SB19.jpg
June 18, 2019

Thought Leaders Converge in Cobo Center to Foster a Sustainable Society

Cobo Center had an exhilarating few days in early June when thought leaders from corporations around the world gathered to move closer toward a circular global economy at the Sustainable Brands Detroit 2019 (SB19Detroit) conference.

It is the second time Cobo Center has hosted the event.  The first time was in 2017.

Sustainable Brands is an association of many of the world's largest businesses that are invested in meeting social and environmental challenges as an essential driver of brand innovation, value creation and positive impact.

Sustainable Brands 2019 at Cobo Center was the first zero waste event for the venue, a real milestone for Cobo's Green Committee. Established in 2011, the Green Committee began with a Green Venues Michigan certification from the state of Michigan, and went on to achieve the Event Industry Council's ASTM/APEX certification in 2015. It was the ninth U.S. venue to do so.

"Cobo Center's commitment to sustainability and reducing its environmental impact was an important factor in why we wanted to bring our global event to Detroit," said David Fiss, director of business development, partnerships and event strategy for Sustainable Brands.

 

SB1.jpg

"The Green Committee in Cobo Center has been a full team effort since 2011, when no waste was being diverted from the facility," said Claude Molinari, Cobo Center general manager. "Every year we enhance the program fueled by the passion and creativity of the team. This is our first conference where the team achieved 100 percent waste diversion, but it will not be the last."

To launch the SB19Detroit event, the Events Industry Council's Director of Industry Advancement,  Mariela McIlwraith, conducted a Sustainable Event Professional Certificate (SEPC) workshop for meeting planners. It was the second time the workshop was held in Cobo Center. Last year, Cobo hosted the first SEPC workshop in Michigan.

SB2.jpg

Other SB19Detroit workshops and conference tracks led 3000 attendees through presentations and conversations designed to give them the tools needed to reposition their organizations for success.

Timberland activated employees, consumers, business partners and community members to Detroit's urban green spaces to get their hands dirty and enhance or improve some of the city's outdoor spaces. One of those was the Lincoln Street Art Park, an outdoor community learning space created by the local nonprofit Green Living Science.

The CEO and CMO of Causegear led breakout sessions to encourage a "car-centric" approach to manufacturing, focusing on ethical labor rules, upcycled manufacturing materials and sustainable plant operations. Executives from Lear, Dell, Scientific American, Nestle, HP, Herman Miller and other brands led workshops on tackling plastic pollution. Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo and TerraCycle discussed the future of packaging and creating a resuable packaging scheme.

SB19-2.jpg

Lonely Whale and Finn Partners Detroit, and Parjana Distribution, joined the Cleveland Water Alliance and Detroitisit in a call for innovation on the future of sustainable water management. Stok Cold Brew Coffee, International Living Future Institute and Google facilitated workshops on how brands are leveraging regenerative principles to scale the living building challenge and realize a circular economy. Reps from Target, Procter & Gamble and National Geographic presented a toolkit to shape culture and behavior toward sustainable lifestyles.

"We are always thrilled to host this conference in Detroit," said Molinari. "Just as Sustainable Brands is working to inspire, engage and equip today's business and brand leaders to prosper in a sustainable future, we hope Cobo Center's focus on sustainability will lead the way to a better future for the convention industry and for Detroit."