‘Green’ is more than a buzzword these days – while some companies greenwash their business practices and make little effort to actually change their behaviour, some other companies are striving to make the world a better place and be more environmentally responsible. With talk of carbon taxes and impending climate change, it’s advisable to take steps toward the latter, whether fuelled by financial or moral incentives.
This article outlines some tips to help you go greener at trade shows, and is written on behalf of Marler Haley, who have many years’ experience in the exhibition industry. You can also visit their site and read about their recent ISO14001 environmental accreditation.
The best place to start is considering how to effectively transport yourself, your staff, and your equipment to the trade show. Depending how far away the show is, several methods of transport may be necessary – it’s worth checking the public transport connections before considering driving, as these will often be cheaper as well as greener (more people in the vehicle equates to lower carbon footprint per person).
You may also consider using a local supplier to provide the equipment you use at the trade show, as this will reduce the distance the equipment needs to travel. Sending your equipment across a country is often unnecessary as, given enough notice, they can be produced more locally. This does raise the question of whether it’s better to transport equipment you’ve used before or to buy new equipment, which will be considered in the next question:
You will often be able to reuse trade show equipment if choose equipment whose graphics can be updated as necessary. This reduces the amount of material used in your equipment, which has inherent environmental benefits. Storing this equipment can be problematic though, as can transporting it to future trade shows if they are far away – the risk is that transporting them long distances offsets the environmental damage avoided by reusing them.
The solution here is to perhaps source equipment made from recycled materials local to trade shows that are a long way from your business, and use these on a rental basis if possible. Then you can reuse your equipment at nearby trade shows, and rent environmentally responsible recycled equipment for events further afield.
Another avenue for recycled goods is freebies – distributing freebies (pens, hats, mouse mats etc) made from recycled materials is not only greener than non-recycled ones, but it is also a point of interest for visitors to your stand who receive them. Owning a pen made of recycled plastic cups is slightly more interesting to talk about than a standard biro, after all!
Through taking the initiative to take these steps to becoming greener, you will protect the environment, potentially save money (on transport), and set a good example for others in your industry. We’re all in this together, and there are few excuses for not going green!