Putting together an eco-friendly trade show exhibit saves more than just the environment, it's good for business. Here are 7 sound business reasons to go green at your next trade show.

1 - A Green Marketing Advantage
Market research consistently reports a strong preference for companies, products and services that demonstrate environmental responsibility. Marketing yourself in a way that is verifiably* sustainable is an effective approach to exhibiting your commitment to working green.

* As 'green washing' has unfortunately become an all too common practice, it is important to be able to back up any claims of being 'green' with supporting facts and documents.

2 - Future-Proofing
The EPA and the Green Meetings Industry Council are currently working on creating sustainable benchmark standards and practices as they relate to the convention and trade show industry. They're joined by the Convention Industry Council (CIC), Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX), American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), and the International Standard Organization (ISO) in setting combined industry standards.

As these standards become adopted over the next few years it will become difficult to continue using non-sustainable displays as they get phased out by increasing regulations.

3 - Save Money
With the ever increasing demand from exhibitors and event coordinators, the industry has answered that call with a wider selection of environmentally friendly displays and exhibits. And with the volume, the pricing has come down significantly - and many green displays are now close to the price level of many traditional displays.

"Reduce, reuse and recycle" has more than an environmental impact. Truly green trade show displays are designed and built to this eco-mantra, which ends up saving money. Here's how:

• Reduce:
o Green displays frequently focus on using much lighter materials, which means less in costly shipping and handling.
o Less energy is consumed by more efficient lighting and other technologies.

• Reuse:
o Green displays are often designed to be modular, which means they can be reconfigured, or have components swapped out, without the need for an entirely new exhibit.

• Recycle:
o Any display worthy of the 'green' label can be easily recycled, saving on disposal fees.

4 - Availability and Selection
As recently as 2007, there were very few options for companies wanting a green trade show display. This has changed dramatically with market demand, and incredible innovations in materials and designs coming out every month.

5 - Staff morale
Recent research has shown that employees are embracing corporate social responsibility values and looking to align with companies that espouse these values. (Fresh Marketing, 2008) An earth-friendly exhibit that looks professional provides a fantastic morale bump for your representative team and offers a great conversation point to have with attendees.

6 - Increased Sales Opportunities
As more and more businesses define their own internal environmental policies, one of the most common mandates is to seek out partners/suppliers with their own green mandate.

7 - The Competition
The reasons to go green are no secret. Many marketing managers are moving forward with greener trade shows, recognizing the many benefits to be had.

About Author / Additional Info:
Datch Haven is the co-founder of Advatum, an online source for businesses seeking tradeshow displays and exhibits. Notwithstanding a lamentable habit of killing most houseplants Datch is an avid proponent of green initiatives, within the trade show industry.