Long Beach, Ontario convention centers operator vows to cut waste – Long Beach Press Telegram

ASM Global, a Los Angeles-based operator of 325 stadiums, convention centers and other venues worldwide, has launched a sustainability program that focuses heavily on reducing waste at its facilities.

The entertainment giant plans to tackle waste reduction through recycling, waste-composting, water conservation, energy reduction, waterless urinals and getting rid of single-use plastic bottles.

“Were looking at providing water refill stations instead of selling water in plastic bottles,” company President and CEO Ron Bension said.

When it comes to stadiums, there’s plenty of trash to clean up.

A 2011 report from the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that an average college football game produces 50 to 100 tons of waste. On a bigger scale, the EPA says U.S. sporting fans generate roughly 39 million pounds of wrappers, paper cups, straws, and other trash a year.

Bension said the newly created ASM Global Acts program will immediately take effect at five of its venues, including Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, Ontario Convention Center and Toyota Arena, also in Ontario.

The program is also intended to increase worker diversity and support under-resourced communities with educational resources and career development. To that end, the company is offering an ASM Global Acts Scholarship.

“We plan to implement the ASM Global Acts program at every venue we have under our guidance as we roll it out in 2022,” Bension said.

Much of the sustainability measures are cost-neutral, he said, although they will save ASM money once they’re fully implemented.

“On the people front, our initiatives are embedded in our corporate culture and we don’t view them as a cost,” he said. “On the community front, this may vary on a venue-by-venue basis and will be funded by the ASM Foundation.”

Thousands of law enforcement patches were on display and for sale at a National Law Enforcement Collectors Show, held at Ontario Convention Center in 2017. (Will Lester-Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

ASM Global’s goals

Protect the environment — Reduce waste from both visitors and operation of its facilities.

Invest in people – Create an environment of inclusion throughout the company and boost career opportunities for current and future employees.

Strengthen communities – Increase philanthropic support in local communities.

Bension said ASM Global Acts is an extension of programs already in place at many of the company’s venues.

“There is some of this going on in almost all of them,” he said. “Some of our buildings have won awards, for example, so we figured why can’t we do that everywhere? The idea was to create an umbrella organization that aggregates all of the various programs into one.”

That translates to more job opportunities. ASM plans to provide apprenticeship programs for the many kinds of jobs that are available at its venues.

“We have a variety of openings for financial positions, food and beverage jobs, positions in security … there are all sorts of opportunities,” Bension said.

The company’s philanthropy will provide support to food banks and after-school programs, as well as vaccination and COVID-19 testing.

“We’re looking at sustainability and the environment and the people who work for us as a whole,” Bension said. “Our stadiums are where people in the community come to take part in events, and this is also where our employees live.”

Fallout from COVID-19

The company — established in November 2019 through the merger of AEG Facilities and SMG — has weathered fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic as many live events have been canceled or postponed during the health crisis.

The company’s portfolio includes stadiums, arenas, convention centers, theaters, equestrian centers and recreational venues. Staffing at many of those locations has been hit especially hard.

“Before COVID-19 we had nearly 61,000 employees,” Bension said. “Right now we’re at about 40,000 … but we’re gearing back up.”

Figures posted Friday by the California Department of Public Health show the health crisis is far from over. More than 5.6 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed statewide. That translates to a daily average of 43,697 cases. The data additionally show 76,341 Californians have died of the virus.

Bension said his company has used the downtime to focus on where it wants to go moving forward.

“We brought new faces in to focus on new technologies and marketing,” he said. “And we were able to sign up long-term agreements for 27 new venues that we’re either operating or investing in. That’s a testament to how we’ve done.”

ASM expects operations to return to normal by the fourth quarter of 2022 — assuming the pandemic winds down.

“We’re seeing some cancellations in Europe,” Bension said. “But looking forward, things look good. We’re also seeing some cancellations in the states, but we have a very robust calendar. In fact, we don’t have enough openings to accommodate all of the events.”