Is your stand design eco-friendly?

It’s your home for the time that you’re exhibiting and by the end of the show you’ll know every square inch of it. But when everyone has gone home, have you ever considered what happens to your stand? Does all that time and money really end up in the bin? No, it doesn’t. Here are six things to consider if creating a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly exhibition stand is important to your business.

Choose reusable stand components

Modular exhibition stands are an efficient, cost-effective and eco-friendly option for businesses that attend one or more trade events each year. From the walls to the floors, every component is reusable, reconfigurable and recyclable, enabling total flexibility for environmentally-friendly exhibiting. You can either use the same graphics panels or update the design to suit your purpose. So as well as saving money you also reduce the amount of waste at the end of every show. And if you only exhibit once a year or less, consider hiring a modular stand rather than buying as you’ll effectively be re-using the item and keeping it out of landfill

Plan your design with the future in mind

If you think of your stand as a series of individual modular components, it is easier to design something that can be adapted to each exhibition space. With careful design planning, components can slot together in countless ways allowing you to keep the overall look and feel of your stand without compromising on quality. As well as cutting down on cost and wastage, planning your stand builds in this way also helps reduce petrol usage and delivery costs. With one stand in the van you can take fewer trips back to your storage location.

Reduce paper and ink – go digital

Instead of handing out the equivalent of a small forest at each show, some larger exhibitors invest in the development of a custom interactive lead capture system that makes it easier to gather visitor information and contact details. If it doesn’t make good business sense to invest in such a system, you can start being ‘greener’ by staying paperless and inviting visitors to scan a QR code that links to an online PDF, use a tablet of smartphone to send a link directly to the inbox or hand out your information pack on a USB drive. And if you do have to use paper, choose a recycled brand or paper sourced from a sustainable forest. So while you’re protecting the environment, you’ll also be saving money and improving your business credentials.

Cut your fuel use

Transport and fuel are one of the highest costs for exhibitors. In particular, bulky stands are often complicated to transport and therefor increase the cost every time they’re used at a show. The benefit of modern modular exhibition stands is that many of them can be flat-packed, taking up considerably less space when delivered and stored. And if you’re really serious about reducing your carbon footprint and saving additional costs, store your stand in a location which is central to all of your branches – saving on the costs of hiring storage space, fuel and the duplication of components.

Choose your materials wisely

As in everyday life, some materials used in exhibitions stands are more environmentally-friendly than others. For example, using low-energy items – those made from recycled and/or recyclable materials, those which are locally produced, and those without toxic finishes to them and so on. Lighting an exhibition stand can be hugely expensive so why not consider trying to create a similar effect using a combination of low-energy lighting and light-dispersing fabrics? During the design and planning stage, consider the environmental properties of each component and how much of an environmental impact they have. Ask questions such as h how easy is it to transport? And when you’ve finished using it will it just be thrown into landfill or can it be recycled or upcycled?

Always ask questions

Following on from the previous point, if you want to lower the environmental impact of your exhibition stand you should always ask questions – of yourself and your suppliers. When designing the stand, consider whether every individual component is necessary, and whether you could do without it or reach a compromise. Ask your suppliers whether or not they have an environmental policy and whether they source and use recycled or recyclable materials, do they recycle their own waste, or do they have a carbon offset scheme. If you want to be an environmentally-conscientious business and boost your green credentials to your stakeholders and customers, then the materials and logistics involved in the design, build and transportation involved with your exhibition stand is a good place to start.

Smart man with glasses in black and whiteTom Rigby, Author

For over 20 years, Tom Rigbyhas helped businesses across the UK to find their voice and communicate their messages, in print and online, whether they want to generate sales, attract customers, inform stakeholders, educate the public or persuade them to join a cause. He is a published author and occasional contributor to a number of publications.

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