MACH 2024, already expected to be one of the most important exhibitions in the event’s illustrious history, is also set to the most sustainable. With challenges mounting for the UK’s engineering-based manufacturers, MACH 2024 organiser, the Manufacturing Technologies Association is taking a proactive approach to the current situation with a show-ready ethos that promotes the green agenda while offering exhibitors cost-effective solutions for attractive stands that won’t break the budget.
The approach is in keeping with recommendations from the Association of Event Organisers, which has recently published guidance for Venues, Contractor and Organisers to promote more sustainable events not just in terms of environmental impact, but true sustainability for encouraging talent and diversity, greener events and social responsibility.
James Selka DL, CEO of the MTA, said: “Let me be clear, this not a greenwashing exercise. As a not-for-profit enterprise with a strong ethos for socially responsible business decisions, the MTA is adopting the AEO guidance into its way of working as it is the right thing to do, both ethically and financially.
“We are working on a number of initiatives for the 2024 exhibition, both planned and in place, and while we are by no means fully there yet, the influence on the show will be considerable and set the tone for future events. Exhibitors and our host venue, the NEC in Birmingham, are supportive of the changes we are making, and I thank them for their help.”
Examples of the sustainability approach include the re-use of the MTA exhibition stand from MACH 2022, the development of a ‘Green Mark’ badge of honour for exhibitors adopting re-used stands and as far as possible, a digital-only approach to marketing material to reduce unnecessary printing. Other initiatives are set to follow in the coming months, while the NEC’s own plan includes an LED light replacement programme, zero waste to landfill policy and recycling sent to a plant just seven miles from its campus to reduce unnecessary transport miles.
In keeping with this, examples of show readiness will include the use of lightweight materials so more can be stored in fewer vehicles, thereby reducing transport emissions, the encouragement of electric commercial vehicles, the re-use of show fabrics and carpets, the adoption of low-energy LED lighting, the use of solvent-free ink and where possible, the re-use or hiring of stand furniture and fittings.
This will benefit exhibitors as it helps with their own green agenda, and it also makes it easier for them to turn up of the day of the event to a good looking show stand that is all set for them to start exhibiting.
“This is the first time we will be offering this show-ready service and aside from the environmental benefits, it also means exhibitors can budget better as it enables them to fix and spread the cost of both stand space and stand build. This will also facilitate better cash flow and a lower administrational burden on their staff,” added Mr Selka.
However, one thing that will not be changing is the spirit of the event, with MACH remaining the national manufacturing show run by the industry for the industry.
This has been enhanced by developments within the MTA and its adoption of a new engineering-based manufacturing cluster containing both the Engineering Industries Association (EIA) and AMUK, the UK’s only trade association for Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing.
Each of member of the cluster will have a strong presence at the show. The EIA will again be organising its Engineering Supply Chain Show, while AMUK is advocating through the Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Zone.
Co-locating the EIA with MACH 2024 also offers additional sustainability gains as it negates the need for a separate show with the costs that would entail, both commercially and environmentally.