Events and exhibitions often lead to high levels of waste and carbon
emissions, but the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is tackling this
challenge head-on with a pilot zero-waste booth at FHA-Food &
Beverage 2023, which is taking place at Singapore EXPO from 25-28 April.
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB), along with Informa Markets and key
players in the MICE industry as part of the Global MICE Sustainability
Alliance, developed the STB destination booth in collaboration with
sustainability technology firm Miniwiz.
STB and Informa Markets viewed FHA 2023, with its 68 pavilions and over 1,300 exhibitors, as a golden opportunity to promote sustainable exhibition practices to a larger audience. Photo Credit: Cheryl Teo
The strategic decision to feature the net-zero booth at FHA 2023 was
driven by the immense scale of the event, with 68 group pavilions and
over 1,300 exhibitors in attendance. Recognising the show's potential to
spark conversation and inspire action, STB and Informa Markets saw this
as a golden opportunity to raise awareness and to encourage the
industry to run business events in a more sustainable manner.
“The zero-waste booth is hopefully going to be a game-changer where
waste management is concerned,” said Yap Chin Siang, deputy chief
executive of STB. “In particular, the exhibition industry generates
significant wood waste during booth construction and dismantling. By
introducing the zero-waste booth, the board aims to raise awareness
among industry players that this option is a sustainable and
Low footprint ≠ high costs
Compared to traditional booths, this new design has a 45% lower
carbon footprint and costs the same amount to produce, according to Mark
Wee, managing director (Southeast Asia), Miniwiz.
The proof-of-concept exhibition booth at FHA-Food & Beverage 2023
was made entirely from upcycled materials, including recycled PET
plastic and fabric, recycled textile waste, and recycled aluminium. It
can be dismantled, packed, and reused for future events.
Miniwiz can even furnish the net-zero booth with furniture such as the table, chairs, sofa, and carpet made from 100% recycled materials. Photo Credit: Cheryl Teo
During M&C Asia’s walk-through of the booth, Wee explained that
the booth was created in a process that involves shredding plastic
waste, heating it until it is soft, and forging it into the desired
shape. The carpet is made from recycled PET bottles that have been
felted, while the booth's framing is made of recycled aluminium, so
there is no waste generated in the process.
The zero-waste booth can be reused in several ways. It can be
purchased by exhibitors to be repeatedly used as its modular design
allows for the booth size to be easily adjusted and reconfigured to
different layouts. Alternatively, it can be rented out by third-party
players for other shows, and event venues with storage units can also
leverage the system to lower their exhibition footprint.
More than one way to reach net-zero
Informa Markets, the organiser of FHA, is also leading by example and
has implemented a series of sustainable initiatives to reduce waste and
the carbon footprint of exhibitions, and inspire exhibitors to do the
These measures include reusing most materials, donating all wood
structures and scraps to a wood recycling company, which could reduce
waste by 80%, and using eco-friendly carpet and e-badges, Janice Lee,
event director for hospitality, food & beverage – Singapore at
Informa Markets told M&C Asia. Even cooking oil used by exhibitors
at FHA is recycled to make biodiesel.
Janice Lee says that Informa Markets is walking the sustainability talk and reusing most of its materials for events, including the photo wall seen in the picture. Photo Credit: Cheryl Teo
To acknowledge exhibitors who use sustainable practices, Informa
Markets awards them with Better Stand certificates. Additionally,
Informa Markets educates its exhibition attendees through seminars and
panel discussions about sustainable MICE practices. Many exhibitors at
FHA have been observed to be using biodegradable serve ware and
sustainable packaging, demonstrating their conscious effort toward
“There is still more to be done, but both organisers and exhibitors
play important roles in ensuring sustainability in the MICE industry,”
Lee said. “The proof-of-concept net-zero booth partnership with STB and
other stakeholders aims to raise awareness and encourage the adoption of
sustainable practices throughout the industry.”
More sustainable exhibitions ahead
STB’s Yap expressed his hope for a greater uptake of the zero-waste
booth in the MICE industry, especially when the cost of building this
type of booth was already comparable to traditional methods. If more
exhibitors adopt the zero-waste booth on a larger scale, it will
eventually become more cost-effective than building booths from scratch.
“Beyond FHA, we hope the entire MICE industry will gradually respond
to this. We want events across all genres to become more and more
sustainable, so using booths like this will be a very good demonstration
for that,” said Yap.
To further raise awareness of this new solution, STB is collaborating
with other event organisers to showcase the zero-waste booth at their
“We also want to create a marketplace different industry leaders to
come together and discuss about sustainability for their own respective
industries. Singapore has already attracted quite a few
sustainability-themed events, including the Ecosperity Week (6 – 8 Jun
2023), Singapore Carbon Market & Investor Forum (19 – 20 Jul 2023),
Global Sustainable Tourism Council Global Conference 2024 (Nov 2024).”
Source: M&C Asia