COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABILITY
The PNE is committed to improving its environmental footprint and in working to achieve the goals of the Greenest City Action Plan. In 2013, the PNE worked with an external sustainability consultant who identified a number of areas for the PNE to focus on in the coming years. A key area was waste management and, through strategic investment and dedicated effort, the PNE achieved significant improvement in waste diversion in 2014 and 2015.
In 2014, 65 new waste diversion stations were purchased to improve diversion and to introduce compost diversion for the first time in Playland, at the Fair and in the Pacific Coliseum. In 2015, another 22 stations were purchased to continue building on the success of the initial investment. The Fair also continued its policy that all food vendors on-site needed to use only compostable cutlery and serving dishes, which further reduced waste. During the Fair, we were able to divert 95.8 tonnes of organics, wood, brush, mixed plastics and cardboard, and 179.14 tonnes of animal waste and shavings from the agriculture department were collected and recycled. An important new partnership with our waste hauler has created solid back-of-house sorting processes for Fair and year round operations, and has developed reliable and consistent metrics that will support the overall goal of increasing our waste diversion to 75% by 2020.
The PNE held its second zero waste day on Vancity member day, on Thursday, September 3. On that day, we worked with Vancity staff, Green Chair volunteers and our waste-hauling partner to come as close as possible to zero waste. As well, we worked with Vancity to share the story of the PNE’s journey to zero waste. Through an interactive on-site display managed by Vancity, we were able to gather guest input on our plans and, through signage and blog posts, we were able to share our priorities and our vision with guests.
As well during the Fair, we showcased the 2015 PNE Prize Home which was a LEED Gold registered home. Each year, the builder, PNE and partners work together to showcase energy efficiency ideas to inspire improvements in the environmental footprint of those who tour the home. Where possible, the PNE Prize Home lottery also includes hybrids and other fuel efficient vehicles as prizes.
An exciting new initiative in 2015 was the introduction of the PNE Chef’s Garden. This was an initiative to begin on-site growing and harvesting of our own organic food that could be used by our catering and food and beverage departments. This also provided the opportunity to showcase and share our learning with staff and the community. In the first year of the project, the PNE’s Chef’s Garden contained 14 fruit trees, 10 blueberry planters, 10 raspberry planters and 4 strawberry planters. An additional 50 planters were planted with basil, beets, broccoli, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, chive, cucumbers, figs, grapes, hot peppers, lavender, mint, oregano, parsley, potatoes, rosemary, sage, thyme, tomatoes, watermelons, winter squash and zucchini. In total, over 500 pounds of food were harvested, with recipes and lessons learned shared on the PNE blog and through PNE social channels, and showcased in our agricultural programming during the Fair.
Each year, the PNE strives to improve its performance and to achieve sustainability in all areas of its business. From Playland and the Fair to year-round indoor and outdoor events, the PNE remains committed to improving its environmental footprint and to making sustainability investments a top priority. We look forward to sharing more progress in next year’s annual report.
The PNE also remains committed to the following initiatives that are currently in place.
- Marketing collateral continues to be printed on recycled paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, and marketing efforts continue to leverage web, mobile and email marketing initiatives to reduce paper use where possible.
- Human Resources staff utilize direct deposit and epost for payroll, and most recruiting is done using online resources, rather than paper.
- Old uniforms are donated to charitable organizations or are reused internally.
- Suppliers are encouraged to provide environmentally preferred green, recycled and energy-efficient products wherever possible.
- Throughout the organization, staff continue to recycle paper, bottles, cans, plastics and discarded computer parts. Staff are encouraged to consider reusable office supplies, hold paper-free meetings, print only two-sided pages and turn off computers at night
- The PNE continues to be an active participant in the Green Sports Alliance.
- The organization continues to utilize more natural elements in landscaping and theming throughout the site.
EVENT MANAGEMENT INITIATIVES
- Beer cup recycling programs remain in place at the Pacific Coliseum and for all other events.
- Agriculture in the City displays promoted local and sustainable agricultural practices to guests.
- Retail ticketing programs use a recyclable styrene paper product for gift cards, rather than PVC plastic.
- A blue bag recycling program for concessionaires and exhibitors is in place during the Fair to encourage recycling of bottles, cans, plastics and cardboard. The PNE provides the bags as well as the collection service for all exhibitors. During the Fair, a mandatory composting program has also been introduced with food concessionaires
- The food and beverage department uses environmentally friendly cleaning products and continues to upgrade to low-energy fixtures and energy-efficient appliances.
- In event marketing materials, the PNE regularly promotes the use of public transportation to get to and from the PNE site, and works with TransLink to increase levels of public transportation to the site during high-volume events such as the annual summer Fair. The Fair also provides guests with a complimentary bike valet service.
- During events, agricultural event dirt is reused and manure is composted.
- Plans are underway to further improve exhibitors’ sustainability performance on-site in upcoming years, including limiting the types of materials that can be used on-site and requiring that all pre-consumer food waste be composted.
The technical services department remains focused on ensuring that facilities throughout the grounds continue to receive sustainable and energy-efficient upgrades:
- Waste audits are conducted annually.
- In 2012, a light bulb recycler was purchased. Since then, the PNE has diverted over 25,000 fluorescent tubes and incandescent light bulbs from the landfill, turning them into recyclable glass and capturing bulb gases. We continue to recycle all bulbs on-site.
- Low-flush toilets and urinals as well as low-water-use faucets and high-efficiency lighting have been installed in all major buildings on-site.
- The Agrodome now has high-efficiency lighting in the main arena and plaza.
- Ice in the Agrodome is made using the REALice cold-water ice-making system.
- Our technical services department remains committed to the proper disposal and recycling of batteries, motor oil and containers, hydraulic oils, antifreeze, oil filters, containers and absorbents, aerosol cans, paint, wood, glass, vehicle tires, drywall, concrete and blacktop, steel, aluminum and copper.
- Leaves, grass clippings and tree trimmings are recycled for composting.
- The technical services team uses electric, propane or natural gas vehicles where possible (zoom booms, scissor lifts, scrubbers, Zambonis, forklifts, electric ice edgers, electric golf carts, etc.), and remains committed to exploring the conversion of other fleet vehicles.
The PNE continues to actively work on improving its environmental footprint. In addition to working with Vancity and a team of external contractors on the next steps, the PNE remains proud of its progress, and encourages suppliers, partners, sponsors and staff to continue to bring ideas forward. We understand that there is much work yet to be done and we remain committed to making progress in sustainability.