A sustainable future for the events industry

Our ethos….

There are a huge number of practical and ecological benefits to hosting an event online. Aside from the added convenience to visitors of it being available 24/7 there is no travel required; other than reaching for an iPad, PC or mobile. Although webinars have been around for several years and work on a number of platforms, there is currently only one real option when it comes to a large full-scale trade fair.

The V-Ex Virtual Exhibition platform was designed from the outset as an interactive 3D environment to support online conferences and large-scale virtual trade shows with hundreds of stands and thousands of visitors.

*This is a conclusion drawn from a recent paper ‘Making industrial exhibitions green’ based on the ISO 20121 standard comparing a V-Ex virtual trade show with several live physical events.

EU Trade Shows



(CO2 -eq) show average

Tonnes Globally*

* per annum

The Scale of the industry…and the issue

The number of tradeshows organised during 2019 – just in continental Europe exceeded 2670, bringing together over 735,500 exhibitors and 75.4 million visitors. When you consider the carbon equivalent (CO2-eq) for a single three-day, mid-size trade show is over 500 tonnes, then this extends into the millions of tonnes globally per annum.

The impact of putting the show on

A three-day fair with 120 exhibitors and 11,600 m2 of occupied surface can generate 75.5 tonnes CO2-eq, 50.6% of which come from heating and lighting of the venue, for a total of 38.2 tonnes CO2-eq. The second greatest contributor to the environmental impact of the preparation of a fair is the assembly of spotlight bars and carpets (over 20% of total emissions). This activity was followed by the assembly of electronic equipment, which is responsible for over 15% of total CO2-eq.

The impact made by visitors

A three-day conference with 800 attendees has a carbon footprint of 455 tonnes of CO2 equivalents (CO2eq), corresponding to an average of 0.57 tonnes CO2-eq per participant. The main contributors to these emissions are travel activities, which accounts for a total of 378 tonnes CO2-eq or 0.47 tonnes CO2-eq per attendee. These are followed by hotel overnight stays (39 tonnes CO2-eq in total) and catering (20 tonnes CO2-eq, 0.25 tonnes CO2-eq per individual).

“A virtual exhibition will create less than 1% of the carbon emissions of a live event”

“Designed to help make an event more sustainable, no matter its type or size”

About ISO 20121

According to the official ISO website:
‘Events take a heavy toll on resources, society and the environment, often generating significant waste. In addition to promoting more responsible consumption, this International Standard has been developed to relieve the strain on local infrastructure and utilities, reducing the potential for conflict in communities where events are hosted.’

How does it work and who is it for?
ISO 20121 offers guidance and best practice to help manage an event and control its social, economic and environmental impact. Every action counts, plus, you might find that it also helps cut unnecessary costs. The standard has been developed with input from many different stakeholders, including representatives from the event industry, to make it practical and useful. It addresses all stages of an events’ supply chain and includes monitoring and measuring guidelines.

More information at:

Using virtual exhibition platforms such as V-Ex, which already hosts full-scale digital exhibitions, traditional venue owners can now rely on rendering physically accurate trade shows using real-world lighting, materials and dimensions to recreate virtual twins.

The ‘virtual’ halls and stands can look visually identical to the bricks and mortar versions and host most of the same trade show subjects. Trade shows that deal with services, physical products or software transfer very easily to a digital format.

Recruitment, professional services, machines, technology, components, toys, planes, trains and automobiles all work well – live animals and arena events not so much. Seminars, presentations and conferences also work well as presentations can be pre-record or live steamed.

The V-Ex application is currently in its 4th generation, with 10 years of usage and development behind it. V-Ex allows owners of venues and live events to expand into the virtual world – offering exhibitors the chance to engage with a global audience, 365 days a year. A powerful CMS and analytics package drives visitor engagement while simultaneously delivering vital feedback and generating qualified sales leads in real-time.

For more information contact us directly. The sustainability whitepapeer can be downloaded by filling out the form below!

Please fill out the form to receive a copy of the whitepaper as a download!

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