I recently returned from IMEX and was reminded of the depth of sustainable practice possible by destination marketers.
Each year IMEX and the Green Meeting Industry Council sponsor a Green Exhibitor Award at the show, which attracts exhibitors from over 150 destinations and 14,000 industry professionals from around the globe. The nominees for the Award are asked to describe how their stand reduces environmental impacts and provides positive contributions to host communities.
The winner of this year’s award was Visit London. Visit London’s approach not only pays attention to the creative requirements of an exhibition trade show booth, but also gives preference to environmentally-preferable products that reduce waste, can be re-used and are made of recycled content materials.
Visit London’s uniquely environmental stand features at IMEX 2007 included:
- Green Partner Pods providing information on stand partners. These information kiosks are not lighted, make use of durable reusable materials which are fully recyclable and able to be shipped without extensive bubble wrap and packing. Compact and light design reduces shipping and storage requirements. Stand partners are encouraged to reduce the use of unnecessary collateral materials and re-use pod graphics where possible. Where new graphics are used or stand partners change new graphics are overlayed over boards used in previous years.
- Reusable flooring. Visit London's stand makes use of raised mdf flooring which is cut down and re-used in the manufacturing of cupboards.
- Reduced transportation. Stand components are stored centrally, near communities where exhibits are held to reduce the overall transportation footprint for stand components. Visit London also decided to use local contractors for the stand to reduce carbon emissions by not sending UK based staff. In addition Visit London already participates in a carbon offset programme to neutralise staff and product travel emissions.
- Belu water. Visit London provided bottled water on its stand that is purchased with social responsibility in mind. Belu water funds clean water projects throughout the globe.
- Reduced collateral materials. Visit London continues to cut down on printed collateral material at their stand, using pdf’s saved to a usb plug to distribute literature on site. Badge scanning and providing follow-up materials by email further reduced paper use.
- Green Unit. Visit London has its own in-house committee to educate staff regarding environmental issues and take action to reduce the organisation’s impact on the planet. For further information please visit Future London.
In addition to the Award winning stand from VisitLondon the efforts of the Kenyan Tourism Board and Sri Lanka Convention Bureau were also applauded.
Sri Lanka’s stand featured low voltage lighting and natural sisal carpeting. The entire stand was designed with re-use in mind, making use of graphics and framing that can re-used a minimum of 4 times. Give away items were made from local natural materials.
The Kenyan Tourist Board supports local community groups in Kenya by purchasing 90% of their giveaways from tradeshows from these groups.
The first Green Exhibitor Award was won by Sri Lanka in 2006. As a result of their win the destination marketing organisation was able to earn additional financial support to expand the size of their booth at IMEX 2007.