New sustainability report shares behind the scenes success and learnings ahead of IMEX Frankfurt 2024


Ahead of this year’s IMEX Frankfurt, taking place 14 – 16 May, the team has published a Sustainable Event Report revealing the successes, experiments and learnings from last year’s show. 

The report lifts the lid on sustainability planning in the run-up to and execution of IMEX Frankfurt 2023, sharing notable achievements in waste diversion and energy use, as well as highlighting opportunities for improvement as Carina Bauer CEO of the IMEX Group explains: 

“This is the second report we’ve produced, working with our sustainability consultants MeetGreen®, meaning we can now benchmark our progress against 2022. It’s an opportunity to share our successes and our challenges with the wider industry so that they can take what we’ve learned and weave these into their own events.” 

Highlights and learnings 

  • As part of the brand refresh launched at the show, the team invested in “evergreen”, date-free signage that can be used year after year. They also reduced printed signage where possible and used digital projection in some areas. The result was 85 per cent less print production overall compared to 2022​. 
  • Significant strides were made in the areas of F&B, with a particular focus on reducing carbon heavy dishes such as beef (beef generates 60 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram of meat produced). At the show’s food court, beef options were reduced to less than 5 per cent of the menus and over half (58 per cent) of food sales were vegetarian or vegan.  
  • Exhibitors also played their part: Frankfurt Convention Bureau, for example, delivered all booth materials and supplies by bike to reduce fossil fuel consumption. Across the show floor, there was a substantial drop in single-use, “build & burn” booths – a reduction of 38 per cent compared to 2019 levels. The IMEX team is now working to improve this as part of the Better Stands initiative which sets classification criteria according to how much of a stand/booth is reused or recycled.   
  • IMEX welcomed a new addition: four electric buses which transported attendees from Frankfurt’s main railway station to Messe Frankfurt, saving an estimated 103 kg CO2e. 
Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group.

Pathway to a positive impact 

Carina continues: “Our sustainability efforts at IMEX Frankfurt and also at IMEX America are part of our wider strategy to achieve a more positive impact. As we make more progress over time, success comes from focusing on some of the fine details while looking at every decision we make through a green, lower carbon lens. Ultimately, every member of our team is accountable for this mindset shift and for championing positive change.  

“We recently launched our net zero roadmap, part of our commitment to the industry-wide Net Zero Carbon Events (NZCE) initiative. Our intention is to reach net zero by 2030, ahead of the 2050 target set out by NZCE in line with the Paris Agreement.  

“This roadmap is just one element in our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy, and an expression of our vision: a thriving global events industry focused on positive change.​” 

It takes a team 

Sustainability success is always a collaborative effort and IMEX Frankfurt is no exception. The IMEX team led by its internal “green squad” worked closely with the host venue and city along with key suppliers and, of course, attendees.  

  • The IMEX Frankfurt 2023 sustainability report can be downloaded here. 
  • IMEX Frankfurt 2024 takes place at Messe Frankfurt 14 – 16 May. 
Adam Parry
Author: Adam Parry

Adam is the co-founder and editor of Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.

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