At KOP, we have been committed to making stand construction more sustainable since 2016. In our designs we do this by making conscious material choices and thinking about reuse after the fair. In addition, we like to talk with customers, stand builders and exhibition organizations to create more awareness and share knowledge. And this works! In recent years, the demand for sustainable stand construction from companies has increased enormously, and exhibition organizations are also taking concrete steps to reduce their footprint.
A good example is PROVADA, the largest real estate exchange in the Netherlands. They are making great strides when it comes to sustainability. Every year we build various stands at PROVADA, including the sustainable stand of Rabobank. This stand was exhibited for the fourth time at the fair. We were curious about the steps PROVADA has taken in the field of sustainability, so we spoke to Frederike Lengers, marketing manager at PROVADA.
The PROVADA organization wants to reduce the ecological footprint of the event to zero. This is an ambitious goal. With the theme of 2022, Act Now for a better tomorrow, they put themselves, but also the suppliers, exhibitors and stand builders under the sustainable loupe.
“Of course we are very future-oriented, but the future is already here,” says Frederike. She asks every supplier, exhibitor and builder to put forward their own “Act Now”. What steps are they taking towards circularity? “We see that the entire sector is working towards sustainability. That is what the route is, the circular route.”
This circular route is a travel guide in which companies identify their circular activities in ten concrete steps. To clarify this in a simple way, PROVADA mapped out a route on the exhibition floor. Visitors could walk along with the circular experience of Route Circulair. This organization works together with PROVADA to demonstrate the sustainability drive during the exhibition. Visitors are given a text and explanation of the steps to be taken within sustainability, while they walk past various examples. Information boards with material choices or a route map of the raw materials.
The PROVADA provides tools for sustainability for exhibitors. They connect exhibitors with donation programs. In collaboration with the catering and the RAI, they reduce food waste. In addition, they are striving for a materials passport for stands. The big overarching goal: to make the transition to the circular economy clear and manageable for everyone who wants to get started.
A materials passport is a manageable step forward to make a stand more sustainable. Where do the materials come from and after usage, where do they go? “That is also the question we ask our stand builders. We discuss these points with the customer and that is the starting point for the ideas.” says Frederick. The Rabobank stand is a good example of sustainable cooperation.
After close cooperation between KOP and Rabobank, the sustainable exhibition stand was exhibited for the first time at PROVADA 2018. The materials that are used in the stand are, for example, recycled seagrass, cork, rubber, wood, cardboard and PET bottles. Rabobank also reuses the stand for every PROVADA. Already for the fourth time!
This exhibition stand is still relevant when it comes to circularity. “We want to use the stand to show what we stand for, what we are doing and put the topics on the agenda that we consider important.” says Anke Verhagen, business developer at Rabobank. With a sustainable stand, topics such as sustainability, energy transition, climate and choice of materials can be discussed better and more clearly with the visitors. In this way you show that you are actually taking steps towards a circular economy. This reinforces the content of your story, because you set a good example and show that it is possible.
“We have given the Rabobank stand, which is completely circular, as an example to others. Like: this is possible!” Frederike agrees. It is noticeable that several stands have responded to this. Where five years ago the Rabobank stand was a precursor in circularity, you can see that several stands have followed. This makes PROVADA increasingly greener and more sustainable.
“We want people to think. If we buy something or need something, what is its next destination?” says Frederick. Good consultation between stand builder, customer and exhibition makes it possible to take that step towards a better future. By sharing knowledge and setting realistic goals, we work together to reduce the ecological footprint. It is a necessary change for the future of our industry.
Curious about the whole story? Watch the video of the full interview below!
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