Social Responsibility in Our Industry

Social Responsibility in Our Industry

Editorial Note: Originally published in the October 2022 issue of Trade Show Executive magazine.

For years our industry has understood the economic impact we have on the communities in which our shows are held. We have enough data from organizations such as the Center for Exhibition Industry Research to show that local economies benefit greatly from the presence of exhibitions and events. But what about the other impacts that offer room for improvement, such as those pertaining to social responsibility?

Given the “reset” that our industry is currently experiencing, this is the opportune moment to give these considerations a closer look and address them more thoroughly as we strive to meet, and in the near future exceed, our pre-pandemic performance. As with most industry-wide efforts, the success of this process lies in the collaboration among all stakeholders toward a common goal. Here are some of the ways in which IAEE engages in social responsibility when it comes to our trade shows.

In order to promote more sustainable trade shows, IAEE follows guidelines set forth by the Events Industry Council and its Centre for Sustainability and Social Impact to reduce our carbon footprint through best practices and policies that apply to all parties involved. At Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition, we also work with a contractor to leave a small footprint while making a big impact as well as team with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified venues and hotels for a more holistic business model. By exercising the utmost environmental awareness throughout the entire show cycle, we can reduce the environmental impact of our shows even as they continue to grow.

The highly successful IAEE PRIDE After Party at Expo! Expo! celebrates our LGBTQIA+ community and its supporters. This is just one way in which IAEE demonstrates its commitment to recognizing individuals and groups that are under-represented within the membership and leadership of the association to ensure they have a voice.

Social giving is one of the most effective ways to contribute to host cities. There is never a shortage of local organizations that can benefit from the power of our shows in their community. Humanity Rocks has not only become a highly anticipated networking event at Expo! Expo!, but has generously contributed to many local charities since its inception in 2009. Since then, we have added the Gift of Service and Terrence Donnelly Memorial Health & Wellness Event to the roster of Expo! Expo! activities that give back to local organizations each year.

IAEE works closely with Expo! Expo! partners and the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) to ensure proper health and safety measures are top priority. The GBAC Fundamentals Online Course teaches participants how to prepare for, respond to and recover from biohazards in the workplace, and various IAEE staff members are GBAC Trained Technicians. IAEE also follows the guidance of The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as it relates to COVID-19 and other communicable diseases along with local requirements to meet safely.

In addition to personal health safety, IAEE maintains top ethical business practices through a strict anti-suit casing policy at Expo! Expo!. Any attendee observed suit casing at the show is subject to removal and additional penalties.

By its very nature, the trade show industry is continually evolving and improving. I am proud of how we embrace innovation and constantly strive to do better. I strongly urge executive leaders to partake in the movement toward a gold standard regarding social responsibility if your organization hasn’t already. And, if it has, I invite you to share how your organization is leading the charge.

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