How green is Gitex?

You can't fail to notice that GITEX exhibitors are going all out for 'green' this year

Tags: Dubai World Trade CentreEco-friendlyGITEX
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By  Mark Sutton Published  October 23, 2008

You can't fail to notice that GITEX exhibitors are going all out for 'green' this year. Monitors, servers, printers, processors - if its on show, there's usually a green version of it, with less power consumption, less toxic materials or some other tenuous claim to eco-friendly credentials.

Even the promotional materials have gotten in on the act - with Emirates Computers in particularly scoring green points for replacing the usual plastic bags with eco-friendly hand-woven yak hair bags or some such.

But how green is the event itself?

Trade shows are monstrous consumers of resources - paper, cardboard and chemicals for glossy brochures, food containers and so on,  plastic for carrier bags, electricity for AC and to power stands, and for centres with no mass transit, petrol for all those cars.

The DWTC told me last week that they were running an awareness campaign for exhibitors, although I've not been able to find out any more details on this, and just looking around the site, I don't see many recycling bins, or efforts to cut down on the amount of paper given out. (And that includes the Gitex Times - why bother with a print copy when you could get all the news from instead?) Hopefully there's a lot going on behind the scenes to reclaim some of the piles of waste that build up every day.

Up in Abu Dhabi meanwhile the new Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) reports that its recycling campaign has saved the equivalent of 900 trees, 200,000 kilowatts of energy and 1.6 million litres of water since launching in January.

DWTC is making the right noises, and once it moves to new premises - which are due to be LEED Gold certified - hopefully issues like transport, access to recycling and reduced energy consumption will be tackled.

Probably the greenest trade show I have seen is Taiwan's Computex. It's not so much that the show is eco-friendly, but the event also plays host to a major product award show. Once the winners are announced, its traditional for their competitors to send bouquets of flowers to the winner's stands, and because no-one wants to be seen to be mean spirited about losing, they all send absolutely huge bouquets, leaving the exhibition halls looking more like a garden centre than an IT expo.

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