One of the most important responsibilities of business and society at large is to use resources wisely. Sustainability is therefore a must for every company and every member of the public. Sustainability in the trade fair sector is a complex matter. Major reasons for this include the short duration of the events, the wide range of materials used and the not inconsiderable time pressure during the set-up and take-down phases.
The concentration of business contacts at trade fairs is considerably better for the environment than talks at different times and places.
The trade fair sector also covers a wide range of active players, who interact with each other but often exert only a small amount of mutual influence. In addition to site operators, fair organisers, exhibitors and visitors, a large number of service partners are involved. Their activities range from constructing stands to providing transport and accommodation. Could, for example, trade fair organisers not only require but also monitor sustainable practices on the part of their customers and exhibitors? That hardly seems possible.
Trade fairs allow a wide range of target groups to achieve their goals at the same time. A fair with 100,000 visitors and 1,000 exhibitors will enable an average of one or two million talks in just a few days. Based on total emissions levels, a fair would surely be better for the environment than the same number of talks at different locations with the associated high consumption of resources needed to travel.
All of the trade fair sites organised through AUMA try to undergo modernisation on a regular basis in order to continue systematically implementing their internal sustainability strategies and to put sustainable processes into practice. Even though there are doubtless outstanding individual examples of successful sustainable work at German trade fairs, such efforts do not reflect competition among companies to position themselves, but should instead be seen as a concerted attempt on the part of the German trade fair industry to establish the country as a “place of sustainability” in the industry.
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