UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, has announced the results of its 2017 Sustainable Development Award. Due to the high standard of entries submitted, the judges could not agree on a single winner. Instead, UFI awarded six companies the title of “Best Practice for Sustainable Exhibiting” – including exhibition display specialist, Scan Display.
Scan Display’s entry was the Sustainability Village it designed and built for South African Tourism’s trade show, Meetings Africa 2017. Scan Display consulted and worked closely with the Event Greening Forum (EGF), a non-profit organisation that promotes sustainable event practices, to ensure it could create and implement its sustainability goals effectively.
The Village was a responsible gifting solution for the show. Typically, gifts would be pre-purchased for hosted guests, but the Sustainability Village enabled the recipients to select their own gifts using gift cards.
Justin Hawes, MD of Scan Display, explains, “Large scale gifting is impersonal and hard to get right. Unfortunately it can result in unwanted gifts. The Sustainability Village offers a greener alternative where guests can select locally produced, handcrafted items that are uniquely suited to their style, tastes and needs, and which they will treasure for years to come.”
The UFI Sustainable Development Committee looks for exhibition companies that strive for economic, social and environmental sustainability, with respect to both their exhibition infrastructure and its related operations. Scan Display addressed all of these criteria through the Sustainability Village.
The vendors selected for the Sustainability Village were all small businesses operating within a 50km radius of the event. Many actively create skills development and job opportunities for previously disadvantaged individuals, ensuring any economic benefits they receive flow into their communities.
To minimise the environmental impact of the Sustainability Village, Scan Display designed modular structures and flooring which are easy to re-use in different configurations. Hawes says, “We have already re-used the Sustainability Village concept and infrastructure at a number of events this year: Meetings Africa, Africa’s Travel Indaba, the Event Greening Forum Conference, and will use it again for the upcoming Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) Congress in July.”
Additionally, renewable energy was purchased for the show, and trees were planted to offset its carbon footprint.
This is not the first time UFI has acknowledged Scan Display in this way. In 2013 it awarded Scan Display the “Best Innovative Environmental Initiative” Sustainable Development Award, for the Climate Change Response Expo at the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17).
Of the six 2017 winners, three are South African companies. “I’m so proud to see South Africa having such strong representation on this global platform,” says Hawes. “In our country we tend to think that we are trailing the rest of the world, but this shows that we are leaders.”
Details of the six winners, as well as those selected in the first round of the competition, are available for download at www.ufi.org/sdaward.