Informa’s Latest Sustainability Report Shares Stories, Ideas for Event Organizers

October 16, 2019
Informa Sustainability Report

Event and trade show organizers looking for an overview of how industry giant Informa makes a difference through sustainability — and how they can follow suit — can turn to Informa’s “2018 Sustainability Report: The Role We Play” as a resource.

Released in conjunction with the company’s annual report earlier this year, the document provides examples of how Informa’s brands and content support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, stories of the purposeful partnerships that Informa teams have formed with community groups, and insightful infographics that demonstrate how the business measures its carbon footprint and understands the environmental impact of its events.

Informa has published standalone sustainability reports since 2006, but when the company revamped how they approached sustainability three years ago, it also reset how it was reporting on progress.

“Because one of our focuses was to inspire colleagues in the business and create a sense of pride around our sustainability activities, slightly unusually, we targeted our reports at colleagues,” says Ben Weilgus, Informa’s head of sustainability.

He continues, “We chose a format whereby much of the content is written by colleagues for colleagues. The reports then form a backbone of information that allows us to respond to requests for information from the organizers behind dozens of investor and customer indices, which is an increasing part of what we do and as expectations of companies increase.”

The 2016 report first included examples of Informa’s impact in the company’s markets, such as creating jobs for disadvantaged communities in the construction industry. Next, the 2017 report, called “The Contribution We Make,” examined Informa’s four pillars of sustainability: content, communities, colleagues and environment. Rounding out the trilogy, the 2018 report focuses on colleagues’ stories about how they’re tackling major issues in their markets.

Ben Weilgus“This meant a lot of running around and Skype calls at odd hours to get stories from every time zone, in order to share stories that reflect the international company we are and the positive impact many colleagues are having,” says Weilgus.

UBM becoming part of Informa Group last year significantly increased the size and scope of the company, Weilgus notes. Informa now has 11,000 colleagues in more than 30 countries, in addition to 500 exhibition brands.

"With this increased size, it is very important we are scaling in an environmentally responsible manner,” says Weilgus. “For the first time since I’ve been with Informa, we measured our Scope 3 emissions, which are emissions from downstream and upstream activities that are not directly under our control.”

He continues, “We have also mapped our largest sources of indirect emissions from putting on an event and assessed the level of control or influence we have over each activity. The aim is to continue to reduce our environmental impact and meet the new science-based targets we have set for carbon reduction.”

Informa has run surveys showing 80 percent of its audience wants the events they attend to be run responsibly, and events meeting these expectations attract increases in net promoter scores, according to Informa officials. In addition, UFI also recently reported that 38 percent of attendees might choose not to attend a show if it were not run in a sustainable or responsible fashion.

“These findings show that being environmentally sustainable and socially responsible is a must for any long-term focused events organization,” says Weilgus.

Continuing to share this information on what Informa is doing, as well as looking to hear from other companies on their sustainability efforts, is what will continue to move the industry forward, Weilgus adds.

“Success in this area is all about working in partnership with venues, general service contracts, food and beverage providers, exhibitors and industry organizations such as EIC and UFI,” he says.

To download a free copy of the report, go here.

Do you have a story about how your company is increasing its sustainability? Send an email to and let us know.

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Partner Voices

As event professionals and destinations adjust, adapt and evolve in these uncharted waters, it is imperative that substantial resources be put in place for all of the people responsible for planning and executing trade shows, expositions and conventions. An example is Mohegan Sun, which built an industry-leading, COVID-19 Resource Center with a combination of pictures from recently held successful events (the property reopened on May 1, 2020) along with several widely available and informative documents, such as an evolving operational framework: