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Green Exhibiting

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  • 1. T R E N D R E P O R T # 1 AN INCONVENIENT BOOTH T H E E C O N O M I C I M P A C T O F T H E G R E E N M O V E M E N T O N T H E T R A D E S H O W I N D U S T R Y PRODUCED BY EXHIBITOR MAGAZINE GROUP
  • 2. FIGURE INDEX Executive Summary Figure 1: Current interest in Green exhibiting options As interest in environmental issues continues to strengthen virtually around the world, the is high among exhibitors impact on business has been significant. The so-called “Green” movement is now firmly and suppliers. entrenched on the executive agenda at many, if not most, of the world’s largest and most Figure 2: Interest in Green influential companies, and organizations of all sizes are scrambling to revamp operations exhibiting options among and product lines to comply with a growing mandate from customers, investors, and other exhibitors and suppliers is stakeholders for more environmentally-friendly practices. expected to grow in 2008. We have seen this movement begin to make inroads in the exhibit industry as well. In fact, Figure 3: Exhibitors and in 2007, the exhibit industry experienced several Green-related firsts: suppliers cite personal The first eco-friendly exhibit system was introduced. interest as a major reason The Exhibit Designers and Producers Association (EDPA) announced the formation of a for increased interest in committee to develop Green standards for trade show exhibit design and construction. Green exhibiting options. The International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) announced a Green Figure 4: More than a third committee to address environmental issues in the industry. of exhibitors have taken One of the largest players in the exhibition and event industry announced it has recycled steps toward adopting more than 1 million square yards of carpet as part of its industry-wide recycling efforts. Green exhibiting options. Are these developments the first wave of a “Green Rush” that’s ready to make its mark Figure 5: The percentage on how exhibit products and services are produced, delivered, purchased, and used? Or of exhibitors’ budgets are they nothing more than isolated actions of individual allocated to Green options An untapped market organizations and not reflective of any broader movement? is expected to grow. for Green exhibiting To try to answer these questions and identify the potential Figure 6: The majority of economic impact of the Green movement on the exhibit and suppliers have taken steps options does exist — to trade show industry, EXHIBITOR embarked on an effort to take toward providing Green the tune of an estimated a comprehensive, objective look at the state of Green exhibit- exhibiting options. $9.24 billion ing from both sides of the industry: those supplying exhibit . products and services, and the people and companies buying and using them. With the help of The Bloom Group, an inter- Figure 7: Exhibitors are not currently satisfied with suppliers’ Green options, national research firm, we launched the first initiative in what will be a series of ongoing despite supplier confidence. research efforts: an in-depth survey of nearly 500 exhibit managers and other managers Figure 8: The majority of and executives at companies around the country, as well as more than 100 senior execu- exhibitors are willing to tives and sales and marketing managers at exhibit display and accessories suppliers. pay a small premium for We found there is considerable interest in Green exhibiting among both exhibitors and Green exhibiting options. suppliers, and that interest has translated into small, measured steps toward adopting Figure 9: The lack of variety Green exhibiting options. We also found that interest in Green exhibiting options is likely in available Green options is to increase in the coming year, as is the percentage of trade show budgets that exhibitors the second-largest obstacle will earmark for such products and services. A large percentage of suppliers expect to to increased adoption. substantially increase the number and variety of Green alternatives they offer — in some Figure 10: Product makeup cases, nearly doubling the percentage of their product line that represents Green options. and design are among top- All told, the survey results indicate that an untapped market for Green exhibiting options rated factors in determining does exist — to the tune of an estimated $9.24 billion. But for that market to become a a product’s Greenness. reality, exhibitors and suppliers alike first must overcome a number of obstacles that currently Figure 11: Exhibitors impede broader adoption of Green solutions across the industry. indicate various factors The Green Exhibiting Initiative could influence their This research was made possible by: decision to adopt Green Champion Nationwide EXHIBITOR magazine Hall-Erickson Inc. exhibiting options. www.championexpo.com www.exhibitoronline.com www.heiexpo.com eco·systems Sustainable Exhibits Freeman Skyline Exhibits www.ecosystemsdisplays.com www.freemanco.com www.skyline.com 2 A N I N C O N V E N I E N T B O O T H © EXHIBITOR MAGAZINE GR OUP
  • 3. Interest in Green Exhibiting Options is High and Growing A majority of exhibitors (62 percent) and suppliers (81 percent) we surveyed reported that 62% of exhibitors expect their interest in their personal interest in Green exhibiting options is high or very high (Figure 1). This upward trend is likely to continue, as 62 percent of exhibitors and 78 percent of suppliers believe Green exhibiting will their interest will increase somewhat or significantly in the next six to 12 months (Figure 2). increase over the next FIGURE 1: 12 months. FIGURE 2: Current interest in Green exhibiting Interest in Green exhibiting options among options is high among exhibitors exhibitors and suppliers is expected to and suppliers. grow in 2008. 60% 60% 53% 48% 50% 50% 43% 36% 40% 40% 33% 29% 30% 24% 30% 32% 25% 28% 20% 20% Key 9% 10% 6% 14% 10% 1% 14% Exhibitors 3% 3% 1% 1% Suppliers 0% 0% 0% 1 2 3 4 5 DECREASE REMAIN I NC RE ASE * ON A S CA LE O F 1 (VE RY LO W) TO 5 ( VER Y H I GH ) S I G N I F I C A N T LY THE SA ME SIGNIFICANTLY Behind this growing interest are two principal drivers: the fact that respondents consider e n v i r o n m e n t a l l y-friendly practices the right thing to do, and that respondents’ personal interest in environmental issues and social causes has increased (Figure 3). These factors are consistent across both exhibitor and supplier samples. About half of each group said they are more interested in Green exhibiting options because they believe adopting Greener practices will enhance their company’s brand and image. One-third of suppliers and 17 percent of exhibitors indicated their attention to Green exhibiting options has been raised because they’ve received increased pressure from investors, customers, and other stakeholders to be more environmentally friendly. FIGURE 3: Exhibitors and suppliers cite personal interest as a major reason for increased interest in Green exhibiting options. 51% of exhibitors believe adopting I consider environmentally-friendly 66% practices the right thing to do 69% Greener practices will enhance their Personal interest in environmental and 66% social causes in general has increased 67% companies’ brand and image. I believe adopting Greener practices will 51% enhance the company’s brand and image 50% More Green materials are now 29% available and practical 46% Company’s management has asked 20% employees to adopt Green business practices 14% Increased pressure from stakeholders to Key 17% be more environmentally conscious 33% Exhibitors Suppliers 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% EXHIBITOR MAGAZINE GR OUP © A N I N C O N V E N I E N T B O O T H 3
  • 4. For some, the high level of personal interest has translated into active support of Green The pace of adoption exhibiting options. We found that 35 percent of exhibitors and 59 percent of suppliers consider of Green exhibiting themselves a champion of Green exhibiting options at their companies. Compared with non- appears poised to champions, champions are nearly unanimous is stating a high or very high personal interest quicken in the near in Green exhibiting (91 percent vs. 36 percent) and see themselves as strong proponents of more environmentally-friendly exhibit products and services. future, as more exhibitors earmark Adoption of Green Exhibiting Options has been parts of their budgets for Green options. Measured to Date but is Expected to Grow With the generally high level of interest in Green exhibiting expressed by exhibitors and suppliers, one might expect a high adoption rate for Green exhibiting options. According to our survey, there has been some adoption of Green options, but because of the nascent nature of the Green movement in the exhibit industry, that adoption has been measured to date. For instance, just under one-fourth of exhibitors said they personally have deliberately purchased a Green exhibit product or service (which could include anything from a booth property or graphics to lighting, carpeting, accessories, shipping, and pre- and post-show marketing materials). Furthermore, while 63 percent of exhibitors indicated that their compa- nies haven’t considered such a purchase, 21 percent reported their companies have taken initial steps in adopting Green exhibiting options, 12 percent said their companies have adopted Green exhibiting elements, and 5 percent said their companies have made a sub- stantial commitment to Green exhibiting (Figure 4). FIGURE 4: More than a third of exhibitors have taken steps toward adopting Green exhibiting options. 38% of exhibitors Adopted some Green elements Made a substantial commitment have already taken steps 5% 12% Taken initial steps toward adopting Green exhibiting options. 21% 63% Have not considered The pace of adoption appears poised to quicken in the near future, as more exhibitors Further demonstrating earmark parts of their budgets for Green options. As noted in Figure 5, 58 percent of the untapped market exhibitors today allocate some portion of their exhibit/display budgets to Green options potential for Green — although in most cases, that portion is relatively small, with 37 percent of companies exhibiting is the fact that dedicating between 1 percent and 10 percent of their total exhibit-marketing budgets to exhibitors, on average, spending on Green options. In 42 percent of the companies represented by exhibitor believe approximately respondents, Green options account for 0 percent of the overall exhibit/display budget. one-fourth of their total Yet, as Figure 5 illustrates, that’s all about to change, as exhibitors report plans to boost exhibit/display budget is their investment in Green exhibiting options in the coming year. For example, the percent- age of exhibitors saying they will allocate none of their budget to Green options drops from theoretically convertible 42 percent today to 14 percent in 12 months. Similarly, the percentage of exhibitors who to Green options. 4 A N I N C O N V E N I E N T B O O T H © EXHIBITOR MAGAZINE GR OUP
  • 5. 86% of exhibitors allocate between 11 percent and 20 percent of their budget to Green options is expected to rise from 11 percent today to 24 percent in one year. FIGURE 5: anticipate allocating The percentage of exhibitors’ budgets allocated to Green options is expected to grow. a portion of their 2008 CURRENT PROJECTED ex h i b i t- m a r k e t i n g budgets to Green 10% 14% exhibiting options. 25% 11% YES 42% 86% As % of budget > than 20% YES 37% 11- 20% 24% 58% 37% 1- 10% NO 0% 42% Some of this shift may be driven by the policies of the larger enterprises in which our exhibitor NO respondents work. We found that 46 percent of exhibitors’ companies have some type of formal- 14% ized Green initiative, which in 73 percent of those companies extends to the exhibit function. 2007 2008 So while a strong personal interest in Green exhibiting options among exhibitors appears to be some budget some budget behind the increasing attention to Green, corporate policies encouraging environmentally- allocation allocation to Green to Green friendly practices could be spurring action on that front as well. options options Further demonstrating the untapped market potential for Green exhibiting is the fact that exhibitors, on average, believe approximately one-fourth of their total exhibit-marketing budgets are theoretically convertible to Green options. According to rough extrapolations of our survey data, using figures from EXHIBITOR magazine's 2007 Salary Survey, Tradeshow Week’s 200, and the Center for Exhibition Industry Research’s third-annual CEIR Index, the annual industry-wide market potential for Green exhibiting options is a whopping $9.24 billion. What’s more, the 46% of exhibitors’ companies have some majority of exhibitors believe it’s not only theoretically possible to convert a quarter of their budgets type of formalized Green to Green exhibiting options, but highly probable. In fact, 75 percent report that they expect to initiative, which in meet that theoretical target. If those respondents’ expectations are accurate and representative, spending on Green exhibiting options could reach a minimum of nearly $7 billion per year. On the supplier side, measured progress also has been reported. Just under half of supplier respondents said their companies have a formalized Green initiative, which in 72 percent of 73% of those compa n i esextends to those organizations is company wide. As shown in Figure 6, most suppliers have taken some the exhibit function. initial steps toward providing Green exhibiting options (43 percent), while 45 percent have made either moderate or substantial progress in providing them. Thirteen percent have not considered offering Green options. On average, Green offerings account for 28 percent of suppliers’ total product line, and for 58 percent of suppliers, Green options currently account for less than 10 percent of overall sales (with 22 percent of those companies reporting no revenue from Green exhibiting options). FIGURE 6: The majority of suppliers have taken steps toward providing Green exhibiting options. 43% 13% 23% 22% 88% of suppliers reported having made Have not Have taken Have made Have made substantial some progress in offering considered it some initial moderate steps toward progress in progress in Green solutions. providing them providing them providing them EXHIBITOR MAGAZINE GR OUP © A N I N C O N V E N I E N T B O O T H 5
  • 6. Although most suppliers reported having made some progress in offering Green exhibiting options, it’s apparently not enough for exhibitors. Overall, satisfaction among exhibitors with their suppliers’ Green options is not high (Figure 7), with just 7 percent claiming to be satis- Only 7% of exhibitors indicated fied or very satisfied and 76 percent professing to be neutral — suggesting that suppliers they were satisfied have some work to do if they want to tap into growing exhibitor demand for Green options. Interestingly, as Figure 7 shows, suppliers seem to have overestimated clients’ satisfaction with with suppliers’ their Green offerings. Thirty-seven percent of suppliers said their clients were either satisfied Green offerings. or very satisfied with their Green exhibiting options while 59 percent thought they were neutral and 5 percent believed they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. FIGURE 7: Exhibitors are not currently satisfied with suppliers’ Green exhibiting options, despite supplier confidence. 76% 59% Key 24% Exhibitor Satisfaction* 13% 12% 5% Suppliers’ Indication 6% of Their Clients’ 1% 3% 2% Satisfaction** Very satisfied Satisfied Neutral Dissatisfied Very dissatisfied * P E R C E N TA G E O F E X HI B I T O R S S AT IS F IE D WI T H S U P P L IE R S ’ G R E EN O F F E R I N G S * * P E R C E N TA G E O F S U P P L IE R S IN D IC AT I N G H O W S AT I S F I E D T H E Y T H I N K T H E I R C L I E N T S A R E W I T H T H E I R G R E E N O F F E R I N G S Price is the Pr i m a ry Obstacle to Broader Adoption Clearly, Green exhibiting options have begun attracting exhibitors’ attention, and in some companies, their money as well. But it’s evident that something is preventing broader adoption of Green exhibiting options today, and according to exhibitors, that something 89% of exhibitors can be summed up in one word: price. We asked respondents if they would be willing to adopt Green options if those options performed as well as and cost the same as traditional options. An overwhelming 89 per- would be willing to cent said they would. So Green appears to be the preferred option in a scenario where all things (including price) are equal. adopt Green options if However, when certain price premiums were attached to Green options (with performance those options performed still assumed to be equal), support declined precipitously (Figure 8). If Green options theoreti- as well as and cost the cally cost 5 percent more than traditional options, 73 percent of exhibitors would still make the same as traditional switch. However, bump the premium to 10 percent, and support erodes to just 45 percent. At a exhibiting options. 15-percent premium, only 14 percent of exhibitors would switch — a figure that falls to 6 per- cent and 3 percent, respectively, when the premium reaches 20 percent and 25 percent. Judging from these results, there is a clear price premium threshold among exhibitors that’s somewhere between 5 percent and 10 percent. And that threshold is far exceeded by Green options currently available — both in the minds of exhibitors and on the price tags of actual products. When asked what they expect to pay for Green options today, exhibitors on average said approximately 23 percent more than traditional options. In reality, according to suppliers’ responses, Green options actually cost an average of 26 percent more than traditional options. 6 A N I N C O N V E N I E N T B O O T H © EXHIBITOR MAGAZINE GR OUP
  • 7. FIGURE 8: The majority of exhibitors are willing to pay a small premium for Green exhibiting options. 100% Key Yes No Not Sure 82% 73% 75% 3% of exhibitors are willing to pay a 54% premium of 25 percent 50% 45% or more for Green exhibiting options, 33% 29% while vendors report 26% that Green products, 18% 19% 14% 15% on average, cost 26 9% percent more than 6% 3% 0% traditional options. 5% more 10% more 15% more 20% more 25% more cost of Green options compared to traditional options These findings provide considerable evidence that price thus far has been an inhibitor There is a clear to more widespread adoption of Green exhibiting options. And until the price gap price-premium between Green and traditional options is reduced to below exhibitors’ psychological threshold for Green threshold, adoption is likely to remain slow among all but the most zealous environ- exhibiting options, mental enthusiasts. and that’s somewhere Other Significant Obstacles Exist between 5 percent While the cost of Green exhibiting options is a major impediment to exhibitors’ adoption and 10 percent. of Green options, other significant obstacles exist (Figure 9). To identify which might be more influential in suppressing the adoption of Green options, we presented exhibitors and suppliers with a list of eight potential obstacles and asked participants to rate them in terms of how significant a stumbling block each is, using a scale of 1 (not at all an obstacle) to 7 (very significant obstacle). Not surprising given the discussion in the preceding section, the generally higher The second-largest prices of Green options compared with traditional options was tops on the list, with a obstacle to the mean rating of 5.33 among exhibitors and 5.25 among suppliers. The second-larg e s t adoption of Green obstacle among all exhibitor respondents was a lack of variety in Green materials cur- exhibiting options is rently available, which received a mean rating of 4.61. Close behind lack of variety was a lack of variety in a somewhat related issue, too small of a supplier pool providing Green options (4.56), followed by lack of metrics to quantify the business impact of Green exhibiting (4.49), Green materials and lack of consensus on what constitutes Green exhibiting (4.34). Concern over currently available. whether Green options would not perform as well as traditional options and manage- ment’s general disinterest in Green exhibiting options were seen by exhibitors as the least-significant obstacles to broader adoption of Green exhibiting. For their part, suppliers had virtually identical views on what was preventing their clients from showing stronger tangible support for Green options (Figure 9). In only two instances was the gap between the mean ratings of the two groups greater than .5: Suppliers thought general disinterest among exhibitors’ management and lack of consensus on what constitutes Green exhibiting were greater obstacles than exhibitors did. At least when it comes to obstacles, suppliers appear to understand their clients’ concerns very well. EXHIBITOR MAGAZINE GR OUP © A N I N C O N V E N I E N T B O O T H 7
  • 8. However, while exhibitors generally did not consider management disinterest in Green exhibiting a major obstacle, it’s hard to ignore a separate survey finding: Only 35 percent of exhibitors described their company’s level of interest in Green options as high or very high, with most indicating it was either neutral or low to very low. While such an interest level doesn’t constitute an obstacle per se, it arguably could make it more difficult for an exhibit manager who would like to go Green to justify the additional costs that Green options would entail. FIGURE 9: The lack of variety in available Green options is the second-largest obstacle to increased adoption. Higher prices of Green options 5.33 Nearly half of all compared with traditional ones 5.25 exhibitors (45 percent) Lack of variety in Green 4.61 said they don’t know options available 4.91 if their suppliers pro- Too small a supplier pool 4.56 vide Green options, providing Green options 4.76 indicating suppliers Lack of metrics to quantify the 4.49 could do a much better business impact of Green 4.45 job of communicating Lack of consensus on what 4.34 what Green offerings constitutes Green exhibiting 4.88 are available. Lack of Green options to meet 4.29 exhibitors’ specific needs 4.47 Substandard performance 3.71 of Green options 3.75 Key Exhibitor management’s 3.67 4.14 Exhibitors disinterest in Green options Suppliers 1 2 3 4 5 6 * M E A N R AT IN G O N S C A L E O F 1 = NO OB S TA C L E AT A L L T O 7 = V E R Y S I G NI F I C A N T OB S TA C L E Another obstacle seems to be one that could be overcome with more effective marketing by suppliers. Nearly half of all exhibitors (45 percent) said they don’t know if their suppliers provide Green exhibiting options, indicating s u p p l i e r s could do a much better job of com- municating what Green offerings are available. The preceding illustrates what’s preventing exhibitors from adopting Green options. Suppliers have their But suppliers have their own set of challenges — some of which are related to exhibitors’ own set of challenges issues — that are preventing them from offering a greater array of Green options. We — some of which are asked supplier representatives to do a similar rating of a set of six obstacles to their ability related to exhibitors’ to offer more Green alternatives to their clients, using the same scale of 1 (not at all an obstacle) to 7 (very significant obstacle). Four of the six obstacles finished almost even at issues — that are the top of the list with a mean rating of around 5.0: higher overall cost of Green options, preventing them from insufficient availability of Green options, lack of knowledge about available Green options, offering a greater array and lack of consensus on what constitutes a Green or sustainable option. The remaining of Green options. two — increased lead time for sourcing Green options (4.3) and inferior performance of Green products (3.83) — finished well behind the leaders. Indeed, after price, sourcing seems to be a major impediment for suppliers. According to 77 percent of supplier executives, there are too few suppliers of Green raw materials or Green products they source, which ostensibly makes it difficult for suppliers to populate 8 A N I N C O N V E N I E N T B O O T H © EXHIBITOR MAGAZINE GR OUP
  • 9. their product lines with more Green options that could be attractive to exhibitors. Fu r t h e r- more, 75 percent of supplier executives would prefer a greater variety of Green options available from their suppliers, indicating the selection from which they must currently choose is too limited. There is a Substantial Disconnect Between Exhibitors and Vendors on What Constitutes Green When deciding what’s In some respects, one of the most significant obstacles to broader adoption of Green exhibit- Green, exhibitors ing options is that there’s little agreement on what is truly Green. There are many ways both care less about how exhibitors and suppliers define Green, and those definitions are largely driven by what’s environmentally important to each individual. Is it the fact that the product is recyclable? Is it that the product was made in a factory that produces no harmful emissions or waste? Is it that the product is friendly the operations more efficient to ship, thus saving gas? are of the company that To get a sense for what exhibitors and suppliers consider the defining characteristics of a produced the product Green exhibiting option, we asked them to rate a list of 11 potential Greenness factors. The and more about the results show that, for exhibitors, being Green is more about the product than the process material used to make (Figure 10). In other words, when deciding what’s Green, exhibitors care less about whether the product. or not the supplier’s operations are environmentally friendly and more about the materials used to make the product itself. For example, the top-rated factor for determining a product’s Greenness is that the product is designed in such a way that it’s more efficient to ship. Arguably, this factor could be more about the exhibitor saving money on shipping than about being more environmentally friendly. Nonetheless, the factor still involves the product itself. The next two factors involve the raw materials from which a product is made: whether Suppliers and the product has any toxic or harmful components or ingredients and whether the product is exhibitors were not made from materials that are endangered or in short supply. Related to the top factor is the aligned in terms of fourth-rated factor, which is the extent to which a product has a sustainable design that the Greenness factors promotes reuse of the components — for instance, a booth property that doesn’t end up in a landfill when its useful life is over, but comprises components that could find a role as that influenced part of a new exhibit. exhibitors’ decisions Fifth on the list of Greenness factors is whether the product is designed to consume less to purchase Green material overall, followed by two factors that are most commonly associated with Green exhibiting options. options: the extent to which the product is recyclable and how much of the product is made from recycled materials. At the bottom of the list are factors related to such things as how much waste from its operations a manufacturer reclaims, how efficient and non-polluting a manufacturer’s Exhibitor’s top-rated operations are, how well a manufacturer conserves energy and water, and whether a factor for determining manufacturer uses hybrid or more fuel-efficient vehicles as part of its operations. While a product’s Greenness these factors are not unimportant, they are comparatively lower on exhibitors’ lists of what they think constitutes a Green product. is that the product is Suppliers and exhibitors were not aligned, however, in terms of the Greenness factors designed in such a that influenced exhibitors’ decisions to purchase Green exhibiting options (Figure 10). way that it’s more In fact, suppliers consistently underestimated the importance that exhibitors placed on efficient to ship. each of the 11 factors we studied — especially six of them: products are made from recycled materials; products are recyclable themselves; products are designed to consume less material overall; suppliers use hybrid or more fuel-efficient vehicles; suppliers’ manufacturing process consumes less energy or materials or produces less waste; and suppliers reclaim or recycle a substantial portion of the waste generated by their manufacturing operations. EXHIBITOR MAGAZINE GR OUP © A N I N C O N V E N I E N T B O O T H 9
  • 10. The message in these findings is that before vendors can effectively develop, market, and sell Green exhibiting options, they need to be sure what they consider Green matches the way their clients view the issue. FIGURE 10: Product makeup and design are among the top-rated factors in determining a product’s Greenness. Products are designed in such a way 5.9 Suppliers consistently that they are more efficient to ship 5.25 underestimated the Products don’t have toxic/harmful 5.68 importance exhibitors components/ingredients 4.81 placed on each of Products aren’t made from materials 5.63 the Greenness factors that are endangered/in short supply 4.7 we studied. Products have a sustainable design that 5.54 promotes reuse of the components 4.93 Products are designed to 5.45 consume less material overall 4.59 Products are recyclable themselves 5.3 4.08 Products are made from 5.22 recycled materials 3.81 Supplier reclaims/recycles a substantial proportion of the waste generated 4.83 3.78 by its manufacturing operations S u p p l i e r’s manufacturing process 4.7 consumes less energy/materials and/or 3.67 produces less waste/harmful emissions Supplier’s facilities conserve 4.64 energy and/or water 3.91 Supplier uses hybrid/more fuel-efficient 4.3 vehicles (especially for shipping) 2.88 Key Exhibitors Suppliers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 * M E A N R AT I N G O N S C A L E O F 1 = N O I M P O R T A N C E A T A L L T O 7 = V E R Y H I G H I M P O R TA N C E Several Incentives Could Influence Exhibitors identified several factors that Exhibitors to Switch to Green Options could help convince Short of eliminating the cost differential between Green options and traditional options, them to switch to a exhibitors identified several factors that could help convince them to switch to a Green Green option that option that performed as well as a traditional option but cost 10 percent more (Fi g u r e performed as well as 11). The most-influential factor was an eminently practical one: if the Green options a traditional option but offered an upgrade in usability over traditional options in some important way, such as cost 10 percent more. a longer life or more flexible design. 10 A N I N C O N V E N I E N T B O O T H © EXHIBITOR MAGAZINE GR OUP
  • 11. The next-largest factor was if management had a personal interest in Green exhibiting, followed by having metrics that could demonstrate that Green options generate a quan- tifiable benefit to the business that offsets their additional expense, knowing that switching to Green would boost the company’s brand and image among key constituents, and if the additional expense could be considered a tax write-o f f. The least-influential factors were bonuses or some other financial rewards given to people for making the switch, a major competitor touting its Green exhibiting progress, and if switching to Green would make employees feel good about their employer. FIGURE 11: Exhibitors indicate various factors could influence their decision to adopt Green exhibiting options. Green option offered an The most-influential upgrade in usability over 4.25 traditional solutions factor for getting exhibitors to switch Management had a personal interest in Green exhibiting 4.06 to Green is if the Green solutions We had metrics to determine offered an upgrade Green option’s quantifiable 4.03 in usability over business benefit traditional solutions in Switching would boost some important way. 3.9 company image and brand Additional expense could be a tax w r i t e-o f f 3.64 Solution’s Greenness was certified in some 3.27 objective way It would make employees feel 3.12 good about their company Bonuses or other rewards 2.88 were offered for going Green Competitor touting its 2.83 Green exhibiting progress 1 2 3 4 * M E A N R AT I NG O N S C A L E O F 1 = N OT AT A L L A FA C T O R T O 5 = M A J OR F A C T O R 55% of supplier execut i v es are in Interestingly, exhibitors appear to be ambivalent about a Green certification’s ability to influence them to switch to a Green option. Having a solution’s Greenness certified in some favor of an industry- objective way finished in the middle of the list of factors. Suppliers expressed somewhat wide certification stronger support for certification, with 55 percent of supplier executives indicating they were standard for Green in favor of an industry-wide certification standard for Green exhibiting options. exhibiting options. EXHIBITOR MAGAZINE GR OUP © A N I N C O N V E N I E N T B O O T H 11
  • 12. A near-majority of Conclusion exhibitors said they The data indicates that adoption of Green exhibiting options among exhibitors has give or would consider been measured to date, but judging from exhibitors’ budget plans, spending on Green giving preferential options looks to be poised for a considerable increase. Indeed, exhibitors appear to maintain a high — and growing — level of interest in Green exhibiting options and treatment to suppliers are open to switching to such options under the right conditions. A near-majority of that offer Green exhibitors also indicated that when they find suppliers that offer Green alternatives alternatives that that meet their needs, they give or would consider giving such suppliers preferential meet their needs. treatment — typically in the form of additional consideration in a request for proposal and favored-supplier status. All of this adds up to a genuine business opportunity for suppliers, which we estimate to be $9.24 billion. Vendors must address The challenge for suppliers, of course, is how to tap into this new and dynamic market. three main challenges Given the responses from exhibitors, we see three main areas that suppliers must address — price, sourcing, and if they want to be seriously considered by Green-leaning exhibitors: awareness — if they Price: Most exhibitors demonstrated a willingness to pay more for a Green option that performs as well as a traditional one — but not 20 percent to 25 percent more, which is want to be seriously the average price premium charged by suppliers. Reducing this cost disparity will go a considered by Green- long way toward spurring broader adoption of Green exhibiting options. leaning exhibitors. Sourcing: Exhibitors clearly were not pleased with the variety of Green options available to them, or the size of the pool of suppliers offering Green alternatives. Being more aggres- sive in finding new and more plentiful sources of Green raw materials will enable suppliers to provide a Green product line that is more attractive to their clients. Awareness: Along with sourcing, suppliers need to be more aggressive in marketing the Green options they provide. The fact that nearly half of exhibitors surveyed said they didn’t know if their suppliers offered Green exhibiting options indicates suppliers aren’t communicating effectively with their clients — a situation that, if corrected, could expand the market for suppliers’ Green offerings. Pe rhaps one of the best ways for suppliers to capitalize on growth opportunities in Green exhibiting is to focus on those exhibitors who described themselves as Green AN INCONVENIENT BOOTH champions. Indeed, Green champions not only support Green options in theory, but For a copy of the full they are putting action behind their talk. They are much more likely than non-champions survey report, visit: to have deliberately purchased a Green exhibiting option of some kind, to be increasing http://www.exhibitoronline. the proportion of their budget earmarked for Green options in the coming year, to com/greensummary.asp report their company has made a substantial commitment to Green exhibiting or adopted METHODOLOGY some Green elements, and to say that they give preferential treatment to companies Exhibitor Magazine Group and offering Green options. Champions also are somewhat less price sensitive than non- The Bloom Group sent two e-mail invitations to a random list of individ- champions when it comes to Green options (although most still seem to be unwilling to uals from EXHIBITOR’s subscriber pay more than a 10-percent premium for Green offerings). If “leading lights” in the base in August and September of 2007. One invitation was directed Green exhibit movement eventually emerge, it seems likely many would come from this toward individuals who work at companies that purchase ex h i b i t group of individuals. products and services (“ex h i b i t o r s ” ) Although the survey results reveal a growing and untapped market for Green exhibiting and the other was sent to individuals representing suppliers of such solu- options, it’s difficult to say if or when Green will become the standard in exhibit products tions (“suppliers”). Each invitation and services. But there is evidence to suggest that suppliers failing to provide desirable contained a link to the online survey questionnaire developed for that and relevant Green options will at some point suffer the consequences in terms of eroding recipient’s respective grouping. We sales and market share and, perhaps, a stigma of being environmentally irresponsible. received a total of 498 completed surveys from exhibitors and 110 from Indeed, if a majority of a suppliers’ clients believe environmentally-friendly practices are suppliers. The exhibitors represented “the right thing to do” and that supplier fails to offer Green options, there’s a good a wide spectrum of industries, while most suppliers surveyed (57 percent) chance those clients eventually will take their business to a company whose philosophy were designers or producers of mirrors their own. exhibits or displays. 12 A N I N C O N V E N I E N T B O O T H © EXHIBITOR MAGAZINE GR OUP