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Philadelphia Convention Center and city hall at daytime.

Committed to Innovation and Sustainability

Date January 10, 2024

Committed to Innovation and Sustainability

Philadelphia Convention Center and city hall at daytime.

Philadelphia is one of the nation’s leading centers for innovation and sustainability and is undergoing an unprecedented development boom. This has been driven by the city’s tech, educational and medical institutions, and a flourishing life science sector.

Innovation in Philadelphia

Investor enthusiasm has been increasing rapidly due to breakthrough research, deliverables in the cell and gene therapy, and connected health. Amicus Therapeutics has opened a 75,000-square-foot Global Research and Gene Therapy Center of Excellence. Penn Medicine is leading the world in immunotherapy research with the first gene therapy approved by the FDA, CAR-T Cell Therapy.

As a hub for innovation, Philadelphia’s commitment to sustainability is evident. A 2021, report by Saoradh Enterprise Partners ranked Philadelphia as “one of the top clean technology hubs in the country.” Philadelphia has a growing population of startups with a focus on sustainability and Philadelphia Energy Authority, The Energy Co-op and Inspire Clean Energy all boast clean energy options in the city.

Prioritizing Sustainability

Sustainability efforts are in play across the Philadelphia tourism industry. From the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability to Philadelphia International Airport to local businesses committed to sourcing responsibly, Philadelphia continues to prioritize sustainability. And that’s important for event marketers. Conventions can have a major footprint on a host city. Our sales and services team can help event producers integrate sustainability into their meetings and events.

The exterior of the PCC at dusk.

Pennsylvania Convention Center

In partnership with the City of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Convention Center is committed to reducing costs, using electricity and water efficiently, and exceeding the expectations of the organizations that choose to host their events and meetings there. Time and time again, the Center has met the industry standards of sustainability. For over 10 years, the Center has been a LEED Gold Certified building. They strive to improve efficiency, lower carbon emissions, and create a healthier environment for visitors. The Center has also achieved GBAC STAR accreditation for the last two years for being a sustainable facility practicing the highest cleanliness standards. The Convention Center has also achieved the prestigious Gold Level certification to the Events Industry Council Sustainable Event Standards for venues. This highlights the Center’s leadership in sustainability and social responsibility within the meetings and events industry.

ASM Global operates the Convention Center with a focus on best practices for sustainability and green meetings. The facilities team documents the details of individual programs that address a comprehensive, all-encompassing Sustainability Program. Each program or plan strives to adhere to industry standards of what constitutes a “green meeting venue.” The team also reviews new technology with an eye for reducing the use of electricity, natural gas, and water. These changes have included retrofitting the entire facility with LED lighting; new energy management and HVAC systems; and the installation of low-flow faucets.

The Convention Center partners with local charities and organizations to repurpose products, furniture, and additional materials following a show. The Center connects event marketers to non-profit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, to donate excess furniture, and local hunger relief organization, Philabundance, for unused, packaged foods which are distributed to people and families facing food insecurity. With support from various conventions, the Center donated over 51,000 pounds of food products to Philabundance in 2021.

Natural Products Expo East recently partnered with the PA Convention Center to expand upon their positive community impact. They connected with local groups, surrounding hotels and restaurants following their convention.

Sustainable Businesses

Commitment to sustainability is not just a city and business commitment but embraced by our citizens and local business owners. Located in the heart of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Convention Center provides attendees with easy access to restaurants, attractions, and the city’s greenspace. Ever since William Penn designed Philadelphia to be a “Greene Country Towne,” squares, parks, and open spaces have been a benefit for residents and visitors alike. Attendees can walk, run, or bike through the city.

Enjoy craft beer from Pennsylvania’s first Certified B Corporation brewery, Triple Bottom Brewing Company. The Spring Arts brewery is powered by renewable energy and is a fair chance employer. They provide job opportunities to those who have overcome incarceration or homelessness. Newly opened Carbon Copy, Philadelphia’s first combined brewery and winery, is also committed to minimizing their carbon footprint. They focus on mindful waste management, utilizing renewable resources in production, and investing carbon offsets as the company grows.

Sustainable Restaurants

Many of Philadelphia’s restaurants are prioritizing sustainability and finding unique ways to do so. Judy Wicks, founder of Fair Food Philly and the Sustainable Business Network, started giving sustainability a voice when she opened the White Dog Café in 1983. She prioritized local farmers, fair trade, renewable energy, recycling, and composting while paying her employees a living wage. Chef Andrew Wood of Le Virtu — a South Philly restaurant dedicated to the cucina povera from Italy’s Abruzzo region — has been bringing in star ingredients from all over Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  The goal at Le Virtu is to partner with purveyors who care, specifically ones located within shouting distance of their lively kitchen.

James Beard Award winner Ellen Yin's restaurant Fork

James Beard Award winner Ellen Yin’s restaurant Fork

McGillin’s Olde Ale House — the oldest continuously operating tavern in Philadelphia — doubled down on its commitment to “zero waste” in 2013. Its green initiatives include switching to LED bulbs, grinding waste, recycling cardboard and glass, and replacing non-biodegradable trash. Led by James Beard winner Ellen Yin, Fork, the seasonally focused, contemporary American restaurant in Old City, has passionately highlighted the abundant offerings of the Mid-Atlantic region for nearly three decades. They demonstrate their commitment to sustainability by fermenting excess vegetables and composting leftovers to minimize food waste.

PHL Life Sciences

The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau helps event marketers plan a memorable and responsible event. Our team will help you tap into Philadelphia’s extensive medical, life sciences, and nursing communities through PHL Life Sciences, the first and only division of its kind in the U.S. Allow us to connect you to speakers, sponsors, and non-profit groups all while showcasing the best we have to offer your attendees from morning to night.

A city steeped in history with a commitment to the future of science and innovation, Philadelphia exudes a vibrant character and energy, creating an ideal location for your next meeting. Start planning to host your next event in Philadelphia.