Tackling the sustainability challenge in the packaging industry

Tackling the sustainability challenge in the packaging industry

Easyfairs has an extensive portfolio for the packaging industry, with 30 events organised in 15 cities around Europe.
Sustainability is set to play an increasingly significant role in the industry’s future. Renan Joel, Divisional Managing Director in Easyfairs UK office answers three questions on the topic.

Renan, in 2023 you started to implement a wide range of environmental and social initiatives in the packaging portfolio. Can you tell us why this was so important?
Firstly, we recognised that sustainability is a paramount concern for members of our packaging community. We understood that they look to us for guidance and solutions, and we wanted to ensure that our events address our customers’ questions and needs. By broadly incorporating sustainability content in all our events, we aim to provide a platform that not only facilitates business but also fosters dialogue and knowledge exchange on sustainable practices and solutions.
Secondly, the initiative aligns with Easyfairs’ own ambitious objectives. We believe that as organisers, it’s our responsibility to lead by example, ignite and inspire. Showcasing best practices in sustainability across all our industries through our events makes an important impact as it creates a ripple effect.

Easyfairs recently implemented a 20-point ESG Event Scorecard to ensure its commitment to sustainability is reflected in every event. It tracks progress on key ESG indicators and sets benchmarks. In 2023, 36% of Easyfairs events scored at least 14 points out of 20. London Packaging Week was the first of our events to score 20/20. How did you achieve this?
Achieving the maximum score was indeed a significant accomplishment, and it was made possible through a collaborative spirit and collective effort by our dedicated team.
We instituted biweekly ESG meetings, where we meticulously reviewed all ideas and possibilities, fostering an environment of collaboration and innovation. By bringing together team members from all departments – sales, marketing, and operations – we pursued a holistic approach in our strategy. Each idea was evaluated for its applicability to individual events. This granular approach helped us identify initiatives that were both practical and impactful. Once an idea was proven successful at the event level, we then explored the feasibility of scaling it across our entire portfolio. This iterative and inclusive process ensured that no stone was left unturned in our pursuit of the perfect score.
The unity and synergy among different departments were instrumental in ensuring that every aspect of the event was aligned with our ESG goals.

So what were these initiatives that you implemented at London Packaging week?
We embed sustainability in the event programme, we promoted and incentivise public transport as a travel option for all attendees, we reduced waste by offering reusable stands and recyclable carpets and we did conscious ethical choices for catering and suppliers in general.

London Packaging Week – key achievements

Embedding sustainability in the event content:

50% of the content programme was dedicated to sustainability topics

Promoting public transport:

A multi-channel communication campaign not only promoted green mobility options to all attendees but also offered incentives to come to the event using sustainable public transport

Removing waste streams:

  • All 139 stands built by Easyfairs are “zero waste to landfill”, made only of reusable and recyclable materials and equipped with LEDs
  • The carpet used on all organiser spaces and all-in stands was 100% recyclable
  • There were no plastic bottles on the event floor and water fountains were available
  • The event guide was digital only
  • All banners were reusable or recyclable

Ethical catering:

  • No red meat was served on the event floor
  • We made multiple vegetarian and vegan options available
  • We used compostable packaging

Other initiatives

  • A “living wall” purified the air quality at the event
  • We favoured local suppliers and those applying sustainable practices
  • We partnered with Dementia UK and with OLIO to donate unused food

Learn more about how we make our events more sustainable