In June 2013, the city of Chicago was one of the first cities in the world to be certified as a sustainable destination for meetings and events by the APEX-ASTM Standard. McCormick Place also became the world's largest convention center certified as a sustainable venue. 


The Chicagoland area has nine Green Seal-Certified hotels, recognizing sustainability practices like waste management, energy efficiency and use of eco-friendly products. For a full list of Chicago's Green Seal-Certified hotels, click here.


With 67 LEED-certified projects, as well as 133 silver, 165 gold and 36 platinum, Chicago officially has more green-certified buildings than any other city in the country. This includes McCormick Place West and the Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago. For more information on the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Certification Program, click here. For a full list of Chicago and Illinois LEED projects, click here.


Chicago has 300-plus green rooftops - more than any other U.S. city - covering 5.5 million square feet. They can be found on top of buildings including City Hall, Target, Apple store and even some McDonald's restaurants.


Chicago's visitors and locals can identify eco-friendly restaurants by looking for the Green Chicago Restaurant Coalition's Guaranteed Green distinction.

Green Chicago Restaurant Coalition created the Guaranteed Green Chicago program to help Chicago's diners easily identify and support restaurants and foodservice operations that proactively observe a significant level of environmental responsibility.  

In order to earn certification, establishments must:

  • Achieve significant standards in energy, water and waste reduction
  • Make an effort to purchase environmentally preferable food
  • Use ecofriendly disposables, cleaning products and furnishings

For a full list of Guaranteed Green Chicago establishments, click here.


Ten museums, including The Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium, have taken the lead in adopting environmentally friendly practices, from green business operations to green exhibits. For more information about Chicago's eco-friendly museums and attractions, click here.


  • Solar panels: O'Hare International Airport sustainability program includes installing 52 acres of solar panels for renewable energy.
  • Green Airplane Rating: Several concessions at both Midway and O'Hare have earned Green Airplane Ratings for eco-friendly practices. Such as purchasing locally grown food, avoiding Styrofoam, using biodegradable cutlery and donating surplus food to charities.
  • Sustainable food: O'Hare is home of the world's first airport aeroponic garden, which provides fresh produce and herbs to the airport's restaurants year-round.

For more information about O'Hare Airport's commitment to the environment, click here. For more information about Midway Airport's sustainability efforts, click here


  • Reducing emissions: The CTA replaces the equivalent of about 400,000 vehicles on regional roads each weekday.
  • Supplementing power: Many ‘L' cars are equipped with an innovative braking system that transfers electrically back to the third rail, supplementing power to nearby trains.
  • Increasing fuel efficiency: The CTA currently operates a fleet of more than 200 hybrid buses that achieve 20 percent greater fuel efficiency that standard diesel buses.
  • Conserving energy: Subways and various platforms have been retrofitted with energy efficient lighting.

For more information about what the Chicago Transit Authority is doing to go green, click here.


Your show can make a difference. Here's how a few organizations have made social consciousness a cornerstone of their meetings:

  • Donate unused items: Following its show, True Value donated unused items and materials to Special Children's Charities, the Special Olympus of Chicago and the Chicago Park District.
  • Donate food: The National Restaurant Association donated more than 37,000 meals after its 2011 conference to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
  • Donate products: In 2012, Ace Hardware donated 11 truckloads of products from their exhibit booths - tools, cleaning supplies, paint and lawn and garden products - to ReStore Elgin, which sells new and used building materials to benefit Habitat for Humanity.



Chicago boasts 600 parks, 8100 acres of green space, bird sanctuaries, wildlife preserves and miles of sandy beaches. To learn more about Chicago's steadfast commitment to becoming one of the country's most eco-friendly destinations, click here.

Choose Chicago's Environmental Policy is available for review upon request.