With a great event comes a great carbon footprint - and this is what you can do about it

June 10, 2022

Whether it be a company revealing  a long awaited product, a start-up showcasing the newest breakthrough in the industry, crowds wandering a trade floor looking to do business, we are aware that no other industry is so fundamentally devoted around human interaction, providing the magic touch of an in person connection.

But with a great event comes a great carbon footprint, and even though the event industry is improving in this segment, there are always extra miles to be walked to reach the sustainable side. And this should not only be a part of your green agenda, but also one of the main focuses of your marketing agenda, especially if you are dealing with a younger audience. It is a trillion industry after all, and we all know who has the last word in shaping the future, the ones that are doing responsible business.

Where to start? Rome was not built in a day, so neither will be your whole sustainable event chain at once. No matter if you are an event organizing agency, a venue owner or participate anywhere in the organizational chain, you must bear in mind that even though the sustainability details are not being the top discussion, they are part of the conversation and expected to be part  of your offer.
By now you must be wondering what are the first steps towards a greener event that will resonate with your attendees and the top polluters related to your event, that are to be put on the radar for your next tradeshow.

The three pillars when creating the event strategy should be: people, community and the planet, and the three footprint contributors transport, venue, exhibit material.

Maybe there isn’t much you can do when it comes to transport, because you have decided to organize your tradeshow in the USA and you expect all of the potential audience there, but how about a more local agenda and bringing your product to Singapore and Germany.  The flight carbon footprint being the highest contributor can be immediately lowered with this step, and the carbon footprint of an event depends heavily on the geographical scale of its participants. Collaboration with an offsetting company partner is the way to go.

When it comes to the venue and everything that goes with it, as accommodation and meal plan, there isn’t something that  is one hundred percent in your hands, but working with trustworthy partners that are sourcing the energy from green suppliers, or that have solar panels to produce it on their own is a great way to start. Food suppliers that buy the ingredients locally in order to cut the supply chain are the ones to choose.

And finally, we come to the part where you can have full control over the sustainable side of the event. The booths, and the exhibit materials that you are going to choose for your tradeshow. As so many industries were working towards becoming more sustainable, this was not standing behind. One might say that sustainable exhibition booths were always there, but rarely who used them ten years ago, everyone was oriented towards plastic, aluminum and polyester. From carpets to furniture to stands. Great news, things are changing and the new normal in the event industry are cardboard exhibition booths, shipping containers and sustainable Lego blocks. 

What? Let us guide you through.

Cardboard Exhibition Booths – cardboard may not be the first material that comes to your mind when large displays and exhibition stands are taken into consideration, but having high strength to weight ratio, being eco-friendly and recyclable, it is becoming the number one material that responds to the creative and challenging briefs. There are many benefits, like easy transportation and installation, including less staff compared to the traditional aluminium exhibit stands, and thanks to its strong and forgiving structure, nowadays it is possible to construct ultra-complex

3D solutions to educate, excite and inspire, and exhibit boots are only one of them. Whole lines of trade show furniture is the main responsible material for creating mind blowing events, and helping in shaping the sustainable event industry future. The old and wise have said you can put everything on the paper, so any graphic, color or design is welcome on the cardboard, and the transport costs can be eliminated afterwards. This is a solution that won’t cost the Earth.

Lego block for exhibition booths – there isn’t a person on Earth that doesn’t know about Lego blocks, so how about applying that to your next event?! Sounds like a plan. What is so special? Following the design of a playful Lego block, the universal modular design ensures that construction of all types is possible, no matter the shape, pattern or size. Tools for installation are not required, dirt is excluded and fun for the whole team is ensured. Cherry on top, re-assembling and reusing is the core of this product. Even though each block is hollow, it contains reinforced structural cross ribs for additional strength. Lego blocks are waterproof, durable and stable,  and contain UV inhibitors to prevent fading.  They are multifunctional, so shelving units can be added, you can make your booth in any shape of your liking, on top of that desktops and lintel pieces can be added, that will enable the best creations for your exhibit. If you are on the search for a clean, smooth and sustainable booth, then this is it.  If you store them neatly you have your exhibit stand ready for next time. They are very lightweight so shipment to the next destination will not be costly. Their material polypropylene is 100% recyclable.

If you are overwhelmed and not convinced yet, please remind yourself that one step at a time is enough. The planet doesn’t ask for a handful of companies being 100% carbon neutral, the planet is asking for many participants rethinking their way of business and doing their best in terms of a more sustainable future. And how does it help you? Well, it enhances your reputation, both as a brand and as an employer, the benefits of reusability are countless, especially in the preparation stage, the costs for transport and storage are kept to minimum, and there is a chance that someone even more sustainable than you is willing to buy your used booth, so it is a financial gain.

A good place to start is identifying your areas of impact or the first steps that you can start doing towards greener participation, finding the right partner as a number one. Deciding to cut down on exhibition waste should be the next one, everybody gets excited about freebies, but seeing them forgotten in the lobby afterwards or left out in the hotel rooms is not what makes your brand remembered, the experience that you are going to create on site is wha leaves the participants in awe. 

Choosing sustainable materials, reusable booths, modular stands, led lights, scannable brochures that are forever in the search history, is definitively the way to go. And all of this ensures your marketing strategy becomes greener. You can loudly promote the green credentials and spread the word about sustainability. We hope you like this agenda. And we are sure that the ideas are already wrapped around your head. What are you going to involve in your next tradeshow presence? For sure there are challenges, but being in touch with  a reliable partner makes all of them just a tiny fracture of your concern. And if COVID-19 is still a major concern, there are plethora of hybrid exhibit options around the globe, competitors are not always source of fear, use them as an inspiration when you are deciding on your next move in shaping the future of sustainable events no matter if in Germany, USA or Singapore, and don’t forget there is a solution to everything.

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