German trade shows to be climate-neutral by 2040

Messe Munich / Paul Gerhard Loske

The Association of The German Trade Fair Industry (AUMA) has announced that they are set to become climate-neutral by 2040 and supplied by 100% green power by 2025.

AUMA has declared that sustainability will be a requirement in agreements with its industry partners from 2023 onwards. These goals were set by AUMA’s 69 organisers, associations, and exhibition hosts at their annual Berlin conference.

According to AUMA, accomplishing the sustainability goals will be a joint process under continuous development and surveillance.

Philip Harting, chairman of AUMA, said: "Our trade fair venues have been working for years to become increasingly sustainable. Now, we are setting industry-wide sustainability standards for our sector.”

“In order to remain attractive as meeting places, we are tackling this major task in an extremely tense economic situation for our industry - after almost two years of a trade fair ban."

Investing in the future

During the ban, German exhibition companies invested around €150m ($152.7m) into the industry - including the modernisation of hall lighting and the expansion of e-Mobility.

The companies also plan to invest more than €450m ($458m) in the refurbishment and modernisation of the venues over the next three years. Further investments are expected from exhibitors, stand builders and service partners.  

The industry agreement will also cover the following:

  • Creating a portfolio of sustainable stands available for construction at shows.
  • Implementing incentives for exhibitors to reusable stands.
  • The economical use of water at shows.
  • The further greening of exhibition sites.
  • Reducing CO2 emissions by streamlining exhibition logistics.
  • Improving public transport options to and from exhibitions.
  • Developing a larger range of organic products in catering, and the avoidance of food waste.  

The sustainability agreement has been under development by AUMA since Q3 2021, together with more than 30 representatives from exhibitions and associations. The agreement also aims to build on the results of several workshops and member surveys, according to AUMA.