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Impact measurement for the North American events industry


To assist Sustainable Events: Big Initiative Group (SEBIG) in advancing environmental best practice across the trade show industry, Little Blue Research conducted a sector-wide environmental materiality assessment to understand the USA and Canadian trade show industry’s overall environmental impact.

Client description



20+ organisations represented






Client need

SEBIG, a collaboration of organisations from across the exhibitions industry value chain, required support to undertake a materiality assessment to address the environmental impacts associated with the Business to Business (B2B) trade show industry in the USA and Canada. The aim of the project was to understand the environmental impact of the industry in the context of the industry’s wider economic impact.
The research project was designed to provide a holistic approach using an iterative methodology to:
o Understand and measure the industry’s collective environmental impact;
o Quantify the most important environmental impacts overall and by event/show life-cycle stage;
o Pinpoint gaps in data or capability essential to decision making and industry-wide action;
o Develop a framework for strategic short and longer-term actions for collective engagement at scale; and
o Generate messaging to unite and engage industry stakeholders.

The challenge

Obtaining data across the value chain for the trade show sector.

Developing models to quantify environmental impact for:
o GHG emissions (energy, logistics & visitor transport)
o Waste (including methods for food and plastic)
o Booth construction materials.

The results

Identification of material environmental issues across the life-cycle of B2B trade shows.

Prioritised list of short and longer term actions for the industry to take forward.


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