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Material damage: new guide for sustainable event branding

The environmental impact of an event is often hiding in plain sight. While air travel and food waste are the headline villains, the materials used in branding and signage is another major culprit.

That’s why the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) commissioned a technical study to find more sustainable options.

The 112-page guide, “Environmental impact evaluation of branding and signage solutions for events”, explores the materials used at events, such as banners, flags, stage dressing or information boards, and identifies key principles for improving their design and procurement decisions.

IOC Director of Corporate and Sustainable Development Marie Sallois said the guide was a first step.

“Branding and signage are essential to bring colour to an event and engage participants, but can also be a major source of waste.  A better understanding of the composition of branding and signage materials and how to optimise their lifecycles, can help reduce their environmental impact.

“This guide is a first attempt at improving our knowledge on this topic and encouraging more responsible production and use of such materials at events.”

Reusable materials and structures are used increasingly at events, but the need for new printed or customised materials remains. Many of them are synthetic, which makes them easy to use due to their light weight, but difficult to reuse or recycle, according to the guide.

Produced by environmental experts Anthesis, the guide evaluates the environmental impact of more than 40 branding and signage materials, including the more innovative ones such as banners made of recycled plastic or hardboards incorporating bio-based content.

The IOC is working with several other major event organisers to develop a set of sustainable procurement criteria for branding and signage solutions. Aimed at event organisers and sustainability professionals, the guide has also been shared with the future Organising Committees for the Olympic Games to help guide their procurement decisions.

 

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