The global Meetings and Trade Shows (MICE) Industry is currently under a compelling obligation to trim a sizeable chunk of waste it generates, thereby scaling down its negative impact on the environment, making the planet a better, more sustainable place to live. Shekhar, Editor MICE INDIA presses for a strategic vision and prompt solution towards a looming mammoth environmental threat
Shekhar | Editor | MICE INDIA | 3 December 2017
The Meetings and Trade Shows Industry has fairly and squarely been blamed for being one of the largest producers of waste. In the US alone the industry shockingly generates in excess of 600,000 tons of waste every year. Leading Industry trade shows like the IMEX and IBTM in the past have generated in excess of 200 tons of waste from the show floor in a three day event.
For an industry which has demonstrated the world, the power of meetings, the power of networking and transacting at a common business platform, producing waste of this size, is all the signs of irresponsible behavior towards the environment.
Sustainability – Top five contributors to waste
The top five largest contributors to waste generation in the Meetings and Trade Show Industry are (and no surprises here)
BUSINESS AMMUNITION AND COLLATERAL’S: Probably the largest generators of waste in any Meeting and Trade Show are the business collaterals, the exhibiting partners bring along for distribution to delegates. And these do not take shape and form of Brochures only, but include all promotional give-aways like Pens, Bags, Diaries, Calendars, Planners and the likes; many of which are left behind by the exhibitor at the venues, owing to huge costs associated with shipping them back. The new-age exhibitor is scaling to USBs and electronic forms of data distribution, while the promo products are now things of past.
FOOD: Undoubtedly, one amongst the top five, is Food and Water; Fruit and Nuts; Beverages, Beer, Wine and Spirits; and includes Food Supplies, Cutlery, Tissue Papers and the likes. Food has the highest tendency in terms of wastage at Meetings and the same is true for Water. Keeping this wastage in the background, the show organizer is switching to collaborating with a Food partner/NGO/Charity for donating all left-over food at the end of the day.
AIR TRAVEL: Though Air Travel is the largest contributor in terms of CO2 emissions, but for the Meetings Industry that demands a face-to-face interaction, Air Travel remains unavoidable; but delegates are now being encouraged to take direct flights; walk to the venue from the hotel; and use public transport for intra-city and inter-city commuting.
FABRICATION AND SIGNAGES: The usage of Paints and Chemicals for booth design were the first to be shown a red card, as they generate maximum negative impact on the environment; the exhibitors are now encouraged to design Green Exhibits, use Modular Structures, alternate wood, use recyclable props-products-furniture and use reusable carpets and tiles.
ENERGY AND WATER: Energy consumption at Meetings and Trade Shows is huge; early steps for conservation have helped reduce consumption significantly; the washrooms have become intelligent and the urinals have gone smart; so have the walkways and aisles; but still a long way to go when it comes to energy conservation.
(P.S.: The above 5 not necessarily in any order)
Sustainability – The intelligent eco-system
The efforts on part of each member within the Meetings and Trade Show eco-system are laudable (and no doubts about that). Donating for Charity and promoting Inclusivity have been acknowledged as one of the most notable steps taken by the industry; Concept of creating ramps for the differently-abled has also been highly praiseworthy.
Since IMEX and IBTM had identified the significance of Sustainability at the early stages and have been hyper-active on the issue ever since, they have been able to bring down the negative impact the sector generates, to a large extent.
Each of the members have a gone a step further than the obvious, to generate more value and the endeavors have now started bearing fruit. A long-term strategic vision, a commitment, and prompt action is desired to make mother earth a better planet to live.