The Convention Centre Dublin is one of three venues in the world to be accredited as a Gold Healthy Venue.
In May 2021, The Convention Centre Dublin (The CCD) became the third venue in the world to be awarded Gold Healthy Venue status from Healthy Venues Programme, in association with the World Obesity Federation.
The CCD is situated in the heart of Dublin, Ireland’s capital city. Located just 15 minutes from Dublin airport, it sits on the banks of the River Liffey, within walking distance of all that the city centre has to offer. Since opening in September 2010, the venue has hosted over 1,900 events and won 50 industry awards, including Europe’s Leading Meetings and Conference Centre 2020.
In 2017, The CCD was the second venue worldwide to achieve Silver Healthy Venue status. After an uncertain and difficult year for the events industry, their upgrade to Gold status is excellent news for the venue and their future clients and delegates.
Chris Trimmer, Healthy Venues Lead speaks to Suzanne McGann, Head of Marketing and Communications at The CCD, about their Journey to Gold:
How did you find out about the Healthy Venues programme?
We first came across the programme through the World Obesity Federation and we knew straight away it was something we wanted to be part of and gain that accreditation! Health and wellbeing is so vital in our lives, so it was important for us to offer a healthy venue to our clients and their delegates. Achieving a recognised accreditation such as Healthy Venues shows our commitment to healthy eating, a healthy workplace and physical activity during conferences, so we embarked on a journey towards achieving the Healthy Venue accreditation.
How did you start the process to become a Gold Healthy Venue?
For us, the process began in 2016 when we decided to go for Bronze status. We worked really closely with the programme and various internal departments. It soon became clear that we were already achieving the bronze criteria set out by the World Obesity Federation. We decided there and then that we would go for silver and we were thrilled to be the second venue in the world to achieve Silver status in 2017.
With the growing prevalence of health and wellbeing in business and personal lives, we knew that the next step would be achieving the top accreditation of Gold Healthy Venue. Towards the end of 2019, we started to track our activity against gold criteria to identify and make the changes needed to attain the upgrade. With the handover of the programme from World Obesity Federation to Healthy Venues Programme, we had to delay slightly and when we started again in 2020, COVID hit! While this didn’t stop us from progressing, it did slow things down a little.
How long did the process take?
Once we had the go-ahead from Healthy Venues Programme, it only took a couple of months to assess where we were against the criteria and make some small tweaks to reach the required level for Gold status. As we had been a Silver Healthy Venue, we were quite familiar with the process, which made it a bit more straight forward.
Why did The CCD want to upgrade to a Gold Healthy Venue?
Being a Silver Healthy Venue was a real achievement for us in 2017. We had noticed a shift in our clients’ and delegates’ needs to more active and healthier conference set-ups, but it wasn’t just a point-in-time need. It was important that we continued to improve our offering and anticipate new asks and requests. In addition, sustainability is an important foundation of our business and the Gold Healthy Venue accreditation works really well with our sustainability vision too.
Who did you work with to obtain the accreditation?
This was a real team effort. Departments from all across The CCD worked together to meet the criteria and achieve Gold Healthy Venue accreditation, including HR, Facilities and Hospitality, to name just a few. The Marketing and Communications team coordinated the process and managed the relationship with Healthy Venues Programme. We also worked with local suppliers and other partners to create a truly healthy offering throughout conference delegates’ stay in the city.
What does the Gold Healthy Venue accreditation mean for your clients and their delegates?
Healthy conference options is a trend we recognised a number of years ago and it continues to change with new and different requests coming in all of the time. Being only the third venue in the world to achieve Gold Healthy Venues status gives clients the reassurance that we have the health and wellbeing of their delegates front of mind. As I’ve said before, this is not just a point-in-time accreditation. We work every day to improve our offering. We keep abreast of evolving trends and continue to work with Heathy Venue Programmes to meet the ever-changing needs of clients and delegates.
How do you plan on using this accreditation in the future?
We have many clients requesting a sustainable and healthy approach to their events at The CCD and we will actively work with our clients to introduce healthy elements into their future conferences. Whether it be encouraging healthy menu choices or incorporating physical activities into their conference, our team has a wealth of knowledge on ways to make conferences and events healthier for delegates. Our vision is to become Ireland’s most sustainable venue and a leading expert in sustainable event delivery in Europe and this accreditation certainly helps us to achieve our sustainability vision!