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5 ways for businesses to go green at exhibitions

green exhibitingInterest among businesses in being green has decreased as the economic situation has worsened (source), but with over 60,000 tons of CO2 emitted in 2009 from UK conferences and exhibitions, this is definitely an industry which can become greener. 

With all the planning involved, the extra stress of considering the carbon footprint and wider environmental implications of your attendance isn’t necessarily welcomed! Luckily there are a few techniques that let you do this without the stress: 

Number one: Go green for the right reasons! 

There’s an upsetting trend at the moment of companies greenwashing their business practices – bringing attention to their green activities with the sole purpose of gaining positive PR. This sets a dangerous precedent as green responsibility should be taken seriously! If you’re enthusiastic about your green efforts, this will rub off on visitors to your stand, and will hopefully lead to them taking an interest too.Number two: recycling 

Most exhibition venues will have recycling facilities, so this step is usually as simple as ensuring you use them. If the facilities aren’t available, you can set up separate receptacles for different types of rubbish at your stand, and recycle them manually. Around 45% of waste collected in the UK in 2008 was recycled (source), and this figure has been increasing since, so get involved! 

Number three: reuse 

Ordering new exhibition materials each year isn’t always necessary. You can often reuse display products, and change the information they’re displaying, rather than ordering a new unit. Some exhibition display companies will offer to replace graphics from banner stands, pop up displays and counters while still keeping the original base unit to ensure that your graphics remain relevant without having to throw it away.

The natural roller banner stand from Marler Haley’s range is a great example of a product which can be reused. It is made from 90% renewable materials, and allows changeable graphics so that a new unit doesn’t need to be purchased at each event. 

Number four: transport 

Transporting yourself, your equipment, and your staff to an exhibition can be quite a feat of logistics. If possible, consider the amount of fuel you’ll use and see if there are alternatives. Perhaps you could drive up with your equipment, and send your staff by train rather than in a separate car? 

Another option worth considering is renting or buying exhibition equipment from a supplier near the event you’ll be attending, to prevent the equipment having to take up space while travelling. Obviously this isn’t suitable in all situations, and can contradict the previous tip, so evaluate it based on your needs. 

Number five: digitise 

Printing thousands of business cards and leaflets isn’t as necessary in the digital age. Instead, why not incorporate a QR code into your stand’s design that visitors can scan, which directs them to a contact page on your site or downloads them a brochure? Publicising your social media presence is also a good idea, as it lets visitors follow you and provides an easy outreach channel to take advantage of after the event.

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Author bio:  Chris Lee writes on behalf of Marler Haley.