Greening tips for exhibitors

You may be asking “Why would I want to green my exhibition stand?” Here are just a few reasons:

  1. Reduce any negative impact on the environment
  2. Cost savings
  3. Positive reputation for your brand

As well as having benefits, many greening strategies are simple and easy to adopt, like the ones listed below. However feel free to be creative and come up with solutions that suit you and your brand.

Water

Water is a precious commodity that should not be wasted. Supply jugs of water and glasses on your stand, rather than bottled water. Every plastic bottle for water requires another two equal sized bottles of water and a quarter bottle of oil to produce, and the transport of it contributes to carbon emissions. Tap water is just as clean and healthy, and supplying it through plumbing is not nearly as energy intense.

Waste

In order to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill we need to reduce, reuse, and recycle to enhance the concept of a closed loop system. Ways you can do this include:

  • Where possible, use generic branding (without dates, venue names, and so forth) on your stand so that you may reuse it again at future events.
  • Do not print large amounts of materials to hand out to visitors at your stand; the majority of handouts are discarded before the visitor even leaves the exhibition. Rather limit the use of printed materials and promote the electronic spread of information, for example through websites, emails, mobi sites, QR codes, taking photos on cell phones, and other innovative ideas.
  • Do not use excessive packaging, and aim to re-use packaging where possible. An example of this is keeping bubble wrap and boxes from build-up for reuse in break-down.
  • Request the exhibition organizers provide a recycling system you can use for your waste.
  • Should you be purchasing a new exhibition stand, ask your stand designer to design it for long term use at future exhibitions.
  • At the end of the show, if you have materials you no longer need – such a brochures, branding or even structural materials from your stand – investigate if there is a community project that would be glad to accept them to use. Brochures may be useful resources for under-privileged schools, branding can be made into bags, and wood from your stand could be used to build things.

Energy

The majority of South Africa’s energy is generated from coal, a non-renewable resource, and therefore we must conserve energy where possible.

  • Switch off the plug points, AV, lights and any other electrical appliances on your stand when not in use to help save electricity.
  • Choose energy efficient products on you stand, such as LED lighting instead of incandescent bulbs, iPads instead of flat-screen TV’s, and so forth.

Eco-procurement

Organic and locally produced food, drink, and arts and crafts, generally have a smaller carbon and ecological footprint than imported products. They also stimulate the local economy.

  • Please commit to procure sustainable goods and services whenever possible, such as ones that are locally produced, and / or environmentally friendly.
  • On your exhibition stand, this can be done by considering products such as:
  • Fabric branding – it is reusable, lightweight and packs small, reducing its carbon related travel emissions
  • System stands that can be reused and reconfigured to different stand sizes
  • Biodegradable carpeting
  • Should you want to have giveaways on your stand, please choose products that are useful and are ecofriendly. For example, recyclable or recycled stationary.
  • If you are hosting an event on your stand, ask your catering company to provide a menu that uses only local produce, and which is seasonal and organic. Having more vegetarian options is also more environmentally friendly.

Transport

Vehicles emit greenhouse gasses that contribute to global climate change. Some ways to limit this are:

  • Find accommodation close to the venue, so that youmay walk to the show daily.
  • Lift share with other exhibitors.
  • Use public transport whenever possible.

Accommodation

When looking for accommodation, ask hotels and guest houses if they have an environmental policy, and take this into consideration when making a final decision on where to stay.

Carbon Offset

Consider calculating the carbon footprint of your team travelling to the show, and then offsetting this through an initiative like Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA).

FTFA is a social enterprise addressing sustainable development through climate change action, food security and greening, with a strong focus on environmental and global warming education and awareness. There website features a carbon calculator, and you can then purchase the equivalent amount of trees needed to offset your footprint: http://www.trees.co.za/carbon-offsetcalculator/carbon-calculator.html

Planting trees is just one option for carbon offsetting, but you can do other things such as donating a solar water heater or solar cooker to a clinic or orphanage. Both will reduce electricity consumption, and consequently the carbon emissions from burning coal.

These guidelines were supplied by Scan Display.

More information on event greening can also be found on www.eventgreening.co.za