Sustainable Development

UFI adopted in June 2008 specific vision and mission statements related to sustainable development:

  • “Vision: To achieve a high level of member awareness and commitment to promote social and environmental responsibility within the exhibition industry”.
  • “Mission: 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.”

UFI’s actions in this field include:

  • A dedicated Committee, composed of 23 organisation members of UFI
  • Dedicated Focus Meetings (open to non UFI Members)
  • An on-line Knowledge Exchange Database (reserved to Members)
  • An educational course: 8 steps to sustainability (open to non UFI Members) and webinars.
  • Guidelines for system management (ISO 20121) and reporting (GRI and UFI templates)
  • A report released in December 2013 designed to assess the status of sustainability in the exhibition industry
    (contact to receive a free copy)
  • A report on “Best practices in Sustainability” which showcases the 41 winning and shortlisted entries for the sustainability annual award scheme UFI has run between 2012 and 2016.

UFI is also happy to promote the companies whose top management make clear statements on their commitment in sustainability: see quotes below.

René Kamm, CEO MCH Group (Switzerland), August 2014: “As mentioned in the MCH Group’s corporate mission statement, economic, environmental and social sustainability is an important success factor for the MCH Group and is thus of great importance in its strategic decisions. The group promotes sustainable behaviour in all areas and at all levels. We are very pleased to have been able to release our 2013 sustainability report on the basis of the internationally recognised GRI standard.”

Varathan Anbu, CEO Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (India) February 2014: “Sustainability, Competiveness and Inclusiveness have been an integral part of the BIEC journey. The design and construction of BIEC has been in line with the best practices of Sustainability, which has enabled us to become a ‘Green’ venue. Continuing with these efforts, we have embarked on the path of environmental management through the application of ISO 14001 principles effective from 2013. We have been partnering with stakeholders i.e. Clients, Service Providers and Industry for creating awareness of sustainable practices in Exhibitions in India. Our endeavor has been to have an inclusive and focused approach which can make the industry truly green”.

Eric Everard, CEO Artexis Group (Belgium), January 2014: “For several years we have given priority to responsible choices with regard to energy management, waste disposal, mobility and the well-being of our employees. Thanks to a whole series of initiatives taken by our colleagues we have significantly reduced our environmental footprint. That was CSR 1.0. In pursuit of our mission “Visit the future” we now want to initiate CSR 2.0 by making a really positive contribution to the society in which we live. We want to offer our visitors, both professionals and private individuals, a vision of the future of their lives or their industries so that when they leave our exhibitions they are stronger, more professional and better equipped. This is our shared value. It has not only changed the lives of our visitors, but also that of our employees, who are no longer selling advertising space, but are now there to help people to move forward and give them an exceptional experience. This approach has revolutionised our enterprise, our profession and, we hope, society as a whole.

Claude Membrez, Managing Director of Palexpo (Switzerland), January 2014: “Palexpo has been on a sustainable development path for some 25 years. We switched to electricity from renewable sources in 1989 and began sorting out our waste in 1992. We get our heat from a nearby plant. A share of our energy is produced on our own roof which hosts the largest photovoltaic unit in Switzerland. Yet, there is more than this to sustainability: by also focusing on the social side of our activity, it provides a very powerful tool to thoroughly improve our overall practices. When acting to preserve the planet for future generations, the fairness of the working conditions is paramount. In a time of vanishing frontiers and unstoppable workers migration, setting clear working contractual frameworks is essential to avoid being dragged to the bottom and to drag our community with us. Ultimately, sustainability is about creating a race to the top.”

Olivier Roux, Vice-President, GL events (France), January 2014: “Five years have passed now since GL events implemented its sustainable development strategy Group-wide. The ISO 14001 certification of our French venues represents a decisive step. This achievement demonstrates a twofold commitment in terms of respecting the environment and pursuing continuing progress on a systematic basis. 21 venues are already certified. On a broader level, GL events Group has adopted a global strategy for sustainable development, spearheaded by three programmes: Think Green (environmental issues), Think Local (societal issues) and Think People (labour and employee-related issues), all contributing to daily advances, highlighted by the quantitative data published in our “Corporate Social Responsibility” report.

Rashid Toefy, CEO, Cape Town International Convention Centre (South Africa), January 2014: “As a convention centre, whose business principles are built around the ethos of sustainability, environmental and social considerations form part of our DNA. We are committed to sustainability as a core business ethic – we acknowledge that it is not something optional, or even a value-add, it’s necessary to succeed in the future. It is imperative that we lead and innovate in meeting sustainability requirements and upping the ante in terms of effecting change in the meetings and events industry. As one of the first convention centre’s in the world to align its practices to the Global Reporting Initiative’s standards, we aim to be transparent about our sustainability, because we believe our lessons can enable and empower others to follow suit.”

David Levin, CEO of UBM plc (UK), December 2013: “Our Industry has to embrace improved ways of working to raise the level of awareness and improve the sustainability of every exhibition. This involves education, exhortation, measurement and the development of standards. As we do this we will see real enhancements – with more engagement with our clients, a positive powerful response from the people who work in the industry, enhanced reputation for the industry and, along with those, genuine positive impacts on the wider world along with lower waste and cost.”