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We can all reduce our impact on the environment while we’re in Vancouver at CUPE’s national convention by walking, using public transit and taking full advantage of the convention centre’s environmental features.

Here’s a quick guide to being green at CUPE convention.

CUPE goes green at convention

CUPE has taken many steps to make this the greenest national convention yet, including:

  • In the pre-registration package, Cutting Convention Carbon shows how delegates can reduce their impact on the environment.
  • All drinking water at convention is publicly-supplied municipal water. There is no bottled water being distributed on the convention floor.
  • The convention kit contents have been reduced to only essential convention documents. Kit bags are made of hemp.
  • A strict set of gallery rules are in place to reduce paper use and wasteful items.
  • Delegates will be able to view all documents online in a new virtual gallery, instead of taking printed copies.
  • All delegate and staff travel and all printed materials are being fully offset at this convention for the first time. This means our national convention will be carbon-neutral thanks to an investment in a municipal social housing retrofit project in Montreal with CarbonZero. CUPE’s investment in the project will lead to environmental improvements that are equal to the environmental damage of all delegate and staff travel and all the materials that are printed at convention. What’s more, the workers in the social housing retrofit project are CUPE members.


Environmental features of the convention centre

The Vancouver Convention Centre boasts many environmental features that reduce the environmental impacts of events held there.

  • The West building of the Convention Centre is a Platinum-certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) structure, making it the first convention centre in the world to receive this rating.
  • The West building has a six-acre living roof – the largest in Canada. It has 400,000 indigenous plants and grasses and four beehives. Drainage is set up to collect rainwater for irrigating the roof during summer months.
  • The convention centre has been designated “Power Smart” by BC Hydro after converting to state of the art energy-efficient lighting, HVAC and energy control systems.
  • The convention centre’s catering and food services boast many environmentally progressive steps, such as:
    • Using fresh and local ingredients without additives, while avoiding pre-packaged and canned goods.
    • Offering “Happy Earth” menus with certified organic and free-range food choices.
    • Using cutlery, china, glass and cloth napkins, and serving nearly all condiments in bulk or reusable containers.
  • The convention centre has an extensive recycling program that keeps 180,000 kilograms of materials out of landfills each year – about half of all the materials used. The centre recycles batteries, wood, paper, organics, glass, plastic and lighting ballasts.


Waste reduction

The convention centre has extensive recycling and composting facilities. Please recycle and compost materials properly to cut back on our waste, and make sure to choose the right bin, so the recycling centres aren’t contaminated.


Public transit

Vancouver has an excellent public transportation system, especially for getting downtown to the convention centre from the airport. The green choice to get downtown is the SkyTrain.

The train’s Canada Line runs from the airport to downtown Vancouver (Waterfront Station) on average every 6-7 minutes during peak travel times and every 12 minutes during off-peak times.

The trip from the airport to the Waterfront Station is approximately 25-35 minutes and costs $7.50. This is just as quick as a cab but much cheaper. The Waterfront Station is walking distance (approximately 1.6 kilometres) from most downtown hotels.

There’s more information on taking public transit in Vancouver here.

Downtown Vancouver is well-serviced by city bus routes for travel between hotels and the convention centre.


Walk Vancouver

Vancouver is a very walkable city with a concentrated downtown core beautifully situated next to Vancouver Harbour and with mountains in the background.


Bike Vancouver

Vancouver is also a very bicycle-friendly city, with 400 kilometres of bicycle lanes, including separated lanes on Dunsmuir and Hornby Streets. Vancouver does not have a public bicycle sharing system yet but is planning to implement one in the next 18-24 months.

Some hotels (e.g., The Fairmount Hotel Vancouver, Opus Hotel, Best Western Plus Downtown and some others) offer guests complimentary use of a limited number of bicycles. Bicycles can also be rented easily from shops including Spokes Bicycle Rentals and Simon’s Bike Shop.


For more tips on going green at convention, please see members of CUPE’s National Environment Committee in the CUPE Gallery.