At the time of writing (early June) the regulations governing the activity of trade fairs and conferences have not yet been disclosed, which therefore cannot yet resume the activity, but with Marco Lucchi, head of the technical area of Expo Riva Schuh – in the past he worked for an important national event organisation company, as well as having run his own outfitting business for fairs – we can already outline the important innovations that will characterise the next edition of the fair and that will make it a safe event to resume contacts and business.
We will proceed by keywords that correspond to the many questions that each one of us asks himself.
Summary of the situation
“We are a very agile and flexible organization. This will allow us to better manage the initiatives that we intend to accomplish.
Our first goal is to better protect the people who will exhibit and visit the event, even at the cost of some economic sacrifice or giving up exhibition spaces”.
“We will increase the staff assigned to control and assistance. It will supervise inside the exhibition context to avoid situations that could cause discomfort, both truly motivated and even perceived. It will have the task of raising awareness among the participants so that no gatherings are formed inside stands or in common areas”.
“The availability of physical spaces will be increased so as to be able to move within the fair ensuring major distance between people. Once we know how many companies intend to participate as exhibitors and the guidelines concerning the number of people per square metre allowed, we will evaluate the surface area of stands and aisles redefining the arrangement of the layout.
If we won’t be able to expand the spaces of some aisles, we will study one-way routes. And we are also considering, if appropriate, to set up external ad hoc structures.
Moreover, the adoption of a matching system (that we already partially use for our congress events) is under study which is able to connect companies to buyers, so as to better plan the visit to the fair and schedule appointments beforehand”.
“Sanitising and cleaning aimed at the healthiness of all the premises of the fair has always been a priority, regardless of the pandemic. However, already after last January’s edition, when the shadow of the Coronavirus started getting longer, we proceeded to sanitise all the premises of the fairground.
And if during the event, for years now, we have constantly and continuously been monitoring the cleanliness of the common areas and sanitary facilities, this attention will be further intensified, using products specially designed for thorough sanitising.
Regardless of the legal obligations, which we do not yet know, we will make the necessary personal protection equipment available to everyone (face masks and sanitising gels, for example)
Access to the event
“Our aim is to make the fairground safe, therefore we will put in place all those actions that will allow us to leave the possible risks out of the neighborhood.
We will make online pre-registration mandatory, making the most of the digital ticketing that has been active for some time and which, in the last edition, allowed 85% of visitors to avoid queues during the registration phase.
We will expand the opening hours of the fair and each person will choose his/her entry time within predefined and fixed quota slots.
The pilot project of the last edition that added an entrance door to the fairground will be confirmed, so that the fair can be accessed from two different pre-assigned entrances (North and South)”.
“Needless to say, table cleaning services will be enhanced. We are studying a management of purchases at restaurants and bars without cash. Perhaps also the possibility to purchase in advance vouchers online, and to book some tables or access to self-service.
We will push hard to encourage the distribution of meals to exhibitors directly on the stands, so as to reduce the flow to the meal service”.
Waste, management and disposal
“We will increase awareness efforts for a correct separate waste collection, which is even more important today: in fact, we must pay particular attention to the disposal of personal protection equipment.
We already have a very advanced waste management system, which provides for a double differentiation step: in the structure (different available containers for waste disposal), and downstream (what is collected is further checked and separated before reaching disposal plants”.
“We are the only Italian exhibition organisation, and one of the few in Europe, to be certified as sustainable according to the ISO 20121 standard, with constant audits that monitor the preparation and development of the event.
What does this actually mean?
A separate waste collection that reaches 85%. We recycle or reuse (donating it to other bodies) even the carpet. We have invested in the collection of waste on our own, which is also active during the set-up phase of the event, so we can be sure that each material arrives correctly to disposal facilities.
All our restaurants adopt completely biodegradable materials, and plastic is only used for the strict minimum needed. We have been part of the Food For Good circuit for 8 years allowing us to entrust unsold food to the Food Bank which, in turn, redistributes it to those who need it most.
All products used for sanitising are Ecolabel certified.
About 65% of the invoices we pay to our suppliers will feed the economy of our territory.
Do you have sustainbale projects for the future?
Also our real estate project to expand the fair, which will start in the medium/short run, will be sustainable because it will not involve the demolition of existing structures, but improve and optimise the current spaces to which will be added the construction of new structures, using sustainable techniques, materials and concepts.
The other developing idea is to equip ourselves in order to close the circle of differentiation inside the company. We will invest in a biodigester plant that will allow us to personally and properly manage biodegradable waste on site (saving CO2 on logistics). We will produce, treat and reuse the waste to fertilise our gardens”.
“We need and want to change the typology of our outfitting. Therefore we have commited ourselves to create a workgroup, made of trusted outfitters, which will increasingly allow us to bring, also in this field, not only environmental, but also social values (protection of worker safety, correctness of economic treatments…) in terms of innovation and sustainability.
In recent years, and we will continue to do so, we have tried to encourage our exhibitors to rely on us for the outfitting, not because we want to benefit economically (indeed, it is a further and complex organisational effort for us), but because only this way we can be sure that even that process is taken care of by a virtuous sustainable supply chain”.