CSR & Sustainability
Our sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) focus is a natural consequence of our mission to enable communities and individuals to visit the future. Quite simply, the future must be greener and friendlier, or there will be no future worth living.
Moreover, we believe that our social, environmental, and economic activities are closely interrelated and drive better business performance.
These policy guidelines are group-wide but the way they are acted upon depends largely on what makes most sense in each office and at each venue. On CSR as elsewhere, we think global, act local.
Did you know?
Sustainable mobility requires not just new vehicles but something of a mind shift.
We not only provide an electric car and charging points at three of our Belgian sites, so that employees can easily travel from one site to another without personal expense and without adding to our carbon footprint.
We go further.
Any team member who is interested in using the vehicle can ask for free training and take it on a test drive. And we encourage them to use it during their midday break, for example to go shopping, ideally with colleagues.
Want to cycle to work? Fantastic. Then join one of our cycle-to-work schemes. Easyfairs will refund part or even the entire price of a new bicycle and provide finance. Each site is also equipped with a company bicycle. So please, get some fresh air at lunchtime!
Prefer to use public transport? No problem, we reimburse the costs as far as is possible according to local conditions and legislation.
And to help team members to adapt their mindsets, we offer gentle encouragement with Transport Days when we ask people to use an alternative, green, means of transport to get to work.
When choosing our company cars, we also think green. Where possible, we use hybrids.
For any staff event that requires travel, we always ask people to use public transport – ideally on trains that run 100% on green energy – or to car share.
Live events consume a lot of energy: lighting, heating, power supply to exhibitor stands etc. We have thought long and hard about how to reduce consumption and rely, as far as possible, on green energy supplies at the venues we manage.
At all of our venues we have been replacing the conventional lighting with LED lighting and installing new energy-efficient boilers.
We installed solar panels on the roof of Flanders Expo (53,000 m²) more than 10 years ago and have been using clean solar energy to meet our energy requirements. In recognition of this and our other sustainability initiatives, the FLEX Meeting Center at Flanders Expo was the very first meeting place to be awarded The Green Key environmental label.
In the Nordic Region, too, all of the electricity we buy for our venues comes from renewable sources generated by water or wind power. At Malmömässan, we also have geothermal heating and cooling.
These are the more visible wins for energy conservation you will find at Easyfairs but there is so much more going on, driven by innovative technologies. Motion sensors and light sensors ensure that just the right amount of light energy is provided, and no more. Frequency-controlled transport pumps maintain the ideal flow of liquid around central heating and cooling systems, ensuring that visitors and exhibitors to events are comfortable while eliminating energy wastage. We regularly inspect venues and offices for sources of heat loss and take anti-draught measures.
From its very inception, the Easyfairs business model has also been a waste reduction model. Unlike traditional events, where exhibition stands are “torn down” and disposed of after the doors close, we were pioneers of all-in-one reusable stand modules. Where possible, we also use biodegradable and recyclable carpet at our events.
Innovations such as Smart Badges, EasyGo and My Easyfairs easify life for our visitors and exhibitors, giving them a great customer experience. But there is also a big win for the environment. Rather than carrying away large quantities of printed material from our events, visitors can simply download company and product literature electronically.
These measures alone make us hugely more resource-efficient than competitors, but smaller actions and initiatives by our CSR committees also add up to make a big difference. For example, Easyfairs offices have eliminated the use of plastic cups and spoons, using only sustainable materials in the kitchens. We sort our waste into recyclable, biodegradable and other within the company and encourage our customers and visitors to do likewise. We have implemented local schemes such as collecting spent batteries and old mobile phones for recycling. And of course we have drastically reduced paper usage at our offices by various means, such as the use of electronic communication and documentation and reuse and recycling of paper.
In general, the policy is: nothing that can be recycled or used to create energy goes to waste.
Food & beverages
Although Easyfairs is not in the hospitality and catering business – in general, the food and beverages served at our venues and events are provided by subcontractors – as a customer, we exercise significant influence. And we use it! We do not, and should not, tell anyone what they can and cannot consume, but we feel obliged to ensure that healthy options are always on offer. We also ask our catering services suppliers to source products and ingredients from ethical producers wherever possible.
As well as providing fresh fruit and healthy drinks, our offices have taken a number of initiatives to encourage employees to eat well during the working day.
Our Belgian office has combined such an initiative with its exercise programme. Each time a member of staff takes part in exercise, for example a midday run or yoga, they get their “savings card” stamped. When they have collected five stamps on the card, they get a free healthy lunch.
As a company, we also take part in the annual World Vegetarian Day. Not because we are all vegetarians, but because we recognise the health and environmental benefits of reducing meat consumption.
Reducing emissions & conserving water
There are many other things we are doing to reduce our carbon footprint and conserve resources that do not fit so neatly into the above categories. The trucks and forklifts we use at our venues are electrically powered. None run by fossil fuel remains in operation.
It’s also amazing what you can achieve through smart design of something as simple as a roof. Malmömässan’s 10,000 sqm green roof is covered in sedum, which is more effective at absorbing CO2 than other plant matter, such as grass. It is making a positive contribution to reducing CO2 throughout the whole Hyllie area of southern Sweden.
And talking of roofs: our venues at Nekkerhal and Flanders Expo provide hotels for bees! Cared for by our company beekeeper, they not only contribute to the green environment through pollination, they also enable us to produce our own honey.
To conserve water we have equipped the bathrooms in our venues with taps that have water-saving closures and waterless urinals, and we have taken local initiatives to conserve and reuse rainwater.
Easyfairs is all about supporting and nurturing communities. That also applies to being active and friendly members of the communities where we work, do business and live, taking part in many social initiatives to promote their wellbeing.
A few examples:
Every year around Christmas, our Belgian team organises Breakfast for a Better Life. We invite friends and stakeholders to enjoy a healthy breakfast for a small fee, with all proceeds (generously rounded up) going to the non-profit organisation For a Better Life, which donates them to a deserving charity.
At the end of August Easyfairs volunteers get together to spend Poverello Day with less advantaged people, joining in with activities and serving meals.
Team members are also encouraged to volunteer as blood donors, with the Red Cross visiting annually so that they can donate during working hours.
At our UK & International office, the team gets involved in local initiatives to help out the homeless and victims of domestic abuse in the run-up to Christmas, and many team members take part in fundraising activities such as fun runs and community self-help schemes throughout the year, also during working hours.
In the Nordic Region, rather than giving Christmas presents, the team makes donations to charities and good causes such as Médecins sans Frontières.
Of course, our employees are one of the most important communities we serve. In our offices we make it easy for them to live healthy lifestyles, for example by allowing time to take exercise and providing fresh fruit.