The question’s being put to us – How can the exhibition industry and a city, region or country work together to facilitate sustainable development?
As many push for a greener, more efficient and socially responsible world, we’re recognising more of the pioneering initiatives that exist in our industry. Global associations like The UFI, are propping up such projects and rewarding those who are willing to put them in place.
The UFI Sustainable Development Awards
The UFI brings together world leading trade show organisers and partners of the exhibition industry, and each year, it recognises venues, organisers, constructors, designers and suppliers that are putting sustainability at the heart of their work. Winners receive significant press coverage and free invitations to key UFI events round the world.
Last year, The American Chemical Society was given the award for their active work to increase attendee engagement in sustainability issues at their large conferences. Their #GreenerMeetings programme is a multi-faceted campaign that boosts attendee awareness of sustainability issues at all of their scientific events. At their 251st annual meeting last year in San Diego, the ACS created a tree planting scheme, where attendees could donate $1 to indirectly offset their carbon footprints associated with the event – with the help of American Forests. In the past year, this scheme alone has resulted in the planting of over 4000 trees, each of which can sequest 910lb of CO2 over its lifetime.
Among other finalists last year was the NEC in Birmingham, which was recognised for its incredible waste management efficiency. By working with local sewerage treatment works and farmers, the NEC recycles 100% of it’s food waste, and has achieved near-zero waste to land-fill with its onsite waste management processes.
Going beyond the “Stand Alone” approach
This year, the UFI sustainable development awards will put even more focus on destination integration, by looking for organisations that work collaboratively with local authorities to achieve goals. This might include working with local communities, or public transport providers.
The UFI insists – in order to make the biggest impact, a “stand alone” approach for sustainable development is inadequate. They point towards a much more collaborative effort, where all parts of the supply chain are working together for greener and more socially responsible meetings.
Educational Forum on Sustainability
Next month (21-22 Feb), the Educational Forum on Sustainability will take place in Singapore, and is open to all industry professionals who want to learn more about implementing a collaborative approach. The event will examine sustainable development within the context of meetings and conferences in Singapore. It will showcase and analyse real solutions from around the world, with a focus on reevaluating how different parts of the industry can work together for a more efficient and sustainable industry.