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Sustainability Focus For Trade Shows & Exhibits

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Consumers and businesses are more focused now than they ever have been on sustainability and environmentally friendly solutions. So much so that in one study it says to be competitive 62% of company executives say a sustainability strategy is a priority with 23% realising they too will need a similar mandate.

Transparency and Communication

Consumers expect transparency and communication on how industry and business are progressing with their commitment to reduce carbon emissions and use eco-friendly products and practises. With this in mind, there is one sector that is going through a paradigm shift to show they too are of the same mindset as their business partners and that’s Trade Shows and Exhibitions.

Trade Shows are considered an integral part of B2B marketing, with $82 Billion in revenue reported in the US in 2016. Growth in the exhibition industry is up by circa 2% since 2017 and with it more focus on reusable materials to attract the exhibitors with a need to show corporate responsibility on reducing waste and minimizing their footprint.

Brands Ambitious Agendas

Big brands like Nike, Walmart, Coca Cola have developed sustainability agendas that some may say are overly ambitious, however, for the likes of trade shows and exhibitions and other marketing initiatives that attract consumers, there is a clear directive within organizations to choose sustainably every time and turn down events that are not aligned with their corporate eco-friendly agenda.

Environment changes and developments in exhibition stands have trade show organisers keen to promote their support for using products that are less harmful to the planet.

Exhibits Go Green

Recyclable cardboard packaging and an innovative thermoformed packaging made from recyclable materials are now the ‘go-to’ products sought after by exhibition stand designers and their winning business from the more discerning exhibitors.

It’s not just the material of the exhibits, it’s also how they’re constructed, i.e. the stands need to be built or put together with less harmful solvents. The end to end solution also includes the transportation of the stands.

A lot of thought and consideration goes into the design and how the stands are then relocated from one trade show or exhibition to another.

Using smaller vehicles that are more energy efficient to move the exhibits reduces the carbon footprint, and this action is also a point of difference or USP for exhibit designers.

Switzerland EPI Rank 1

Switzerland is the most environmentally friendly country, according to the Environmental Performance Index. In 2014 the EPI ranked the UK in 12th place, and the US came in at 33rd according to Wikipedia. Therefore it’s no surprise that we also turn to Switzerland’s exhibition practices as the benchmark for sustainability says UK’s Quadrant2Design. Building modular stands has been a gamechanger for their environmental impact. They are space-saving, easy to transport, reusable and lightweight yet structurally sound.

Harking back to the genius of the Swiss, it was inventor Peter Peterson who designed a prestige modular exhibition stand solution in the 1970s that’s been still the foundation of what’s in use today. Of course, now more sustainable materials are used, and there have been some new design elements to meet the style of the 21 century. However, the fundamentals remain the same, presenting panoramic graphics and integrated digital displays.


With a new year on the horizon and many more exhibitions to attend and exhibit at, companies are reassured the trade show industry is also evolving its business as it grows in popularity.

Listening to and dovetailing their eco-friendly strategies with their partners, clients and consumers presents a real commitment to sustainable practices and thinking ‘environment first’.

While there are some clear leaders in green-friendly exhibits eventually, it will become the norm, and the only choice available as consumers insist on it.