Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre an active community partner

Brisbane Convention

Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC) has some serious sustainability credentials having received Platinum Certification by EarthCheck. Everything being equal BCEC should have a giant platinum luggage tag hanging off its entrance in the same way Frequent Flyers get bragging rights for the millions of kilometres they put on the clock. Except one adds to our carbon footprint and one reduces it.

Frequent Flyer status is a simple marker of consumption, but EarthCheck Platinum Certification is a little more complicated with most of the work done behind the scenes.

It all starts with a commitment to being a champion of sustainable practices across the environment and society. An early adopter to sustainable action, BCEC was the first convention centre in Australia to develop a carbon calculator back in 2010.

In 2023, BCEC is about to launch an enhanced version of the calculator which includes the Centre’s Grey Street building.

Brisbane Convention
The Carbon Calculator now includes BCEC’s Grey Street building.

The calculator has been developed in partnership with the Carbon Reduction Institute (CRI) to measure the carbon footprint of events and the Centre’s operation, with the facility to provide offset options including uniquely Australian programs such as Koala Offsetting, working with Queensland Trust for Nature.

One major factor in reducing the Centre’s carbon footprint was the installation of 764 solar panels on the roof of its Grey Street building, which during the last 12 months supplied 27.4% of the Grey Street building’s electrical energy demand.

The installation of new LED lighting within the Centre’s Exhibition Halls, with daylight harvesting and control of lighting levels via an app, has resulted in a 50% reduction in energy demand for the Exhibition Centre.

Replacing car park lighting with an LED sensor control system has also reduced power to 15% of prior levels.

Brisbane Convention
The 764 solar panels on the roof of BCEC’s Grey Street building have cut the building’s energy requirements.

Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre also contributes through the partnerships it fosters within the local community.

One such partnership is with Tangalooma EcoMarines, an education program for students teaching them to be environmental leaders of the future, with a mission to restore the oceans and water ways through education, networking and connecting and learning from the traditional owners of the land.

As part of the partnership BCEC hosts the annual ‘Wave’ event which celebrates the environmental achievements and attracts hundreds of engaged students, environmental leaders and State Government Ministers.

The Centre also attracts some of the biggest and most respected conferences across the environmental sectors including the Society for Freshwater Science Annual Meeting in 2023, which marks the first time it has been held outside North America, and the International Congress for Conservation Biology ICBB 2025.

Without the giant platinum tag on the entrance, many delegates may not be fully aware of the multitude of endeavours going on behind the scenes.

The delegates will definitely enjoy the food on offer, 80% of which comes from South East Queensland, without necessarily being aware that the kitchen brigade is led by BCEC Executive Chef Matthew Arnold, a passionate environmentalist who calls out food wastage as the greatest challenge for a working kitchen.

To this end Matthew is reviewing all kitchen practices and investigating initiative ways to reduce food wastage to make the kitchens more sustainable. While Development and Innovation Chef David Pugh is an #eatqld champion, in recognition of his promotion and advocacy of sustainable and local produce and for driving the use of sustainable and ethical ingredients in the Centre’s menus.

Brisbane Convention
(L-R) BCEC development and innovation chef David Pugh with Steve Moffatt from Moffatt Fresh Produce.

Delegates will also enjoy the convenience of staying at one of the many of hotel rooms within walking distance, indulge in the choice of bars and restaurants within the precinct or delight in the nearby cultural and arts venues that also call the precinct home.

This year will also see the completion of a pedestrian bridge connecting BCEC to the new $3.6 billion Queen’s Wharf entertainment and tourism precinct opening yet more options that are once again walking distance away.

EarthCheck CEO and founder Stewart Moore says achieving EarthCheck Platinum Certification places BCEC within a unique network of convention centres in the world that can demonstrate and quantify corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

“The BCEC team has inspired a number of initiatives in the community and consistently demonstrated commitment to adopting responsible environmental practices and promoting the need for more sustainable operations,” he says.

BCEC general manager Kym Guesdon says the Centre has always worked to become a world leading socially and environmentally sustainable event facility.

“We’re not just a venue, we are an active community partner,” she says.