Sustainability In Not Only About Being Green


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Blogger: Stephanie Selesnick, President of International Trade Information, Inc

Last month I had the opportunity to attend two UFI conferences in Singapore: the UFI Educational Forum on Sustainability 2017 and the UFI Open Seminar in Asia. They were both excellent events featuring top-notch speakers and education.

It was my first time attending the annual Sustainability Seminar and found it quite interesting. Being from the Western United States and now living in Las Vegas (trade show capital of the country), I thought sustainability was the same as “being green”. In other words, most conversations I’ve seen on the subject are about, “How can we as an industry create less waste and recycle more?”

The seminar certainly covered that and more. Singapore is a great example of sustainability done right! It’s a working model all of our cities, states, provinces and countries should be emulating.

What I found fascinating is the idea of sustaining human capital beyond the trade show floor. What are exhibition organizations doing to help the communities where they work and/or hold expos (give back). Did you know one organizer gives 2 days off (paid) for employees to volunteer time for a charity of their choice using their work skill set? Others give paid time off to volunteer any way they choose. This goes far beyond giving leftovers to food banks or donating carpet to a worthwhile organization.

Another way exhibition organizers and suppliers are working on sustaining their workforce is by education. Some of it is provided in house, some is provided by industry organizations.

UFI is doing its part to sustain and develop the Next Generation of Leadership via the NGL grant. Last year’s inaugural edition brought together five young exhibition professionals from as many countries to exchange ideas and research where they see the future of our business going. Their insightful conclusions were presented at the annual UFI Congress in Shanghai, China. Go to www.ufi.tv to view their session.

Applications are now available (ending March 26). I urge all of you to share this with young, talented colleagues. This year’s winners (up to five) will meet at the UFI European Conference in Cologne, Germany this May for an intensive workshop, then present a special session on the future of exhibitions, at the UFI Global Congress in Johannesburg, South Africa.

How can you make your exhibition and organization more sustainable?

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