MEET South West 2020′s vision to show that events can be green too

January 26, 2020

With less than a week to go to MEET South West 2020 – the region’s only trade show dedicated to the events industry – its organisers are highlighting its sustainability credentials.

When the inaugural event took place last year one of the key objectives was to make it as sustainable as possible. Now with 20202’s MEET South West taking place next this Friday (January 31) at Mercure Bristol Grand, sustainability is again to the fore. 

By working with partners and exhibitors, the organisers have been able to introduce some major changes for the event, which brings together people who plan meetings, conferences and events with 60 venues, suppliers, event services and event agencies.

There is also a curated programme of 14 expert speakers sharing their knowledge and expertise.

Kicking off the afternoon programme, Soil Association business development events manager Tiina Wastie will share what practical steps and hard work she has undertaken to ensure the Bristol-based organisation’s events are as sustainable as possible.

Tiina will give case studies and offer advice and guidance to event planners keen to take bolder steps. 

The MEET South West team has also been working with its delivery partners to maximise the opportunities for the show:

The Mercure Bristol Grand works to strict guidelines via parent company Accor’s Planet 21 programme, which outlines its ambitious goals for 2020. 

Two of these are sourcing food and performance of its buildings – the second is tricky when the Bristol Grand was built in 1809.

Areas highlighted by MEET South West 2020 will include:

  • A proportion of the hotel’s revenue goes directly towards replanting trees within the UK and Ireland under Accor’s Plant for the Planet scheme
  • Food waste is strictly managed. Lunches and dinners are not offered on a daily basis, so meals are made to order
  • Leftovers from the breakfast buffet are sold at cost price to the local market which is then distributed to Shelter accommodation, low income households, donations and students
  • Energy is provided by a supplier with strong sustainable initiatives and LED lighting used
  • All amenities, paint and flooring are eco-friendly and all toiletries are under review to be provided in bulk not in the individual single-use bottles
  • Waste is recycled where is can be and all food waste separated and used as a compost. 

The venue will serve all drinks from washable crockery, cutlery and glassware and MEET South West 2020 delegates are welcome to bring their own reusable coffee cups and water bottles to fill up. 

In fact, the hotel is promising attendees will not see a single plastic straw, while sugar is the cube variety and biscuits will not individually wrapped.

For the second year, MEET South West is in a city centre location to encourage use of public transport.

The show’s travel partner GWR is recommending taking the train to Bristol Temple Meads, from where the venue is a quick 15-minute walk.

Attendees can take advantage of a discount when they attend a business event in the city and travel on the GWR network with up to 80% on their conference discount tickets.

Bristol Ferry Boats can drop delegates off at the city centre landing spot from where it’s a quick walk to the hotel.

The city centre and nearby Broadmead are well serviced by First Bus from destinations all over the city. There are also plenty of bike racks at the top of Broad Street, close to the hotel.

Organisers are also reducing landfill with event-specific equipment and collateral. Delivery partners Colour Studios and Evans AV & Staging are providing recyclable branding and signage collateral, which for an event is crucial.

All Colour Studios displays use at least 75% recycled materials and are all 100% recyclable at the end of life.

For the second year, Colour Studios has offered a special package for any of exhibitor looking to refresh their visuals for MEET South West and beyond.

Evans will be using fully recyclable graphic wraps and has promised there will be no Foamex (PVC foam sheeting) used at MEET South West.

Also key for 2020 is a big ‘goodbye’ to a printed show guide and a ‘hello’ an all-new event app, pictured, via delivery partner EventsCase.

The app will include all the information needed, including the programme, speaker profiles, exhibitor listings and floor plan, not to mention networking opportunities and a QR code for lead capture when connecting with people at the show.

Attendees can load their profile before January 31 if they opt in to make their profile public and start networking before the show.

MEET South West is also again working with delivery partner Event Reference to bring attendees their print-on-demand badges. So much paper was saved last year by only printing name badges when attendees arrived and scanned the barcode on their joining instructions. This included the event team, partners, exhibitors and speakers – not just delegates.

Due to the success of #BYOL (Bring Your Own Lanyard) last year, the same will happen again this year.

Event professionals are swimming in lanyards from various events and shows and so MEET  South West is encouraging everyone to bring their favourite or one which maybe is a talking point. The only lanyards handed out will be for delegates who do not wish to be photographed as a form of identification.

Exhibitor and 2019 speakers Ignition will bring a living wall to the exhibition and are committing to planting a tree based on the number of visitors to their stand who connect with them online.

MEET South West is produced by a trio of West of England event professionals – Franco de la Croix-Vaubois, founder of the Event Organisers Network; Thomas Heiser, managing director of Focal Point Event Management and corporate events manager Paola Davis.

Franco said: “We have worked hard all year to bring in more initiatives and work with suppliers who share our vision. We are delighted to be working with our partners, exhibitors and suppliers who continue to support us in this objective.”

Swindon Business News and its sister titles Bristol Business News and Bath Business News continue as MEET South West’s media partner to support and promote the event to its influential readership.

MEET South West is free to attend, but visitors must pre-register. Doors open at 9am with the first expert session at 10am. Some 80 of the region’s leading event industry businesses will be showcased with more than 10 hours of tailored educational content to help organisers deliver more engaging events.

The show finishes at 4pm and is followed by a drinks and canapés reception. There will also be an after-party in the Mercure Bristol Grand’s bar and restaurant with 2-for-1 offers on selected drinks and food.


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