Message: Message Text

Sustainability Initiatives

Learn more about the Specialty Food Association’s initiatives and programs to make the Fancy Food Shows more environmentally sustainable and socially responsible events. Click on the items below for more information about our convention center partners and how you, as an attendee or exhibitor, can make a positive impact during your time at the Show.

As a member of the Association, we value your feedback on our sustainable event efforts. Please send your thoughts and inquiries to Roger Grant at

  • The Specialty Food Association is committed to reducing the environmental impacts of the Fancy Food Show and nurturing our event host communities.

    Here are some ways in which we’re making a positive difference:

    Food Donation Program

    Since 1992, The Fancy Food Show has operated an extensive Exhibitor Food Donation program, which each year brings approximately 300,000 pounds of food to those in need in New York City and San Francisco. In New York, we work with City Harvest, which rescues over 30 million pounds of excess food each year. In San Francisco, our donation partner is Feed The Hungry, a humanitarian group that responds to emergency and targeted relief in the U.S. and overseas while feeding over 35,000 children daily.

    Waste Diversion

    Three-stream waste stations (compost, recycling, and landfill) are available in all public spaces and we are working with the Moscone Center to ensure attendees and exhibitors can responsibly recycle on the Show floor and compost food waste in Clean Up Stations. We recognize that waste is the Fancy Food Show’s largest environmental impact and are committed to continuous improvement in the area of waste diversion.

    Sustainable Signage

    Nearly all Fancy Food Show signage is printed on ecoboard, a recyclable substrate made from a minimum of 20 percent post-consumer recycled materials. Ecoboard is made from Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certified fibers, is produced chlorofluorocarbon-free, and emits no VOCs during manufacturing. Approximately 90 percent of all Show signage is reused each year (for 3 years) to reduce printing and waste.

    Sustainable Shuttles

    The Specialty Food Association partners with Academy to provide attendees with Green Coach-certified shuttles. All shuttles operate on a biodiesel blend fuel (5% biodiesel) and remote engine shut off technology has been installed to ensure compliance with Academy’s stringent no idling policy.

    Reduced Printing

    The Online Exhibitor Manual saves approximately 600,000 pieces of paper and 4,000+ 3-ring binders each year.

    Biodegradable Bags

    Over 10 years ago, in an effort to reduce waste, the Association prohibited exhibitors from passing out bags and introduced an official Fancy Food Show bag that is 100 percent biodegradable.

  • Moscone Convention Center
    Sustainable practices are at the heart of SMG's management of the Moscone Center.
    Outlined below are the many areas in which the Moscone Center strives to achieve greater resource efficiency and sustainability.

    Building Site

    • High-performance glazing with low emissivity glass that exceeds Title 24 requirements, a critical element given the extensive use of glass and emphasis on natural light and maximization of views. Frit patterning at 30, 50, and 70 percent was used to further enhance the glass performance while assuring interior comfort levels.
    • Use of the latest and most energy-efficient lighting fixtures throughout the facility, as well as use of daylight sensors to control prefunction areas.
    • Mechanical systems designed to exceed Title 24 Energy Efficiency Standards include chilled water plant and cooling towers, heating water plant, air and control systems.

    Purchasing and Contract Compliance

    • Policies and procedures place emphasis on sustainability in all purchasing activities.
    • Contracts for major capital projects include provision for required tracking and reporting of diversion by material type for large scale contracts such as replacement of escalators, carpeting, and lighting fixtures

    Recycling and Waste Diversion

    The Moscone Center has long set the standard for U.S. convention centers in diverting material from the waste stream.

    • Begun in 1998 with diversion of high-volume materials from the exhibit floor and lobby areas, the program today targets materials from all areas and sources.
    • Nearly 2 million pounds is diverted annually, with nearly 20 percent of that total as donations to local area non-profits.
    • The Food Composting program is the newest program that captures all organic material from foodservice operations. This newest phase, begun in Fall 2007, includes capturing all food material as well as compostable serveware and utensils from all concession and catering locations throughout Moscone North, South, and West.

    Air Quality

    The Moscone Center places such priority on maintaining air quality that a full-time air quality technician regularly monitors and tests conditions. Program initiatives include:

    • Daily monitoring of carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and nitrous oxide
    • Use of propane additive to reduce carbon monoxide emissions
    • Requirement for scrubbers on diesel trucks operated by service contractors
    • New rental inventory (forklifts and articulated booms)
    • Vigorous enforcement of no smoking ordinance




    • The Moscone Center sits in the heart of the city's urban core, with convenient access to local and regional mass transportation.
    • It is also within close proximity of nearly 20,000 hotel rooms.
    • SMG promotes the use of transit in all public information sources including telephone recordings and website, as well as encouraging employee participation in the Commuter Check program as a means of supporting transit use among the facility's workforce.


    • Winner of the State of California's WRAP of the Year Award 2001
    • Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, State of California 2001
    • Special Congressional Recognition, U.S. House of Representatives 2001
    • Environmental Leadership Award of Excellence, USEPA 2001
    • Green Power Leadership Award, USEPA and U.S. Department of Energy 2004
    • Environmental Achievement Award - Sustainable Venue, U.S. EPA 2009
  • Help Us Reduce Our Footprint

    The Specialty Food Association is committed to reducing the environmental impacts of the
    Fancy Food Show and nurturing our event host communities, but we can’t do it without you.

    Here are easy ways to make a BIG difference:

    Walk It Off

    The Moscone Center sits in the heart of the city’s urban core with convenient access to public transportation and your hotel. After a day of sampling delectable foods, walking to and from the Center is a great way to get moving, see the city, and burn calories.

    Travel Smart

    If walking isn’t an option, consider taking the Fancy Food Show shuttle, a hybrid taxi (92 percent of the city’s fleet is hybrid or compressed natural gas), or catch the BART or MUNI  Metro by exiting the Center and heading west towards 4th Street. Turn right on 4th Street and walk 2 blocks to Market Street. The entrance to BART/MUNI is on your right and you can buy tickets for the BART and MUNI inside the station. To get around San Francisco visit

    Think When You Throw

    When discarding recyclables (plastic and glass bottles, aluminum cans, and paper), look for labeled recycling bins located throughout the Center. Recycling at the Center is “comingled” or “single-stream,” so all recyclables can go in one bin.

    Green Your Stay

    To save energy, water, and resources take advantage of your hotel’s linen reuse initiatives, decline newspaper delivery, and turn off all lights when leaving your room. You can also request that your bill be sent electronically at check-out.

    Drink for Free

    Bottled water at the center has been replaced, wherever possible, with water pitchers and coolers. Avoiding the purchase of water bottles by using these coolers or bringing a reusable bottle from home reduces waste in more ways than you can imagine and saves you about $3.50 a pop.

    Recycle Your Badge

    At the end of the Show, please return your badge in one of the marked Recycle Badge boxes near the exits.

    Offset Your Travel

    Consider offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions associated with your flight and/or hotel stay. Ever wondered what carbon offsets are and how they work? Learn more at individuals.

  • The Specialty Food Association is committed to reducing the environmental impacts of the Fancy Food Show and nurturing our event host communities. For our efforts, we are proud to have received Trade Show Executive Magazine’s 2013 Gold 100 Grand Awards first place award for Show with the Most Commendable Green Initiatives. For additional details, read our Press release about our efforts and an article from Tradeshow Executive.

    The show floor is the main course of the Fancy Food Show! As exhibitors, you are our most influential “greening” partners.

    Access our Exhibitor Green Practices Checklist:

    Here are 5 ways you can help make a positive impact:

    1. Participate in the Exhibitor Food Donation Program

    • Charity Food Donation form will be available from Floor Managers at show.

    2. Recycle:

    • Recycle all product packaging in labeled bins throughout the expo hall and Clean-Up Stations.
    • Recycle Badge in proper bins.
    • Food Disposal in proper bins within Clean-Up Stations.

    3. Use compostable sampling serviceware (ASTM D6400 certified compostable)

    • Serving & Sampling suppliers with compostable, eco-friendly service-ware: Exhibitors are encouraged to use compostable serviceware onsite and should look for products that are American Standards for Testing Materials (ASTM) D6400 compliant. The Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the use of compostable materials and has a third party certification process to verify if a manufacturer's products meet the ASTM definition for compostability. Compostable product providers:
    • San Francisco and New York City have banned or proposed legislation to ban the use of expanded polystyrene (“StyrofoamTM”) in food service establishments.

    4. Contractors / Smartly design your booth:

    • Ask contractors if they offer green design options for booth materials
    • Turn off all lights during set up and after hours
    • Download our Exhibitor Green Practices Checklist for details

     5. Show Bags / Reduce printed collateral

    • Reminder: Distribution of bags by exhibitors is prohibited
    • Only official Fancy Food Show bags will be permitted to leave the expo hall

    P.S. Ship Smart

    • Eliminate or reduce the amount of polystyrene (Styrofoam) used and reuse padding materials
    • Consolidate shipments.
    • Choose a logistics partner that participates in the U.S. EPA's Smartway Partnership Program or similar international program.