Balancing trade shows and sustainability
Siemens is the largest exhibitor at HANNOVER MESSE. How does Siemens strike a balance between a premium trade fair presence and sustainability? An interview with Robert Sarcevic, whose team organizes the Siemens trade fair stand.5 Jun 2023
Sarcevic emphasizes right at the start that sustainability should not be viewed solely from an ecological perspective: "Of course, from a purely ecological point of view, it would be easiest if we didn't do any trade fairs at all. But the world is not that one-dimensional." He advocates looking at sustainability in the overall context and acknowledging the multi-faceted nature of the issue.
"If we travel to Hanover with a large number of trucks, spend several weeks setting up the stand, trade fair for five days and then take everything down again in record time, then that is not sustainable from a purely ecological point of view. But if you consider that at HANNOVER MESSE, for example, we informed more than 50 international political delegations at the Siemens booth about how technology can be used to improve the world, for example, using vertical farming to feed the population more efficiently and healthier, then that's an important contribution to shaping a more sustainable future."
And that's just one example. At this year's HANNOVER MESSE, several tens of thousands of visitors came to the Siemens booth. Sarcevic: "The visitors mainly learned about more efficient and therefore more sustainable solutions for design, simulation, manufacturing and recycling of products and complete factories. Nowhere else can we reach so many people in this field in such a short time and present our solutions in an efficient and thus sustainable way."
"Our aspiration is to achieve the business and communication goals of our trade show appearances as sustainably as possible," says Sarcevic. "But again, it's always a trade-off: What use of resources and materials is necessary to live up to our claim as a premium brand, while at the same time fulfilling our ecological responsibility?"
Siemens introduced a sustainability checklist some time ago, for example, to record how a particular venue is certified or whether it purchases green electricity, for example. Based on the results, the project managers* can decide where an event can best be held from a sustainability perspective - and what, if anything, we can still optimize together with the organizers."
And what about HANNOVER MESSE, the Group's biggest trade show appearance? Sarcevic: "We are continuously optimizing our efforts to achieve greater sustainability. The list of detailed measures would take a very long time. So here are just a few examples: We design standardized furniture elements ourselves so that they can be used several hundred times. In the process, we continuously optimize them to make them even lighter and more modular. This means we need fewer trucks for transport. Lightweight furniture also means less fuel consumption and less storage space that needs to be heated. Booth employees are given Ocean Bottles, which are drinking bottles made from recycled plastic that has been taken out of the oceans as waste, which they can fill up at water dispensers. Naturally, when selecting catering service providers, care is taken to ensure that as little waste as possible is generated and that regional products are sourced. Of course, the vegetarian range has also been steadily expanded. We also pay attention to sustainability when it comes to merchandising and equipment details. For example, we use certified cotton polo shirts that consume 62 percent less energy and 91 percent less water in their production than conventional polo shirts. But as I said, these are just a few examples and the list could go on and on. Think of the other sustainability aspects that are reflected in other measures, such as partnership with service providers or measures to prevent hazards to personnel, and much more."