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IMEX 2008 reinforces strong lead on green issues

IMEX will reinforce the strong lead it has taken on environmental best practice within the international meetings industry with a series of new ‘green’ initiatives at this year’s show, April 22 –24th in Frankfurt. IMEX will become the first exhibition in its sector to use completely biodegradable and recyclable badges. In common with many other shows, IMEX traditionally used to print over 21,000 plastic badges and the same number of plastic badge holders.

The new badges, which have been sourced on request by badging services provider, RefTech, will be printed on 100 per cent recycled paper. They are coated with a polymer made from lactic acid, which is made from fermentable sugars. This derives from corn which itself is a 100 per cent annually renewable resource. No petrochemicals are used in their production and the badges are also completely compostable in water. As a result IMEX will save not only the equivalent weight in plastic to nearly five average men but, due to their lighter weight and ability to be printed as part of a direct mailing letter, will also save on paper usage within the badge mailing.

The trade show will also be the first ever exhibition at Messe Frankfurt to take advantage of green energy. All of the organisers’ lighting and electricity requirements for the entire week will be provided by a local hydroelectric power scheme. From 2009, IMEX will also be able to offer this green energy option to exhibitors for use on their stands.

Also new for 2008 is the launch of the IMEX Green Supplier Award. This new award complements the existing and popular Green Exhibitor Award and also a series of Green Meetings Awards, run in conjunction with the Green Meetings Industry Council.

The Green Supplier Award is designed to recognise and reward the efforts of many suppliers within the global meetings industry to measure and improve the environmental impact of the facilities and services they offer to clients. The Award has been greeted with an enthusiastic industry response. Judges were delighted both by the volume and high quality of entries. The winner will be announced at the IMEX Gala Dinner on April 23rd.

In a further effort to give suppliers of environmentally friendly products and services a higher profile, IMEX will be also highlighting their credentials in the exhibitors’ manual.

Focus on train travel

In addition, hosted buyers and visitors from selected European destinations have been encouraged to travel to Frankfurt by train with the help of special promotional discounts from Deutsche Bahn. All visitors travelling by air are also being invited to offset their air miles through IMEX’s online carbon offset scheme.

To further reduce emissions, IMEX will introduce an anti-idling policy on all its courtesy buses during the week of the show. This will prevent drivers from leaving their engines running during pick-up and drop-off times. In addition, the majority of hosted buyer buses will use bio-diesel fuel for the first time. IMEX organisers will also be issuing walking maps for the first time as most hotels used by exhibitors and visitors in Frankfurt are within a 20-minute walk of the Messe.

Other ‘green’ initiatives include the introduction of new IMEX delegate bags which will be made of environmentally friendly jute, whilst new Association Day bags will be made from jute and coconut shell.

IMEX already makes every effort to source food, flowers and other perishable supplies from local, seasonal growers. This year exhibition stand construction teams will also be faced with stricter waste and disposal policies. Paper usage is also on target to be lower than ever before thanks to enhancements in the interactive messaging and information services available on the IMEX Mobile Exhibition Assistant.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.