For many businesses, exhibitions can become a central focal point in the calendar. They can take months of planning and preparation to make just a couple of days a success. They have been around for over 100 years, but there is one thing which has never changed. The waste they produce.
For many exhibitors, those months are spent toiling on strategy and presentation to create a bespoke exhibition stand which will stand them head and shoulders above the competition. Often, this comes in the form of striking and towering stands which are visible from every corner of the hall.
What many attendees will not see though is the clear-up after events such as these. Those custom-built exhibition stands which once took pride of place as industry professionals ebbed and flowed around in their presence are regularly abandoned. Considering a stand such as this can easily cost a business at least a four-figure sum, the impact both economically and on their eco-efficiency is remarkable.
Why Exhibitions Can Be Wasteful:
On the whole, exhibitions and trade shows are incredibly wasteful. From the custom exhibition stands to other factors such as power as well as the fuel required just to get thousands of people under that one roof means there is a lot that can be done to make the practice more eco-efficient. This begins with the user; both the attendees and exhibitors who fill up thousands of exhibition halls around the world every year. Even before we begin with the stand, it is important to consider the cost of attending. International trade shows are increasingly being hosted in Asia and the Middle East, which require thousands to travel across the globe for a one or two-day conference. Unless this is considered to be a crucial event for your business, is it really worth the impact it will have on your carbon footprint?
Then comes in the issue of travelling with exhibition stands. Regardless of whether it is at home or abroad, the overall size of some display stands calls for additional transport and often even requires more labour just to set it up once you arrive. Because the nature of exhibitions tends to vary from venue to venue, often exhibitors will find themselves with a 3x3m space for one yet a 5x2m space for another. This is where logistical issues begin to arise as businesses look towards exhibition stands which are tailored for each individual space.
Making Your Exhibition Stand Eco-friendlier:
The first step to making your exhibition experience eco-friendlier is simple; ditch the custom built exhibition stands. Despite their obvious visual impact, success at exhibitions and trade shows is not built upon a fancy backdrop. While they may be able to grab the attention of some attendees on the day, a lot of the work should be done beforehand. This means organising meetings with clients and conducting marketing online to let people know that you will be attending. This allows you to develop a rich pool of individuals that you will be speaking to without the significant economic and practical offset caused by custom built exhibition stands.
Of course, some form of exhibition stand will be required to identify your business to those who will recognise the name, which is where modular and pop-up stands come in. While they may not hit the unique tone that custom built stand owners get used to, they still provide an eye-catching backdrop and have one very important advantage; re-usability. This style of exhibition stand does not need to be abandoned and dumped at the end of every show because they can be taken down in five minutes.
So if you have a few events lined up over the course of the year, invest in a single, easy-to-use exhibition stand which can do the job at each event. Not only does this save a large chunk of your budget, but it also saves on a huge amount of materials which are traditionally thrown-away when used in custom built exhibition stands. If the size of the pitch which you are provided with at the venue is prone to change, then use other display elements such as banner stands to flesh out the design without having to commission a complete new exhibition stand.
Using Exhibition Stands for More Than Just Exhibitions:
Rather than simply re-cycling your exhibition stand after an event, there is a great deal of potential available to re-use them. The compact nature of pop-up stands and banner stands means they can be set up as well as packed away by one person, making them an invaluable companion wherever you are going to present your business. Their eye-catching and subtle nature makes them a useful tool for use at local fayres, presentations and even as backdrops to meetings, anywhere where you need to spread your branding. Crucially, this helps to cut down on additional promotional material that you may have used instead and it helps your budget to stretch even further.
On the note of promotional materials, this is a similar area where a lot of wastage originates. Everyone seems to get the same idea that ordering boxes full to the brim of leaflets and other promotional material will give potential clients something to remember them by. In reality, they end up in the bin with the 30 others that they had stuffed in their hand on the first day alone. As an alternative, with the advent of technology there is a neat way of getting rid of these crummy giveaways altogether and helping your marketing in the long term. Tablet computers are fantastic in this sense. Once you have an interested party, get them signed up to your mailing list using the tablet. Through this, you can send a digital leaflet that they can view when they are back at their desk and you have their contact details for use in the future.
Thinking Long Term
Transforming your exhibition experience to be eco-friendlier not only will help your budget and return on investment, but it also helps to reduce your carbon footprint. A common misconception is that being able to shout the loudest on the day will leave your business fresh in the memories of attendees. Ultimately though, it is the product or services and people at the core of the team that make the real impact. Custom built exhibition stands might look good to post on your social media, but the real results come from putting the effort in behind the scenes.
About the Author
Lee Bierton is a Marketing Specialist at Go Displays, an expert manufacturer of exhibition stands based in the United Kingdom. They design eco-friendly solutions for exhibitors which are tailored to last.
How To Make The Shipping Industry Greener
Each and every year more damage is done to our planet. When businesses are arranging pallet delivery or any other kind of shipping, the environment usually isn’t their number one concern. However, there’s an increasing pressure for the shipping industry to go greener, particularly as our oceans are filling with plastic and climate change is occurring. Fortunately, there’s plenty of technology out there to help with this. Here’s how the freight industry is going greener.
Make Ship Scrapping Cleaner
There are approximately 51,400 merchant ships trading around the world at the moment. Although the act of transporting tonnes of cargo across the ocean every year is very damaging to the environment, the scrapping of container ships is also very harmful. Large container ships contain asbestos, heavy metals and oils which are toxic to both people and the environment during demolition. The EU has regulations in place which ensure that all European ships are disposed of in an appropriate manner at licenced yards and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) introduced guidelines to make recycling of ships safe and environmentally friendly back in 2009, but since then only Norway, Congo and France have agreed to the policy. The IMO needs to ensure that more countries are on board with the scheme, especially India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which are some of the worst culprits for scrapping, which may mean enforcing the regulations in the near future.
A single large container ship can produce the same amount of emissions as 50 million cars, making international shipping one of the major contributors towards global warming. Stricter emissions regulations are needed to reduce the amount of emissions entering our atmosphere. The sulphur content within ship fuel is largely responsible for the amount of emissions being produced; studies have shown that a reduction in the sulphur content in fuel oil from 35,000 p.p.m to 1,000 p.p.m could reduce the SOx emissions by as much as 97%! The IMO has already begun to ensure that ships with the Emission Control Areas of the globe, such as the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel, are using this lower sulphur content fuel, but it needs to be enforced around the world to make a significant difference.
As it’s not currently practical or possible to completely phase-out heavy, conventional fuels around the world, a sulphur scrubber system can be added to the exhaust system of ships to help reduce the amount of sulphur being emitted.
Better Port Management
As more and more ships are travelling around the world, congestion and large volumes of cargo can leave ports in developing countries overwhelmed. Rapidly expanding ports can be very damaging to the surrounding environment, take Shenzhen for example, it’s a collection of some of the busiest ports in China and there has been a 75% reduction in the number of mangroves along the coastline. Destroying valuable ecosystems has a knock-on effect on the rest of the country’s wildlife. Port authorities need to take responsibility for the environmental impact of construction and ensure that further expansion is carried out sustainably.
Some have suggested that instead of expansion, improved port management is needed. If port authorities can work with transport-planning bureaus, they will be able to establish more efficient ways of unloading cargo to reduce the impact on the environment caused by shipping congestion.
Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage
While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.
If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.
Repair and Maintain Appliances
Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.
Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.
When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.
Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full
It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.
The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.
Recycle Water in Your Yard
Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.
You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.
Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants
Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.
Install Water-Saving Features
The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.
There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.
Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City
Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.
If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.