Flights. Shipping. Bottled water. Signage. Handouts. The environmental impact of trade shows adds up, and Expo West is no exception.
But we don’t have to be happy about it, and we don’t have to accept the status quo.
New Hope Network launched its official sustainability program in 2016. This meant stepping up the tracking of metrics across the show’s impacts to better identify, understand and address them and to achieve improvement each year. Of particular focus are waste management, energy and water conservation, sustainable procurement, and community engagement.
New Hope has partnered with the Anaheim Convention Center and GES to increase sustainable offerings, and with key sponsors to address offsets and help create more sustainable options.
Usage and offsets
A quick look at impacts from Natural Products Expo West 2018 shows Anaheim Convention Center energy consumption at 895,896 kWh of electricity and 5,904 therms of natural gas. Water was slurped, gulped, flushed and otherwise consumed to the volume of 1,130,000 gallons.
To offset these and other impacts, 310,392 kWh of solar energy were produced on site, 129 tons of waste were recycled and composted and best of all, nearly 75 tons of food were donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. An additional 4 tons of furniture and booth items were donated to Habitat for Humanity.
What you can do
Another huge potential step toward a sustainable expo is in the collective tiny actions of the estimated 88,000 attendees. Here are 6 small but powerful actions to consider.
- A remarkable 91 percent of Expo West’s carbon impact comes from attendee travel. New Hope Network partnered with South Pole to offset staff travel and energy consumption at the event venue. You can, too!
- Expo days are long, and long showers may seem therapeutic. But maybe just don’t. With a couple hundred thousand showers supporting a fresh expo, a lot of water can be saved by keeping showers short. (Hint: start practicing this at home so you’re ready next week.)
- Turn off lights and thermostat when leaving your hotel room. (Yup, this is another one that works pretty well at home.)
- If exhibiting, be sure to power down your booth at the end of each show day.
- Carpool or take public transport to and from the airport and lodging.
- Make a pledge to take steps you can take as a commitment to a sustainable expo. Look for the sustainability booth outside the north hall for more ideas.