Most people are familiar with the Seattle Convention Center because it hosts a large variety of meetings, events, and conventions. That is the primary role it plays – the Center provides a venue in which people gather from around the region, the nation and the world to share ideas, celebrate and learn.
But its role goes well beyond that. SCC has a longstanding commitment to positively impact the lives of those in our region and beyond, advancing the common good. The legacy of our civic actions for the community holds as true today as it began in 1988. Expand the sections below to learn more.
The Center’s long history of environmentally sustainable practices dates back decades.
Sustainable Food & Beverages
When feasible, the SCC kitchen staff purchases locally sourced, in-season sustainable products. Buying local supports regional producers and cuts down on our carbon footprint as shipping distances are greatly reduced. In addition to many of our food products being grown or produced in Washington and/or the Pacific Northwest, over 98% of the wines we serve are from Washington’s acclaimed wineries. All the contents and packaging of our boxed lunches and all disposable food service items (cups, plates, cutlery and coffee stir sticks) are 100% compostable. Read more about SCC's sustainable banquet services.
Sustainable Facilities and Practices
From LEED Certification and waste minimization to adopting renewable resources, we’ve explored every opportunity to implement protocols that are kinder to the environment. Read more about SCC's sustainable facility operations.
SCC's Board has long been committed to a policy of providing maximum practical opportunity for increased participation by minority- and women-owned businesses (MWBE) in its construction program and in the operation processes by which it procures goods and services. It sets measurable goals for MWBE business participation and equitable distribution of economic benefits.
1988 construction completion of the original Arch building, bridging the Freeway to First Hill, was the largest dollar amount ever spent in the Seattle Business Core by any developer which spent over $15.5 million utilizing minority and women contractors. As a result, the Center’s Board achieved construction participation rates of 16.5 percent minority-owned businesses, or a total of $12,864,595, and 3.6 percent women-owned businesses, or a total of $2,819,948.
With Summit’s construction period from 2018 to 2023, the Board again set goals to spark creative opportunities for small and diverse businesses coupled with initiatives to enable career development for skilled workers. Learn more about SCC's ongoing efforts to support inclusion and equality.
SCC's mission for operations, guided by its Board of Directors, is to provide both direct and indirect economic and civic benefits. This consists of creating jobs and business activity to boost the local, regional, and state economy, and to generate civic benefits for the people of the community where the center is located.
Purposefully, the Board sought to ensure the creation of Summit provided more for the community than a space to gather. As part of the land purchase and permitting agreement, the Center provided an investment package for the community totaling over $93 million. This investment package included funding for affordable housing, parks and open spaces, improvements to Pike and Pine Streets, bicycle infrastructure, a study of lidding the I-5, and other community projects.
Nearly $40 million of SCC’s community investments has been provided to address the affordable housing crisis. This includes $4.3 million toward affordable housing through the City’s Incentive Zoning program, $5 million to King County for affordable housing and $330,000 to Plymouth Housing Group for additional development rights. The remaining $30 million went to the Seattle Office of Housing’s pooled resources, which have funded nearly 3,000 affordable-housing units.
Seattle Parks and Recreation also benefited from the public benefits package. It received $10 million in funding for Jim Ellis Freeway Park improvements, including $750,000 for activation within the park and $9,250,000 dedicated to capital improvements which include actual construction, as well as design and project management, permitting, sales tax and contingencies.
A summary of SCC's recent investment in the community is available here.
The Center’s culinary team carefully plans each event’s food and beverage menu to ensure the least possible waste. There are times, though, when surplus food is inevitable, and the SCC kitchen will share and donate to local food kitchens where possible including FareStart, a culinary job training and placement program for disadvantaged adults and youth. SCC’s donations help reduce food costs for others, allowing them to prepare and distribute quality food that would otherwise go to waste. Sharing with the community has been a tradition since opening doors in 1988.
Also, when possible, SCC makes donations of surplus equipment to charitable organizations combating homelessness and other issues, and when meeting planners leave behind convention items, our event managers and staff let them know that we will work to donate them to local organizations on their behalf.
Since 1988, the Center has sought out creative ways to equitably advance the common good. For example, the Center’s culinary team carefully plans each event’s food and beverage menu to ensure the least possible waste. There are times, though, when surplus food is inevitable, and the SCC kitchen will donate to local food kitchens, including FareStart, when possible. This Seattle mainstay organization offers a culinary job training and placement program for disadvantaged adults and youth, plus they prepare and deliver more than 5,000 hot meals every day to social service programs and schools.
In addition to food surpluses, clients occasionally leave behind surplus event items, such as tote bags, shirts, or water bottles. With the client’s approval, SCC will facilitate a donation to a local charitable organization combating homelessness, food insecurity and other issues.
Furthermore, when resources permit, the Center’s summer internship program aims to expose college students to every aspect of the convention center business while helping them to develop the essential technical and interpersonal skills for a career in the hospitality industry. The Center has also developed alliances with schools across the region to build awareness of potential career paths for students seeking career opportunities in hospitality.
We are also the proud sponsor of an educational scholarship that focuses on helping minority students studying in fields supporting the hospitality industry.