Geneva. More than 40 participants from 12 countries have attended a conference in Geneva focusing on sustainability in the exhibition industry. The event, organized by UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, and hosted by UFI Member Palexpo, focused on best practices. Speakers included Rashid Toefy, CEO of Cape Town International Convention Centre (South Africa), winner of the UFI 2013 award on “Best reporting on sustainability” and Justin Hawes, Managing Director, Scan Display, Johannesburg (South Africa), winner of the UFI 2013 award on “Best environmental initiative”.
UFI released at the meeting the first edition of a report designed to assess the status of sustainability in the exhibition industry. This report, freely downloadable at www.ufi.org/susdev, identifies key elements such as the current perception of sustainability in the industry, which companies have implemented what and when, together with the barriers and challenges encountered. UFI’s goal is to update this research regularly to highlight the progress over the coming years.
The importance of all parties involved in the value chain working together was highlighted by different speakers and Fiona Pelham, Managing Director of Positive Impact, presented a template developed in partnership with UFI to encourage the reporting on sustainability in the exhibition industry. Michael Duck, Executive Vice President, UBM Asia (Hong Kong) and Chair of the UFI Sustainable Development Committee declared: “Implementing sustainability across the organization is one of UBM’s priorities and one of the challenges is indeed to have all parties involved. I am glad to announce that we are going to start using the UFI template with our stakeholders in order to jointly report on our APLF event (Materials, Manufacturing & Technology; Fashion Access) which takes place in Hong Kong in March 2014.”
Paul Woodward, UFI Managing Director commented: “A focus on sustainability is definitely on the rise and the fact that many of the largest companies of the exhibition industry are present here today is encouraging. One of our mission statements is to serve our members by promoting, encouraging and supporting sustainability within the exhibition industry, thus becoming a reference point for best practice, tools, standards and learning. The material produced for this event by all the sustainability champions present here today, which will soon be available in our UFI Education Centre, surely represents an excellent opportunity for all to learn on this challenging topic.”