What makes an event sustainable?

The careful use of resources is one of the most important tasks of business and society. In the trade show and event industry, sustainability is a very complex issue. Temporary events involve short set-up and dismantling times, with a wide variety of materials being used. In addition, there are diverse stakeholders with individual goals and demands.

If exhibitors are striving for a sustainable trade fair stand, the exact ecological requirements regarding reuse and energy consumption must be clarified in advance. On the one hand, there are a multitude of options, on the other hand, these often entail unexpected, undesirable consequences - such as in appearance or budget. How far is one willing to go for one's expectation? Does it fit with the brand's corporate identity and design?

Premium suppliers in particular found themselves in a field of tension in this respect with their goal of authentic, individual brand staging. It is foreseeable that the topic of sustainability will become increasingly important for corporate strategy and thus also for marketing and communication..

Strong differentiation is also an important competitive advantage, especially at trade shows, in the battle for visitors' attention. In fractions of a second, the visitor decides which stand to take a closer look at. The strategic use of digital media is often a good communicative and ecologically sensible solution.

Furthermore, some cornerstones should be defined before the concept is drawn up: Does one rely on reusable materials, sustainable products, rental furniture instead of individual production? Does the company plan to use furniture and special structures for several events?

At the end of the event, there is enormous time pressure for dismantling. This is particularly pronounced in Asia, which is also reflected in large mountains of waste. Valuable exhibits, technology and furniture are packed up properly, and the rest is pushed out of the halls by excavators. Extended dismantling periods, resource-saving use of materials, waste separation and recycling of raw materials are efforts that require the support of all partners.

However, design concept and engineering can also find ways to enable resource-efficient dismantling and refurbishment. This may require more time and therefore cost. A careful consideration of multiple uses, smart waste management and logistics efforts should be made in terms of sustainability and cost by all trade show partners.

There are also countless other sustainable activities, such as reducing electricity and water consumption. Is it necessary to see all machines live in action or is a virtual animation sufficient in some cases? For example, KECK uses only LED installations to illuminate its booth. Exhibitors could make their energy consumption publicly visible during the event and thus motivate themselves to set new goals.

Very important for any temporary construction are scalable, reusable subfloor structures and the use of exhibition construction systems such as the globally available and versatile Octanorm system. It provides the secure framework for individual presentations. This also conserves resources and budget.

A good example of this is the company Electra, just like KECK a member of the E3 Group, which was just awarded for the best sustainability initiative at the Global Grad Show. In coordination with the organizers, a modular system from the group was used without any panel cladding and at different heights. From planning to dismantling, the highest priority was also given to conserving resources and reducing waste.

The E3 Group and its companies are convinced that, together with our partners and customers, we will achieve more ecologically in the future. Joint efforts can also turn events into places of sustainability.