BCEC Appoints New Sustainability & Community Advisor

10th Jun, 2024

Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC) has appointed the venue’s inaugural Sustainability & Community Engagement Advisor, supporting the Centre’s commitment to responsible sustainability practices.

The ASM Global managed venue has appointed Saffron Benner, former Sustainable Development Goals Manager for Griffith University, to the newly created role. 

The appointment forms part of BCEC’s environmental future strategy and aligns with the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games’ goal to be the most sustainable Games in Olympic history.

BCEC General Manager, Kym Guesdon (pictured on the right) said the role of Sustainability & Community Engagement Advisor is tasked with aligning the Centre’s strategic direction with the United Nations’ Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), building on BCEC’s existing EarthCheck platinum accreditation which ensures the Centre operates at the highest international environmental standards.

“BCEC’s aim is to integrate the goals across all operational practices, supporting our long-held commitment to working with our partners, the community and our staff to ensure our actions have positive social and environmental outcomes. This is an imperative for us going forward.”

As Sustainability & Community Engagement Advisor at BCEC, Saffron will focus on the environmental and social impact areas of sustainability within the organisation, working to promote all the initiatives that BCEC has implemented to reduce its environmental footprint.

Saffron says a major priority for her at BCEC is the development of a sustainability strategy for the Centre that sets both long and short-term social and environmental goals.

“It needs to be a strategy that provides a road map for the next five to 10 years to guide us and build on the strong body of work already carried out by the BCEC team in the environmental space. 

“We're very proud of the achievements we've already accomplished at BCEC, but the challenges we all face in the future are significant. Having a dedicated role for sustainability allows the venue to continue to have an impact, but also provides the support required to increase our ambitions through collaboration to make the differences we need.”

The Centre was an early adopter of responsible sustainability practices having been an inaugural member of Australia’s Greenhouse Challenge in 2001, with General Manager at the time and now CEO of BCEC, Bob O’Keeffe AM, declaring environmental integrity was fundamental to the daily operations of the Centre.

Declaring war on food wastage in the kitchens by acquiring the Centre’s first organic dehydrator, the early establishment of a staff led CSR Program, rainwater harvesting and the introduction of community service days – these pioneering initiatives have become part of BCEC’s cultural fabric.

One of the first tasks Saffron Benner set herself on taking up the position at BCEC was to visit every department in the 172,000 sqm venue to meet with managers and staff members. “Sustainability is relevant to every aspect of every organisation. There is really no job, from cleaner to accountant to CEO, that isn’t impacted by, or important to, sustainability in some way. I need to understand how the whole of an organisation functions as an ecosystem,” she says.

Questioned on what she enjoys most about working in the environmental space, Saffron says it is purposeful work that influences lives, places and communities, rewarding and at times challenging, citing a special interest in the social impacts that can be achieved through sustainability. 

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