How-to on ‘Sustainable Stand Construction’ at Messe Düsseldorf

Die Service Alliance der Messe Düsseldorf

Happy #GED2023! Under the heading “We run the meeting places and marketplaces for everyone” the Global Exhibitions Day 2023 raises awareness about the importance of trade fairs and exhibitions for the exchange of ideas, innovations and growth. We will be there and are particularly delighted that sustainability in the exhibition business plays a prominent role in this year’s campaign!

Trade fairs are a very sustainable way of doing business because numerous appointments, networking and continuous education are pooled in one place, saving money and above all resources. At the same time, sustainability as a highly topical theme for all industries forms an integral part of the ancillary programme of our leading trade fairs – most recently at the Spotlight Talks of interpack. And by presenting new technologies and green innovations as well as enabling knowledge exchange at our trade fairs, we also contribute to the transformation of the economy.

We are also aware, however, that trade fairs have a major negative impact on the environment, caused by stand construction, to name but one source, and we are working towards reducing these continuously. Since this can only be accomplished with our customers, we have compiled a customer guide with recommendations on how to make trade fair appearances as sustainable as possible.

Step by step towards making trade fair stands more sustainable

With a view to reducing the environmental impact of trade fairs, we follow the well-known “7 Rs” of resource savings as guiding principles:

Reflect: Carefully plan the complete trade fair concept and question it time and again.
Rethink: Look beyond your own backyard to take conscious and unconventional decisions.
Refuse: Avoid materials and processes with a negative impact on the planet and the people.
Reduce: Check the efficiency of materials, technology and logistics to save resources.
Reuse: Consider reusable materials, modular construction and renting.
Repair: Clarify whether damaged materials or products can be repaired rather than replacing them right away.
Recycle: Rely on circular-economy ready materials, waste separation and professional disposal with a maximum recycling quota.

Banner Service Allaince
Everything green: With our guide to a more sustainable trade fair presence

These steps can be applied at every planning stage of sustainable trade fair appearances.

Sustainable stand construction from the outset

Already in the conceptual stage clear targets should be defined for designing one’s own trade fair stand in an environment-friendly way. This is helped, for instance, by CSR guidelines or CO2 balances. Likewise, partner companies should be selected according to these aspects. Local service providers with warehouses on site could be commissioned or online meetings could be arranged to save transport emissions and travel activities.

Efficient logistics and resource-saving furnishings

Once the basic structure of the trade fair stand has been developed, further decisions have to be taken that can optimise its eco-balance – which is impacted especially by transport and furnishings.

Transporting stand elements, materials and exhibits is, of course, unavoidable. The CO2 emissions of logistics associated with a trade fair participation, however, can be reduced substantially with, for example, the efficient utilisation of vehicle capacity such as collective consignments, or reusable packaging materials and transport crates are other options.

Less is more when furnishing trade fair stands: a minimalist design attracts visitors’ and (potential) customers’ attention to essentials: the company’s products or services.

Exhibiting sustainably: our Service Alliance, the one-stop shop for an environment-friendly trade fair appearance

Our Service Alliance also provides counselling for all the necessary considerations on your path towards a sustainable trade fair appearance. And even more: on request our colleagues can take on the complete coordination and organisation including quality assurance down to dismantling later.

With “hand-picked” service partners, a global network, and a customer-focused team we can customise carefree packages for our exhibitors, or offer individual, tailor-made services. Thanks to our access to tried-and-tested partner companies and our longstanding experience in exhibition architecture wrong decisions can be avoided and, hence, resources be used more efficiently.

Reusability as a key to success

Reusability ranks especially high on the agenda of the Service Alliance: “Considering the high number of square metres occupied by some stands it is no longer acceptable to follow the concept of the throwaway society,” stresses Bianca Bott, Senior Manager Service Alliance. This awareness results in creative solutions. Floor substrates can consist of recycled bottle caps or stand walls of popcorn – and later stand floor coverings are turned into bags or dog harnesses.

The team has also detected a changed mind-set when exchanging with customers. The energy crisis and material bottlenecks have made it clear that the resources for trade fair appearances are also finite. This makes it indispensable to engineer stands in such a way that they can be used more than once. But Bianca Bott raises one point: “Large-scale sustainability must also be affordable for enterprises. But it never ceases to amaze us what is even attainable on a small scale.” Any contribution as small as it may be still counts – be it environment-friendly printing ink for a flyer, foregoing unnecessary give-aways, using local public transport for travelling or catering with regional and seasonal food. At the end of the day, even solutions which are initially more expensive, pay off when stand elements can be reused several times.

Ein Stand der Messe Düsseldorf
Example of sustainable trade fair construction at EuroShop 2023 (Copyright: Messe Düsseldorf/Constanze Tillmann)

At EuroShop 2023 the Service Alliance demonstrated it its own area what sustainable stand construction solutions can look like. “At the end of the week, we were impressed with the interesting questions and positive feedback for our ideas,” delights Bianca Bott.

Nachhaltiger Messestand Messe Düsseldorf
Examples of sustainable materials (Copyright: Messe Düsseldorf/Constanze Tillmann)

Essbarer Kaffeebecher
Coffee tastes particularly good this way – a sustainable and edible cup (Copyright: Messe Düsseldorf/Constanze Tillmann)

Show Green für nachhaltige Messekonzepte
Messe Düsseldorf Service Alliance Certificate(Copyright: Messe Düsseldorf/Constanze Tillmann)

Impressive stand construction solutions at the “Bright World of Metals”

Those wanting to convince themselves of the know-how of the Service Alliance can do so from 12 to 16 June 2023 at the ‘Bright World of Metals’, for example. The following exhibitors at the trade fair quartet comprising GIFA, METEC, THERMPROCESS and NEWCAST (GMTN), relied on the Service Alliance for their trade fair appearances:

• At Foseco’s stand A01/A02 in Hall 12 reusable construction systems are used for all walls. Furthermore, the Service Alliance works with printed fabric runs from Airtex, which can be printed or painted repeatedly. The display fixtures at the stand are made of palettes, also to be reused after GMTN. All other furniture forms part of Messe Düsseldorf’s inventory and were only printed afresh.
• In Hall 9 ALD/AMG presents a stand (F23) of Aluvision system components standing out with durability, reusability, flexibility and modularity as good practice for sustainable stand construction. In addition, the company plans to use the stand at another event in November.
• After the last trade fair manufacturer Krosaki Harima had the major part of its stand warehoused. This was now rebuilt in Hall 4 at stand F20.

For detailed information as well as even more hands-on tips interested exhibitors should visit our website. Or get into touch with the Service Alliance direct for one-on-one advice at or by telephone on +49 211 45 60 600.

PP: The Service Alliance portfolio encompasses both stand construction and the accompanying technical services and catering or marketing activities.

Which measures do you already implement when planning an exhibition stand? And where do you still encounter challenges in terms of sustainable stand construction? We look forward to exchanging ideas with you!

Leave a Response