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Green Exhibiting

Trade Show Report on Green Exhibiting

Green Exhibiting

What do people think is Green exhibiting? How willing are exhibitors to consider Green exhibiting options? What keeps them from doing so? To help answer those questions and more, Skyline gladly helped sponsor an extensive new research study on Green exhibiting.
Here are some of the major findings:
Interest in Green Exhibiting Options is High and Growing

A majority of exhibitors (62%) and suppliers (81%) rated their personal interest in green exhibiting options as high or very high. And most exhibitors (62%) and suppliers (78%) say their interest will increase even further in the next 6 to 12 months.

What is driving this interest is more personal than professional. The top two reasons given, agreed upon by two-thirds of exhibitors, is that they Consider environmentally-friendly practices the right thing to do and that their Personal interest in environmental and social causes in general has increased. So its not so much that their bosses are telling them to go green, its more that they are doing it for themselves.
Adoption of Green Exhibiting Options is Expected to Grow

While 58% of exhibitors currently report that they spend some of their budget on Green options, exhibitors expect that to increase to 86% next year. The report identifies two sources of that growth: more formalized Green initiatives within exhibitors companies, and more suppliers expanding their Green offerings.
Price is the Primary Obstacle to Broader Adoption

If exhibitors could buy Green options that performed as well and cost the same as traditional options, an overwhelming 89% said they would do so.

However, as the price difference increases, support falls drastically:
If Green Options Cost: Percent Willing to Buy Green

  • 5% more 73%
  • 10% more 43%
  • 15% more 14%
  • 20% more 6%
  • 25% more 3%

Other Significant Obstacles Exist

Beyond cost, exhibitors cite several obstacles to increased adoption. Here are the main objections:

  1. Lack of variety in Green options available
  2. Too small a supplier pool providing Green options
  3. Lack of metrics to quantify the business impact of Green

Several Incentives Could Influence Exhibitors To Switch To Green Options

Exhibitors would be more likely to switch to a Green option for a number of reasons. The three most popular reasons were:

  1. Green option offered an upgrade in usability over traditional solutions. Editors note: custom modular exhibit owners get the considerable added benefit of greater flexibility compared to traditional custom exhibits.
  2. Management had a personal interest in Green exhibiting.
  3. We had metrics to determine Green options quantifiable business benefit.”

There is a Substantial Disconnect Between Exhibitors and Vendors on What Constitutes Green

As the report states, One of the most significant obstacles to broader adoption of Green exhibiting options is that theres little agreement on what is truly Green. Overall, exhibitors surveyed tended to value Green factors more than the suppliers surveyed.

The report takes steps to provide consensus by surveying exhibitors and suppliers what they consider Green. The survey found that a products makeup and design are among the top-rated factors in determining a products Greenness.

The number one Green factor? Exhibitors top-rated factor for determining a products Greenness is that the product is designed in such a way that its more efficient to ship.”

That makes sense. Exhibits ship across the country many times a year over several years. The carbon emissions generated by exhibit transport add up considerably. Exhibits that ship more efficiently can have a substantial effect in reducing carbon emissions and helping reduce global warming.

The survey concludes that although adoption of Green exhibiting options has been low so far, fast growing interest will propel greater use of Green options, providing that vendors can overcome the obstacles of price, variety, and awareness.

Custom Modular Exhibits: Worth (27 times) Their Weight In (Carbon Emissions Reduction) Gold

It may surprise you just how much an effect lightweight modular exhibits can have. Consider this: By shipping a 20 x 30 foot custom modular exhibit (rather than a 20 x 30 traditional custom exhibit) to just one show reduces by nearly 2 times its own weight the amount of CO2 going into the atmosphere. That one-show carbon emission reduction is more than a car owner switching to a hybrid car for a year.

What about over the exhibits lifetime? If that exhibitor uses a 20 x 30 custom modular exhibit at 3 shows a year for 5 years, that reduces by 62,299 pounds, or 27 times the exhibit’s weight, the amount of carbon emissions, from going into the atmosphere! Your own potential carbon emission reduction will vary according to your number of shows, show locations, and booth sizes.

Based on these calculations, you can make a profound difference in reducing carbon emissions simply by choosing a custom modular exhibit over a traditional custom exhibit. To understand how this is possible, see the detailed calculation steps below.

Here’s the math — and the sources to get to that eye-opening (and carbon-reducing) conclusion:

#1. A pound of material transported by truck causes .00033 pounds of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere (
#2. If an exhibitor in Chicago ships a 20 x 30 exhibit to a Las Vegas show, it would be 3,496 miles round trip (Source: Google Maps)
#3. Weight of a traditional custom 20 x 30 exhibit (9.9 pounds per square foot X 600 square feet) = 5,940 pounds (Source: “Trend to Custom Modular Exhibits,” Tradeshow Week Magazine)
#4. Weight of a custom modular 20 x 30 exhibit (3.9 pounds per square foot X 600 square feet) = 2,340 pounds (Source: “Trend to Custom Modular Exhibits,” Tradeshow Week Magazine)
#5. Carbon emissions moving traditional custom exhibit (calculated by multiplying #1, #2, and #3) = 6,876 pounds
#6. Carbon emissions moving custom modular exhibit (calculated by multiplying #1, #2 and #4) = 2,709 pounds
#7. One-show reduction in carbon emissions with custom modular exhibit (calculated by subtracting #6 from #5) = 4,167 pounds
#8. Multiples of weight of a custom modular exhibit itself that carbon emissions are reduce by shipping custom modular exhibit instead of traditional custom exhibit (calculated by dividing #7 by #4 = 1.8 times reduction
#9. Life-time carbon emission reduction of custom modular exhibit, if used 3 times a year for 5 years (calculated by multiplying #7 by 15) = 62,299 pounds or over 31 tons
#10. Multiples of its own weight in lower carbon emissions for a custom modular exhibit, assuming 3 uses a year for 5 years (calculated by multiplying #8 times 15) = 27 times its own weight in carbon emissions reductions
#11. Driving a hybrid passenger car instead of a small gas car reduces CO2 emissions by 3,880 pounds a year (
#12. Multiples of reduction from one show use compared to switching to a hybrid car: 1.07 (calculated by dividing #7 by #11)

Source: Skyline Displays Knowledge Resources


2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 No GreenWashing // Feb 3, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Some day there will be green trade show displays made out of bamboo with graphics that are made from water based dyes and pack into corrugated cardboard tubes for shipping. Then we will have totally green exhibits, and I bet the green future for exhibiting is not too far away!

  • 2 Think Green Displays // Feb 23, 2009 at 4:45 am

    The future is already here when it comes to sustainable trade show displays, our aluminum is 75% recycled and our fabric graphics are made out of recycled pop bottles. There are also other earth friendly materials available like sorghum board we make our counters with so green exhibiting is not just a pipe dream.

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