Championing the specialists who
help solve some of the world’s greatest challenges

In the following stories, you’ll hear from colleagues who have been supporting specialists whose goals are to address some of the biggest challenges in society, the environment or their own markets.

See below and read 2019 sustainability report for stories direct from our colleagues.

Perrine Ardouin, APLF Director, Informa Markets, Hong Kong

 

Fast fashion faces sustainability challenges in some areas but less so
in others, such as leather. APLF (Asia Pacific Leather Fair) was voted
the industry’s most important leather event and we’ve found an
important role to play as champions of a material that is sustainable
by nature. Produced by tanners who process hides that would
otherwise be wasted as a by-product of the meat industry, leather
is also long-lasting and bio-degradable.

Championing sustainability has been central to APLF for well over
a decade. Most of our conferences, and most new products launched
at the show each year, have sustainability built in. The Leather
Working Group (LWG), who established the industry’s gold, silver
and bronze sustainability ratings for tanneries, host their Annual
Meeting at our show. So does Leather Naturally, an industrial group
we helped found to promote the beauty, durability, versatility and
(most importantly) sustainability of leather. We developed the
Sustainability in the Leather Supply Chain conference, and it’s also
the occasion for the Tannery of the Year Award and gala dinner.


Fashion forward

 
The industry has come a long way since the LWG began offering sustainability audits and certification in 2005. Driven by consumers, brands needed to understand which suppliers met their requirements on sustainability in the broadest sense – on environmental, human rights and compliance issues. Today, the majority of tanneries in China and other countries in Asia-Pacific region have upgraded their production. Treatments are increasingly environmentally friendly, such as vegetable tannins and solvent-free dye, and in some of the most advanced tanneries water discharge from the tanning process is drinkable!

 

Reflecting the trends in the global leather industry, in 2018 we introduced the ‘PPP process’ for all exhibitors – a Profiling and Positioning Procedure that shows our commitment to transparency. We require every exhibitor to declare their sustainability credentials, and we include proofs of their certificates in the online showroom. And every year we continue to invite the technicians and experts from British Leather Centre to organise training programmes with us in Hong Kong, where fashion industry professionals can get clued up on the latest auditing, compliance and certifications.

 

Setting our sights higher
 

We have made it our mission to become the region’s leading sustainable sourcing platform for the fashion industry – including
non-leather materials. To do that, we’ve set up a Sustainability Steering Committee to guide our development, comprised of our exhibitors, brands, research centres and organisations promoting sustainability.

Jessica Rubin, Senior Director – Content Marketing Informa Markets, Boulder

 

Since joining Informa 11 years ago, I’ve watched how we have
increasingly provided the platform for others to inspire change

– not least when it comes to sustainability. Today at Informa Health
& Nutrition, I help companies in the natural products industry tell their
stories, to grow businesses and bring more health to more people.

It’s not surprising to me that a recent study found that 78%

of consumers believe it is no longer acceptable for companies to
just make money. There’s an expectation that companies should positively impact society as well.


The pillar of purpose
 

As well as price, quality of product and convenience, consumers
increasingly care about sustainability and the mission of a brand. And it’s a massive opportunity for those brands that do it well.

 

Unilever understood this when I first met with them in 2016. Some of
their brands had exhibited at New Hope Network’s 85,000+ person event Natural Products Expo West in the past and they saw us as an important partner. We act as an amplifier to their rallying call by creating content marketing that builds trust in their products, with stories that promote sustainable best practices to other companies, retailers and industry influencers that engage with our market networks in various ways.

 

Spreading good deeds

 

The message is that there are companies making products that are not only good for you, but also good for the planet and society. For example, Unilever brands like Pukka Herbs donate at least 1% of
all sales to environmental projects through 1% for the Planet, and Growing Roots donates a staggering 50% of profits to urban agriculture organisations. Culture Republick is supporting local arts with 10% of profits, while Schmidt’s and Love Beauty and Planet products are proudly vegan and cruelty free, a crucial
factor for their customers. And at Natural Products Expo West, we’ve teamed up with Unilever to offer education sessions on sustainability for other businesses in the natural products industry. Independent and large retailers get involved, which shows how big and small companies can work together. We further build out this story through a range of digital content tools. Ultimately, we’re showing how
sustainable, mission-driven business models are cultivating health for people and the planet, growing their businesses and defining a new collaboration economy.

Rose Chitanuwat, Group Brand Director – ASEAN, Informa Markets, Bangkok

 

Food Ingredients (FI) Asia is the number one meeting
place for Southeast Asia’s food industry, gathering leading
ingredient suppliers, distributors and manufacturers.
We look at everything from how the region can be more
self-sufficient on food to how the industry innovates around
locally grown ingredients.

 

Serving the industry


For large numbers of small businesses in our industry, one
of the most challenging things is working out the process
of getting their product approved for sale or export. The
regulators, Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
and few of government agencies such as Thailand Institution
of Science Technology and Research (TISTR), were also finding
it difficult to connect with all the new entrants to the market
and ensure food is safe.


As the industry’s convenor, we saw an opportunity to partner
with these groups and invited the FDA and TISTR to take space
at our show where they could engage with businesses to help
them understand the process. The result has been hugely
successful. By creating space to connect, we help them work
better together and help make the whole industry more efficient.

 

Blossoming partnership


As a result of this growing trust, the FDA invited us to join
a community project with them to support deprived schools
in rural Thailand. We brought together colleagues, suppliers
and other partners to visit the schools and run education
sessions. The children there are the future of our country
and subjects like English, computing and self-sufficiency
helps share opportunities with those who are at risk of being
left behind. It’s been a great source of happiness to make
a difference to the students there and give them aspiration.

 

This growing relationship with the FDA now means they bring
us into consultative conversations about food waste and
small business support in Thailand, which is an exciting new
role for us as advisors in the industry. They are also backing
our invitation to the FDAs from other countries in Asia to join
our future shows, which will only bring further benefits to our
industry in the region.

Daniela Elia, Vitafoods Head of Marketing, Informa Markets, London

 

Vitafoods Europe brings 25,000 industry experts together every
year to help shape the food industry to create optimal health and
nutrition through science and innovation. We foster relationships
and support knowledge sharing for specialists all across the industry
who are looking to connect and learn about the future of the
nutraceutical industry.


Sustainability has become increasingly important to our industry.
We’ve spent the last three years building a portfolio of activities and
commitments to help our customers understand what the collective
priorities are on sustainability and find new sources of solutions and
innovation to address them.


But we’ve also been partners with the city of Geneva for more than
two decades, bringing hundreds of thousands of new visitors to the
city over the life of the event. This has a huge positive impact on the
local economy.


Reading last year’s sustainability report, I learned that Informa’s
ongoing development of a set of tools and common methodologies
A year of investment in Health, Safety and Security can enable events like Vitafoods to estimate a selection of the key economic, social and environmental values they create. It gave me confidence that these had been developed in partnership with Little Blue Research, an independent impact valuation consultancy. I could
see that a clear understanding of the values created for Geneva and
our attendees helps cement long-term commercial partnerships and
demonstrates return on investment by those groups.

 

Quantifying these impacts in financial terms also allows us to
understand the net benefit arising from an event, taking into account
many of the different impacts of the event.

 

The results show a high level of value created for our host city
including local economic benefits from visitor spend and our spend
on local suppliers as well. It also shows a lot of value created in the
vital nutraceutical industry. To make sure we didn’t just focus on the
positives, we also sought to value the environmental impacts from
carbon emissions using estimated costs of carbon required to
achieve the Paris Agreement.

 

It’s important for us to consider as many aspects of the impacts
as possible, particularly the largest ones, and we’ve shown the
relative sizes of them in the diagram. This gives us a really good
indication of where we create even more value for attendees and
our host city whilst improving our contribution to climate change.
We’re also using what we learned about the tool to help the Group
Sustainability team improve the model and method, including adding
in estimates of other impacts such as waste and spend on stand
contractors by exhibitors.

 

Rob Correa, VP US Boating, Informa Markets, Fort Lauderdale

 

Here in Florida, we run several boat shows including the world’s
largest: the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

 

More power to us

 

Our progress on generators is probably the thing I’m most proud of. The city infrastructure wasn’t able to deliver the
power we needed so we were bringing in a lot of additional
petrol generators. By working with city officials and local power
companies, we’ve supported overhaul and upgrade of the local
electricity grids.


In 2019, for the first year, shows in Miami and Palm Beach ran
entirely off city grid power and we eliminated half the generators
at Fort Lauderdale. We’re over the hump and well on the way to
being 100% generator-free. This not only saves us money and
reduces our carbon emissions but it reduces local air and noise
pollution as well as enhancing the local infrastructure that others
can then make use of.


We’ve also been upgrading our vehicle fleet. Given our fuel
usage accounted for around 10% of Informa’s carbon emissions,
this makes a material improvement to the overall emissions
of the Group and we’re proud to make that difference.

 

Launching new ideas to build a better show


To deliver the event, we own over seven miles of floating docks
that we set up for each show. Even though they were built to
regulations, we discovered the docks were at risk of shedding
polystyrene pellets from the interior and we didn’t want to put
the Florida ecosystems at risk. In 2019, we completed a project to
update the docks with a polyethylene resin sheath that prevents
this happening. Even better, we found the docks’ buoyancy
increased by 10% meaning we can continue to grow our show
and improve safety. Other boat shows are now calling us to ask
how we did it.


We were also using a lot of treated hardwood flooring. The
lumber had to be stored outside between shows and, with the
wear and weathering, it only lasted two years before needing to
be replaced. We’ve now designed and adopted recycled plastic
decking for nearly 90% of all flooring at the show. It lasts much
longer, creates a use for plastic waste, perhaps meaning less
plastic enters the ocean, and hugely reduces our use of
chemically treated hardwoods

 

 

Chris Lee, Managing Director, Health & Nutrition Europe, Informa Markets, London

 

Vitafoods Europe is one of Informa’s largest and newest events to
be awarded the ISO 20121 Event Sustainability Management System
certificate – external recognition of the way we manage and improve
the sustainability of our events.


It’s our mission to shape the food industry for optimal health through
our content and communities, contributing to the SDG3: Healthy
Lives and Wellbeing. But we also want to run our event in a way that’s
healthy for our attendees, the community and environment.


We encourage people to discuss and debate during our
educational talks and networking events, such as the new
Diversity & Inclusion Roundtable, or the 5km run and Yoga Wellness
session. We also work with partners who share our commitment
to environmental sustainability by powering the event with
renewable energy and introducing new regulations for building
stands to encourage exhibitors to move away from using
disposable materials.