UFI’s Community Manager
UK based Fresh Montgomery is serious about sustainability. Their definition of a sustainable organization is “How an organization continues to run its activities in a commercially successful way whilst contributing towards a stronger and more just society and reducing its impact on the environment.” Keeping the organization on track is Janice Edmunds, Operations Director and presenter at the upcoming UFI Sustainable Development Focus Meeting, On December 11th, in Geneva. I spoke to Janice about her upcoming presentation.
What was your rationale for including exhibitors and visitors in your sustainable initiatives?
Engaging with your ‘interested parties’ means that in some instances we can hopefully encourage exhibitors and visitors to take sustainability ideas into their other company activities.
How successful have your attempts to include exhibitors and visitors been?
In our exhibitor and visitor research, we ask specific questions related to sustainability. For example one question we now ask in all our Exhibitor Research is “Did your company consciously consider sustainability or environmental issues when planning your presence at the fair?” At our Speciality and Fine Food Exhibition in September, 2012, 31% of exhibitors answered ‘yes’ to this question. Although this doesn’t appear very high at the moment, our Goal is to get it up to 100% sustainable.
As far as visitors are concerned, the part they can directly play in helping our event be more sustainable is limited. We can suggest sustainable ways to travel to the event and encourage them to use recycling bins when they are there and we have tried to engage them in thinking about being more sustainable within their own businesses.
We have developed used a number of different initiatives including A Sustainability Tree, A Save and Sustain Carbon Calculator and industry specific educational seminars.
Relating all this back to our ISO 20121 registration, it can satisfy a number of criteria including; ‘Leadership and Commitment’, ‘Communication’ and ’Event Sustainability Objectives and how to achieve them’.
What advice would you give to other organizers who are considering expanding your sustainable efforts to all stakeholders?
Looking at the principles of the ISO 20121 Standard, two key criteria – leadership and continual improvement – stand out. By engaging with your interested parties, you are demonstrating leadership and have a much greater opportunity to continually improve. There is also the added incentive that these stakeholders could introduce more sustainable activities at other events they exhibit at and within their own businesses.
This UFI Focus Meeting is open to all exhibition professionals. For the full programme and to register online just click here: www.ufi.org/geneva2013