentally preferred. This includes 80% of all seafood purchased being sustainable, all coffee served on McCormick Place campus is certified and we are the largest purchaser of Windy City Harvests Urban Farm vegetables and herbs.
  • We managed our Waste diversion program from 0% before SAVOR… Chicago was awarded the McCormick place contract to 63% last year. This significant improvement is thanks to many different waste reduction initiatives including creation of the proprietary Green Angels℠ post-consumer recycling and composting program, implementation of a rigorous back of the house waste segregation program, changes in packaging and bulk condiments, recycling all food grease to bio-diesel, adopting a cork re-harvesting program as well as other efforts.
  • SAVOR… makes the most of food that is still good to eat, but that may have resulted from show attendance number fluctuations. In 2017 we donated over 1,000 pounds of food to neighborhood charities including the Pacific Garden Mission. In total, more than 3 tons of food has been repurposed to folks that needed it the most since SAVOR… began its work at McCormick Place at the end of 2011.
  • Finally, as a company that is truly integrated into our McCormick Square community, the SAVOR…Chicago team spends hundreds of hours of their own time working with local organizations including the Illinois Restaurant Associations ProStart culinary education program for high school students, Ronald McDonald House, Eco Educators and others.

Our commitment to being the Sustainable Local Company is constant and ongoing. Some of the awards recognizing our efforts and accomplishments include:

  • Green Seal™ Standard GS-55 Certification based on purchase of sustainably-sourced food, waste minimization, use of verified environmentally-preferable products and conservation of energy and water
  • International APEX certification
  • Green Meetings Industry Council certification
  • Recognized by the EPA 4 times in the National ‘Sustainable Materials Management Food Recovery Challenge’
  • Received the Illinois Governor’s Award for Sustainability
  • Awarded the Sara Rowe ProStart Company of the Year