Thebe Exhibitions and Projects will ensure that all steps are in place towards a greener events industry in future. Managing director Carol Weaving says the company's greening policy will be further refined and presented to exhibitors as part of its marketing strategy.
“This includes recommending venues with a sound greening policy, monitoring the carbon footprint of events and implementing steps to counteract these, stepping up energy saving and fine-tuning waste management.
“To a large extent information dissemination to clients is done electronically, dramatically reducing the use of paper. At our offices, as at most events, recycling containers are used for waste paper. Scrap paper is used to make note pads. Our e-mail signatures also remind clients to consider the environment before printing.
“As regards established greening policies at venues that we use regularly, the Sandton Convention Centre has, for example, already received the Nedbank Green Trust Award and Fedhasa's Imvelo Award for energy management. Gallagher Estate separates and recycles waste, only runs emergency lighting in unused venues and cooling and heating systems only run during show times. At the ICC in Durban recycling bins are the order of the day and all waste is separated.
“For our flagship exhibition, Decorex, we are constantly putting the spotlight on and encouraging green design, green buildings, services and products. This year the Conversations on Architecture conference will have a green theme to spread awareness of current green issues among architects, interior designers and property developers. We also have a Best Green Stand Award for the exhibitor using the best green innovation on its stand, services and products. We are also investigating electronic ticketing.
“Hall décor, cladding, fascias and carpeting are re-used from show to show. Air-conditioning is only switched on during the show, not during build-up and break-down.”
Weaving says at this year's Gardenex show the carbon footprint will be determined and the carbon emissions offset, while ways are being determined to reduce the historical energy use of the exhibition and track improvement savings.
“Our waste reduction policy will be fine-tuned and waste will be re-used or recycled where possible. One of the exhibitors, Pick-it up, will be used to recycle waste into mulch.
“We are asking exhibitors and contractors to use less packaging and are providing a storage area for re-usable packaging. We are also requesting them to use water-based paints.”
Weaving says for the business tourism exhibition Meetings Africa in February and the World Holiday and Travel Fair later this year, exhibitor manuals are being replaced with discs. All service forms are being completed electronically and e-mailed. The visitors' catalogue for the World Holiday and Travel Fair will be inserted into The Star, which is printed on recycled paper.
“We will be using nylon drawstring bags with a lifespan way beyond the show, as compared to paper bags which are normally thrown away after the show. We also encourage sponsors to provide promotional items rather than paper elements. Exhibitors are also encouraged to refrain from distributing too many brochures from their stands.
“All package stands will have the option to reduce their carbon emissions by using only one light bulb as opposed to the two provided as part of the package.
“A greening policy should be applied as a matter of principle and not be seen as a burden. In many cases it is a matter of applying common knowledge, for example encouraging the use of one courier company per event could dramatically reduce motor traffic and the resultant carbon emissions.
“Moving away from a culture of waste to a culture of sustainability does not imply a lowering of standards, but creating a culture of responsibility to both people and the planet. To this, Thebe Exhibitions and Projects is committed,” says Weaving.