Exhibitions by their nature create astonishing amounts of waste. From paper and packaging, to single use floor coverings and furniture items, plus copious numbers of carrier bags and give-aways, the industry has had to battle against its actual and perceived damage to the environment.
Exhibition stands themselves are frequently never used again – once the exhibition closes its doors, the stands and their contents usually end up in a skip headed for landfill.
With the general public exhibition visitors more attuned than ever to the importance of protecting the environment, exhibition organisers, exhibitors and stand builders now need to demonstrate their eco-friendly credentials and commitment. Here are a few simple ways to make your exhibition stands more eco-friendly:
Consider reusable stands - modular stands are becoming more readily available
Reduce your use of printed materials – perhaps offer one flyer with a QR code that takes them to online brochures or specifications.
Install low-wattage lighting or LED energy-efficient lighting.
Choose recyclable plastic or cardboard
Use organic compound-free adhesives.
Choose a fibre-mixed carpet for your flooring so that it can be recycled -or choose carpet tiles that can be re-used.
Use timber and paper materials from well-managed forests
Look for “green”, water-based paints.
Instead of physical give-aways can you offer e-vouchers or coupons for trials or discounts?
Look into interactive displays, gamification, VR, AR, digital displays as an alternative to posters and printed material
Where you do want to use banners etc, design graphics that can be reused rather than show specific designs
The financial mantra of “the cost to implement is not sustainable” simply no longer stands in this new age of awareness. A recent survey (by IBM) shows that 57% of buyers are willing to change their purchasing habits, and indeed are prepared to spend more on a product or service in order to help reduce negative environmental impact. So, rather approaching the subject as a financial burden, once you have your sustainable practices in place be sure to shout loud and clear to your customers and use it as a USP to generate higher and sustained ROI.
And there you have it. With the upward trajectory of demand for commitment to sustainable and eco-friendly practices growing at an exponential rate, sustainability has never been more relevant.
Karla Pleasance has over 25 years experience, including the ExCeL London Exhibition and Conference Centre start up in 2000, through to producing events right across the United Arab Emirates and the GCC region.
Karla had lived and worked in the UAE for the past 11 years where her first role was Production Manager of the Abu Dhabi Red Bull Air Races. She then returned to work as a Freelance Event Producer in the UK.
She's known by her peers as a very detailed orientated multitasker, capable of communicating on all levels.
Karla is a Specialist Trainer on The Event School London's Event Management Courses