Knight Errant


reen exhibiting. Whatever your position on the subject, corporate America is Greening up, and you’re likely to be affected by it. According to a new McGraw-Hill study of 190 firms with more than $250 million in revenue, Green activities are perceived by 43 percent of respondents (mostly C-level executives) as an element in their corporate growth strategies. By 2009, 82 percent of corporations are expected to Green at least 16 percent of their portfolios, a number considered by experts as the industry tipping point.

With corporate America going Green at a faster rate than many anticipated, it is likely that exhibit and event programs will soon become targets of internal Green initiatives. Exactly what that means is up for creative grabs. Already, exhibit and event professionals at the giant Hewlett-Packard Development Co. are wrestling with the directives of a corporate-wide mandate to go Green. What they have discovered is no big surprise: The missing element is education. What, for example, constitutes a Green exhibit? Which suppliers can provide Green-exhibiting options, if any? How do you think about a trade show program from a Green perspective?

Currently, there is no in-depth resource to provide a Green-exhibiting education. Only a few companies have staked out competitive Green positions — and only one of those actively exhibited Green options at EXHIBITOR2007 and began an advertising campaign to brand itself as the Green option — despite the fact that client-side corporations are already starting to short-list suppliers with Green options in the RFP process.

Without question, Green exhibiting presents a massive landscape with lots of conflicting data. Negotiating what is an unarguably serious paradigm shift takes more time and energy than most exhibit and event managers can manage, even in their typical 55-hour work weeks. But that doesn’t change what we see as a coming reality: For many trade show managers, Green exhibiting will become part of their new world view, whether they personally embrace it or not.

Going forward, the editorial, Web, and conference staff at Exhibitor Magazine Group will be deeply involved in the Green movement on your behalf, bringing you case studies of successful Green exhibiting; information about the Green-exhibit market; tips and techniques to help you go Green; comprehensive resources for Green-exhibiting options, assuming they become available; a series of educational sessions on Green exhibits and events at EXHIBITOR2008; and, for suppliers, a special EXHIBITOR Innovation Series one-day seminar on emerging concepts in Green exhibiting — not to mention a laundry list of Green initiatives at EXHIBITOR2008, which we will be announcing later this fall.

Sixteen years ago, EXHIBITOR magazine wrote the first in-depth article exploring the issues connecting the environmental movement and the trade show industry. No sooner did we start the conversation than it evaporated for more than a decade. Since then, enlightened players with great credibility in politics, business, and science have quietly moved the Green agenda into the mainstream. Today, Green is cool and vocal. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. recently announced a $500 million commitment to internal-sustainability issues, and Patagonia Inc. CEO Yvon Chouinard — that paragon of Green — says Wal-Mart’s environmental epiphany is the wave of the future.

For us at Exhibitor Magazine Group, education on Green exhibiting is the first big challenge in the industry’s next evolution in corporate responsibility. You can help by sending us an e-mail, pointing out the areas where you most need illumination, information, and direction. We’ll do our best to provide a flashlight, magnifying glass, and compass — all made from something recycled, of course.


Lee Knight, editor in chief;


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