What impact do expos have on the environment?

Every exhibition is making their mark on the earth, and it’s not a positive one.

After construction, the trade show industry is the second largest waste-producing industry in the world

It’s time to start understanding the impact you’re having and the challenges you present as the exhibitor. 

Let’s be clear, waste goes beyond the single use items including flyers, samples, packaging, stands. Have you considered the impact of attendees? One attendee accounts for nearly 10kgs of waste at each event. The two primary reasons our industry continues to cost the earth is largely due to the perception of sustainability (or lack thereof) and the challenge of working with exhibitors. Whether your stand is a 2 x 2 along the back wall, or a 9 x 9 in the centre aisle, every exhibitor plays their part when it comes to scarring the earth, and here is some insight into how much impact this is having.

Perception of sustainability. 

Did you know that the highest amount of waste to be produced at an event is from the assembly of exhibition stands? This means it’s your responsibility as an exhibitor, to make a change. A recent study looked at the perception of an exhibition’s impact on the environment, after interviewing 7000 visitors and exhibitors. The findings were incredible: 

  • 8% of exhibitors perceived that exhibition stands created the largest environmental impact;
  • Only 53% of respondents were aware that exhibitions produce significant environmental impacts; and
  • Only 8% considered exhibition stands to have a significant environmental impact;

What does this mean? Exhibitors and visitors are unaware of the impact they have on the environment. If they are unaware of the impact, no change can be made. 

Now you are aware…

Are you aware, you are one of the challenges?

Whilst the impact is understood by some, challenges are still apparent for industry leaders when it comes to the implementation of sustainable practices. Exhibitors play a strong role in these challenges and here’s how: 

  • Exhibition Stands including, the use of environmentally damaging materials e.g., wood which is heavy and bulky, a lack of understanding regarding; sustainable suppliers, alternative sustainable materials, the cost of sustainable materials, and the appropriate disposal of stands.
  • Engaging Stakeholders including the understanding that in order for real change to happen all players in the exhibitions ecosystem need to play their part to meaningfully address waste management challenges.
  • Working with exhibitors and visitors to primarily educate and raise awareness around the impact and approaches for sustainable practices. 


77% of the population now sees environmental damage as a serious concern. Now is the time to reduce your
company’s carbon footprint. Over the coming weeks we will dissect how your company can help rescue the carbon footprint of trade shows.

Love what you’ve learnt, but still not sure where to start? Speak with one of our expert team members today.


Let's collaborate

Ready to get started?

Start the conversation with our team by completing this form.

Let's collaborate

Ready to get started?

Start the conversation with our team by completing this form.