EXHIBITING- July/ August 2010 www. exhibitingmagazine. co. uk 17 environmental feature " I bought my first cardboard display stand 16 years ago. It looked like one of those models you used to get off the back of a cornflakes packet, all interlocking tabs and complicated folds which meant that, once built, it stayed that way. The fact that you had to throw it away once it had been dismantled a few times, as the tabs had gone floppy and no longer interlocked correctly, rather undermined the sustainability of the thing. Luckily, we've moved on since then. For quite a number of years, the exhibition industry seemed to be trying to ignore the wider move towards a greener, more sustainable business culture. Huge custom- built stands, graphics used once and then carted off to landfill, box- loads of literature, massive energy and transport costs and tons and tons of waste. When the Environment Agency launched its first national conference in 2002, questions like whether a venue's waste was separated out for disposal or recycling, whether food was locally sourced and whether we really needed all that packaging on sandwich lunches were seen as vaguely unreasonable, even eccentric. But things did start to change. The Agency published its first Greener Events Guide, which provided our own people with broad guidelines on how to make our events more sustainable. None of it was rocket science. It started from the premise that it was easier and better to move things forward in small, simple steps rather than a series of all- or- nothing demands. And, while you would expect an organisation like the Agency to take the lead on this, there were strong signs that the industry was taking it more seriously too. Whether this was down to commercial pressures, the so- called green consumerism, or because of a deeper recognition that it was the right thing to do, is a moot point. What can't be denied is that companies demonstrated it was possible to make money from sustainable products for exhibitors, like recycled merchandise, bamboo and fabric display units, ethical catering and so on. I have also been encouraged by conversations with some of the larger ' exhibition kit' manufacturers, who genuinely seem committed to making their operations, as well as their products, as sustainable as possible. The Agency has a number of advantages in developing and Events manager of the Environment Agency Chris Emmersongives Exhibitingtips on how to drive down your exhibiting carbon footprint. Going greeneron the show floor Information points can now be housed in recyclable foamex or cardboard cases " As a large government agency, with nationally negotiated contracts, we can bring more influence to bear on suppliers and contractors"
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