11 Exhibition Organizers Collaborate on Better Stands Program Pilot

December 19, 2023

Eleven exhibition organizers have come together to pilot the rollout of a program called Better Stands, which aims to reduce single-use disposable stands at exhibitions in favor of reusable structures.

“The concept of Better Stands was fostered within Informa, and so we’ve seen the benefits of it first hand at a number of shows in our portfolio,” said Ben Wielgus, head of sustainability at Informa, a public company that produces hundreds of B2B trade shows and events annually and expects to generate 2023 full-year revenues of £3.15 billion+ ($3.91+ billion). “As such, we’re firm believers that broader implementation has the potential to fundamentally change the way the events industry approaches stand construction and supports the circular economy.” 

The 11 organizers include A.M.P. Events, Clarion Events, Faversham House, Hyve, IMEX, Informa, Montgomery Group, Raccoon Media Group, Reset Connect, ReThink HK and Terrapinn. The pilot is currently supported by isla, an event sustainability body. 

“Along with the participants of the Better Stands pilot rollout, we can show that Better Stands are better in many ways – safer, faster to put up, can look great and can often be more cost effective and of course they can cut the waste from exhibitions by up to 80%,” Wielgus added. “We’re really excited to join with colleagues across the industry to continue to make progress.”

How it works

The pilot’s key objective is to identify ways in which Better Stands can be easily adopted across different organizations. Each organizer has identified one or multiple events in their portfolio to implement Better Stands during the pilot period ending in March 2024. The intention is to scale implementation of this evolving program by handing it over to the global Net Zero Carbon Events Initiative.

Clarion Events embrace the Better Stands pilot and the positive change it brings to the industry, providing an opportunity to foster sustainability, efficiency and safety across stand-building at our events,” said Ellen Osborne, ESG Manager for Clarion Events, a London-based global event company with more than 1,700 employees and group revenues of £257,049,000 ($327,125,698) for the year that ended Jan. 31, 2023.

Better Stands provides a consistent framework to measure the sustainability of event stands, setting classification criteria according to how much of a stand or booth is reused or recycled. Stands that do reuse some of their elements can achieve Bronze, Silver or Gold Better Stands status, which recognizes the exhibitors’ and stand contractors’ commitment to sustainability.

“I am excited that Raccoon Media Group can join the Better Stands Initiative in order to help foster positive change amongst exhibitors at events,” said Mike Seaman, CEO of Raccoon Media Group, a London-based event company that Cuil Bay Capital acquired a majority stake in September. “This is an important part of our wider commitment to Net Zero, which is based on the core principle of ‘progress over perfection.’ This scheme aims to help inform our clients and to bring them on a journey with us that ensures they can still achieve the maximum impact of a face-to-face connection with a minimal impact on the environment.”

Why it matters

Our ongoing measurement shows that reusable stands – from the structure and furniture to the signage and graphics – are vital to reducing carbon impact and improving the ease, safety and sustainability of the event experience,” said Roger Lehner, Senior Operations & Sustainability Executive of IMEX, producer of two exhibitions annually in Frankfurt, Germany and Las Vegas.  “We’re confident the Better Stands initiative will provide us, our exhibitors and stand builders with a clear framework to further reduce emissions on the path to net zero.”

Adam Parry, co-founder of A.M.P. Events, producer of Event Tech Live in London and Las Vegas, expressed his enthusiasm for being a part of the Better Stands initiative alongside other leading exhibition organizers.

“By reducing single-use disposable stands and promoting reusable structures, Better Stands is transforming the events landscape,” said Parry. “The events industry deserves a more sustainable future, and I invite others to join us.”

Watch this video to find out more about the program.


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