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Shelton Fleming Associates
Shand House
14-20 Shand Street
United Kingdom

Registered in England 1647866

+44 20 7378 7021



Re-imagining sustainable exhibitions

Global trade shows were one of the biggest casualties of the pandemic. But that disruption will be a walk-in-the-park compared to the crackdown carbon policies, activists and a climate-savvy public will impose in the coming years.

Exhibiting has been carbon-intensive. Travel and trucking over far-flung geographies, opaque supply chains, mass-catering, unmonitored waste management, energy-intensive production processes, and multimedia intensive demos, light shows, vast videos walls, and extravagant launch theatrics ramp emissions.

It’s a challenging situation for exhibitors but far from bleak.

Innovation, creativity, and transparency provide a surprisingly effective climate pivot.

Travel, energy use, and catering are the three biggest challenges for exhibitors. Consider these steps.

  1. Design with re-use in mind
  2. Use recycled materials
  3. Design with local contractor capabilities in mind
  4. Use local contractors to reduce crew travel and trucking distances
  5. Bring the company’s thought leaders in via Portl, a teleporting, hologram technology that avoids travel. I know sounds ‘very-Star Wars’ but it is cool tech. And Portl 2.0, works
  6. Integrate videoconferencing screens into demos so fewer booth staff need to travel
  7. Design the booth a broadcast studio so the message can reach a wider and the opportunity to engage stakeholders from the wider business ecosystem at the event can be part of the company’s narrative… plus this optimises audience reach
  8. Consider using demos powered by solar, bio-fuel generators, or batteries using renewable energy sources
  9. Select staff accommodation near the exhibition halls
  10. Curate menus using sustainably sourced suppliers… vegetarian/plant placed foods aren’t a must if the fish or animal husbandry is sustainably managed to minimise GHG emissions

It’s an exciting time for exhibitors and designers. The climate and ESG agendas provide the perfect catalyst for fresh thinking and innovation. The move to re-usable, hybrid exhibition booths – blending broadcast streaming suite with in-person demos and VVIP hospitality – broadens audience reach and impact.