Orange County Convention Center Celebrates Earth Week By Spotlighting Progressive Sustainability Initiatives

April 19, 2023

At a time when the meetings and events industry is becoming increasingly focused on green initiatives and conservation, with sustainability now a top priority for many event groups, a number of large U.S. convention centers are accelerating the adoption and development of sustainable practices to lessen their environmental impact and that of the events they host. Case in point: the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) in Orlando, Fla., which has been consistently and continuously working to pioneer stewardship that models how large venues can contribute to safer, more efficient environments. 

To highlight how it is leading the way in this arena, the facility hosted a special Earth Week event on April 17 in partnership with the Orange County Government to showcase its premier sustainability initiatives and green meeting practices.

The event gave Orange County employees the opportunity to interact with various departments, vendors and partners to learn more about sustainable practices and businesses in the community, including the Orange County Environmental Protection Division, Orange County Mosquito Control, Orange County Utilities Department, O-Town Compost, Urban Smart Farms, Honey Frames, Sodexo Live!, UF/IFAS, Grainger and OCCC Sustainability Team.

OCCC Earth Week Event

Additionally, Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings and Orange County District 6 Commissioner Mike Scott were in attendance to provide a summary of the County and the center’s progressive programs and emphasize the critical role each department plays in making the region a more environmentally safe and resilient place to live and do business.

“The Orange County Convention Center is a tremendous leader in green meeting initiatives,” Demings said. “Together with Orange County Government, the responsible management and conservation of our natural resources ensures we maintain a clean and healthy environment to live, work and raise a family. I am very proud of the convention center’s contributions toward making our county more sustainable for both our residents and our visitors.”

Boasting one of the largest-scale venue sustainability programs in the U.S., the OCCC is one of the largest LEED Gold-certified convention centers in North America. Its innovative strategies run the gamut of green, from growing and harvesting more than 44,000 fresh, non-GMO plants directly from the OCCC’s Center-to-Table Gardens, to supporting natural energy by maintaining the largest municipal solar array in the southeast U.S., to extensive waste reduction, water efficiency, food donation and composting practices.

OCCC farm

According to OCCC officials, one of the OCCC’s main priorities is its charitable contributions to the Central Florida community via partnerships with several of the region’s non-profit organizations. 

For example, in fiscal year 2021-2022, nearly 23,000 pounds of leftover event furniture, lighting fixtures and office and art supplies valued at more than $37,000 were donated to local organizations, including A Gift for Teaching, West Orange Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House, Osceola County Public Schools and Orange County Public Schools. The OCCC’s clients also collectively contributed more than 222,000 pounds in food donations to local non-profits.

“Sustainability is absolutely essential in the meetings and events industry, and for years, it has been of top importance to our center,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “The OCCC sets the standard for what green meetings should look like in the current state of the industry, and we are grateful to our clients for helping us achieve our social responsibility goals.”

Group photo caption: Orange County Convention Center Executive Director Mark Tester; Orange County Chief Sustainability and Resilience Officer Carrie Black; Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings; Sodexo Live! Corporate Director of Sustainability Molly Crouch; and Orange County District 6 Commissioner Mike Scott gather to celebrate Earth Week at the Orange County Convention Center.


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