The exhibition and display industry is notoriously wasteful, I was at the NEC recently just after a major exhibition and I looked around at the mess left behind by the exhibitors. It looked like a dumping ground, which got me thinking and inspired me to write this latest blog post on my top 5 tips for designing and building sustainable exhibition stands.
1. Choose Venues with Sustainability in Mind
This can be easier said than done if you need to attend a specific exhibition but definitely bear in mind if you are organising an event or conference. Some venues have great sustainability credentials for example the Business Design Centre in London is the first Carbon Neutral venue in the UK. You can also help reduce the carbon footprint of the event by choosing venues with great rail links for attendees.
2. Choose an Exhibition Stand Designer and Builder with Great Green Credentials
Look for an exhibition stand builder with a real commitment to sustainabilty and carbon reduction. Try to look past the blah blah blah and greenwashing that most companies want you to read in the paragraph of the “about us” section on their website which invariably states “we endeavour to minimise the impact on our environment“. Sustainability is more than just offering a greener and more sustainable stand/display option for example how much waste do they send to landfill and how do they actively try to reduce their carbon footprint?
3. Choose the Right the right type of Sustainable Exhibition Stands
Not so long ago it was common for stands to do one show and end up in the waste, the industry nicknamed these “build and burn stands”. Nowadays due to the popularity of different stand systems, thankfully it is less prevalent. So you need a stand? What are the options sustainable exhibition stands?
- Hire stands – Hire from the stand builder if you aren’t doing many shows this can be both cost effective and sustainable, also think about hiring floor covering from the approved venue contractor.
- Shell scheme – Take a booth from the venue and either hire or buy a shell wall display or populate it with portable display such as roller banners or pop ups.
- Modular – If you are doing enough exhibitions to warrant the purchase, modular can very sustainable as the stand can be reused and reconfigured many times.
- Custom – Large statement stands are usually custom and bespoke manufactured from timber. They can be costly so ensure they are designed with some flexibility in mind and can be used at more than one venue.
Make sure your stand is designed so most of the stand graphics can be reused at the next exhibition. Choose your stand print media’s wisely and ask questions about whether it contains recycled content or can be easily recycled. If you are using roller banners, try to buy the cartridge type where just the print media is replaced or use a cardboard banner. If you need more information on sustainable print medias head to the Green Planet section on our website. Minimise the amount of printed leaflets and brochures you give away by qualifying leads, its both cost effective and good for the enviroment.
5. Effective Planning and Logistics
This last one’s really important and can save time, money and the environment. Plan your stand build well in advance and list everything you’ll need for the exhibition from marketing materials to accommodation while you’re there. The number of times I’ve had panicked phone calls from clients on exhibition build up days asking for additional stand elements or print because they missed it off the brief or the order. Last minute manufacturing and print always costs more money and the environment due to additional resource and transport.
If you need help designing and building sustainable exhibition stands please call us on 01536 265823