Minimizing Your Environmental Footprint: Best Practices for Sustainable Stand Construction

June 10, 2024

With the global business events and trade show industry facing increasing pressure to move in a more sustainable direction, three industry associations teamed up to offer clear and actionable guidance to help exhibiting companies and exhibit builders reduce their environmental impacts and promote responsible practices. 


Big picture: In May, the Experiential Designers and Producers Association (EDPA), the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA) and the Events Industry Council (EIC) released the EDPA, ESCA, and EIC Sustainability Guidance for Exhibition Stand Construction, which is designed to offer practical suggestions and best practices that companies can implement to enhance their sustainable operations.


Why it matters: Tailored to meet the unique needs and challenges faced by the different industry verticals served by each association’s membership, the guide covers various facets of event planning and execution, including waste reduction, energy conservation, responsible sourcing and community engagement, and aligns with the EIC Sustainable Event Standards.


EDPA Executive Director Dasher Lowe

What they’re saying: “Amidst the evolution of event experiences, we must prioritize sustainability at every stage of planning and execution,” explained EDPA Executive Director Dasher Lowe. “Our partnership with ESCA and EIC represents a crucial step in driving this transformation, setting new benchmarks and inspiring our industry peers to embrace sustainability wholeheartedly. The guidance aims to minimize environmental footprints and foster a culture of awareness and responsibility among event professionals.”


How it works: The guidance will also be added as a supporting resource for EIC’s Sustainable Event Standards, which are a collection of eight specific standards that assess events and industry suppliers on a wide range of sustainability criteria in support of environmental and social responsibility. Through these standards, organizations can receive third-party audited certification.


Looking ahead: Members, industry partners and stakeholders are invited to review the guidance, envision practical implementation and offer feedback to help the guidance continually evolve and adapt to the ever-changing business event landscape, according to association officials. The three organizations also anticipate their members will embrace and champion the sustainability guidance and help pave the way for a more environmentally conscious future.


ESCA Executive Director Julie Kagy

Contractor perspective: “There is significant momentum among our members and the industry at large, who are increasingly committed to sustainable practices,” said ESCA Executive Director Julie Kagy. “This is fueled by a shared understanding of the environmental impacts we face together. The guide encourages everyone to begin their sustainability journey, no matter where they stand. It’s about taking that first step, engaging in open dialogues, and building an inclusive environment where we can all learn from each other’s experiences. I’m excited about the conversations this guide will inspire and the positive changes it will catalyze.”


The details: Sustainability assurance services firm Reduce 2 served as the technical writer for the initiative, closely collaborating with EDPA, ESCA and EIC in crafting the guidance. “Our team is committed to leveraging expertise and insights to ensure this guidance reflects the highest standards in sustainability practices,” said Reduce 2 CEO Glenn Hansen, who is a member of UFI's sustainability and audit committee. “We believe that by providing clear, actionable guidance, we can empower industry members to create impactful, environmentally conscious events that resonate with audiences while minimizing the collective footprint on the planet.”


EIC President & CEO Amy Calvert

What’s next: EIC President and CEO Amy Calvert said the new guidance not only represents an important milestone in the event industry’s journey toward environmental responsibility but also in the ongoing commitment of all three organizations to drive positive change within the events industry. “The guide provides nuanced and informed solutions in this key aspect of our practice,” Calvert said. “As advocates for the global business events community, EIC is proud to endorse the comprehensive guidance, which will undoubtedly assist our sector in implementing conscientious and eco-conscious experiences for our events and exhibitions.”


Access the complimentary EDPA, ESCA, and EIC Sustainability Guidance for Exhibition Stand Construction guide here.

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