Quartz Publishing & Exhibitions has announced that the next International Materials Handling Exhibition, which is held every three years, will work towards being carbon neutral by offsetting the carbon produced by staging the show and by visitor travel to the venue (the NEC, Birmingham).


I wonder if it’ll attract a greater number of exhibitors and visitors, keen to be seen associating with the green initiative. There were notable absences, certainly in the overhead lifting sector, at the 2007 event.

Most said the cost of exhibiting was a turn-off – stand space was priced at £205 (at the time, nearly Euros 300) per square metre – while someone else said the “dominance of fork lift trucks” prevented them from attending.

The show had a total footprint of 45,000 sq m and attracted 336 exhibitors in total. Spanning four fully interconnecting halls – 17, 18, 19 and 20 – the event was co-located with the Cleaning Show and had exclusive use of the adjacent NEC Atrium, including “improved registration and entry points,” according to organisers.

In 2010, for the first time, the exhibition will feature a special environment zone. This green-styled open lounge area will include terminals at which visitors to the show can offset their carbon footprint of travel to and from the show (at no cost to themselves) using a web-based carbon calculator.

Paul Michael, managing director of Quartz, said: “More and more businesses are adopting a low-emissions policy as a core part of their corporate strategy. The issue will be even more important by 2010, but we all know that it’s imperative that we act now to limit climate change, so we’re taking up the challenge in our plans for IMHX.”

Working with an accredited carbon offset partner, Quartz will offset the CO2 resulting from the exhibition by planting trees within the UK. Given its own branding, featuring a leaf design and the slogan ‘be part of the solution’, the IMHX environment zone will be located in hall 17 of the show and will also index and showcase the latest environmentally friendly products and services from exhibitors.

Event director Rob Fisher said: “There are so many other ways that we as organisers, our exhibitors and visitors can help to reduce the carbon footprint of IMHX. We will encourage visitors to use public transport, where possible, by providing details and maps on the show’s website.”

Visitors and exhibitors will be encouraged to share cars when travelling to and from the NEC. Quartz has promised to use recycled paper wherever possible and “we want our press office to be virtually paperless,” it said. Bold talk. Exhibitors will also be encouraged to bring fewer materials to the show and to download documentation onto USB sticks for visitors. Visitor carrier bags will also be recyclable.

As Gary Forger, Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) senior vice president of professional development, said in his latest column in Hoist‘s sister publication Overhead Crane & Hoist (OCH), it seems that we have entered a new season when it comes to green (or sustainability) in manufacturing, warehousing and distribution.

“If you go back just a year,” he said, “green was just starting to take on new strategic dimensions in industry. It had been longer on talk than action for some time. It seems people were always looking for an immediate ROI. And that was too high a hurdle. But last year, that started to change.”

He noted that businesses started to take a longer look at green. “They started to find more opportunities for green. While I don’t know for sure exactly what can be attributed directly to Al Gore and his Nobel Peace Prize in all this, my bet is that it helped to make green more mainstream.”

Today, green is everywhere, he concludes.

Is your firm ready for the green revolution?

Richard Howes, Editor

The front cover of the May issue of Hoist says it all: See us at CeMAT, Hall 12, Stand F01. Don’t forget to stop by and pick up your latest copy of the magazine.