IAEE Urges Input on Proposed ISO Green Requirements

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Dallas, TX – The International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) is urging U.S. trade show organizers, contractors and venue managers to make their views known on a proposed and potentially expensive set of standards for sustainable events.

The proposed International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification would ordinarily be a desirable designation for a show organizer or other company involved in exhibitions. The problem, according to the IAEE, is that the certification will require extensive record keeping and detailed analysis of all facets of a company’s operations. Those requirements would apply not only to major players in the industry but to small show organizers that likely don’t have the same ability to bankroll the ISO certification process.

“The industry needs to understand the implications of this and start pounding the table,” IAEE President Steven Hacker told Trade Show Executive. “There is a lot of cost for compliance.”

“A two-person, family-owned company may not be able to afford certification and cannot hold itself out as ISO compliant,” Hacker said. “They may lose business because of that. A show organizer or association looking over a list of general services contractors, with all things being equal, is likely to select the one that is ISO certified.”

Hacker said IAEE was urging adoption of a “stratified” set of rules that would ease the burden on smaller companies. “The logical way would be to focus the effort on the biggest of the operators that generate the biggest carbon footprint, rather than the husband and wife who are trying to pay off their mortgage by producing one or two events per year,” he said.

Hacker said IAEE was working with other U.S. industry associations and had communicated its concerns to UFI – The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry. He said time was of the essence because the proposal had been fast-tracked by ISO. The immediate goal was to obtain observer status at the next ISO meeting on the proposals January 18-21 in London.

The U.S. industry has already noted its objections through the American National Standards Institute; however, the ISO proposals originated in Great Britain where they were developed to apply to the 2012 Olympics.

Reach Steven Hacker at (972) 458-8002 or shacker@iaee.com