I was speaking with someone last week who said she was “sick of hearing about going green.” I can sympathize — not a day goes by that I don’t hear about a new green show, an existing show that’s launching a green pavilion, hotels adopting green practices, booths that are eco-friendly, suppliers enhancing their recycling efforts or convention centers reducing their carbon footprints. But in all honesty, I think this is more than just a trend. I think green is going to be a new way of life. I also think, in our industry, we’ve only just begun. (In fact, most of you haven’t yet begun.)
As consumer demand for green goods and practices increases, more corporations will institute green policies. And you can bet these green mandates will trickle down to the trade show and event departments. A recent study by Event Marketer (EXPO’s sister publication covering the corporate event industry) indicated that 41 percent of event marketers will be implementing green initiatives within the event function in the next 12 months. (Fifty-nine percent said they’ll do so as a result of corporate responsibility mandates.) What will you say when your exhibitors ask to see your sustainability statement?
Governmental regulation won’t be far behind either. The Environmental Protection Agency has identified the trade show and convention industry as the second most wasteful in the United States. The problem, of course, will be confusion in the marketplace. There are no standards for what’s “green.” What’s green in one state will no doubt be different from the next.