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IELA kicks off with its Sustainability Guidelines

Today, the International Exhibition Logistics Association (IELA) presents the IELA Sustainability Guidelines in Marrakech, during its event IELA Connect 2019.

This publication addresses a number of primary « golden rules » for its members in order to achieve sustainable goals when working over the globe in the exhibition and event logistics field. The digital guidelines will be available for free download on the website under the IELA Organiser and Exhibitor Portal as from Tuesday October 15th 2019.

IELA has understood that change occurs through the promotion of best practices and by inspiring action. Achieving sustainability revolves around reducing, not eliminating, the causes of environmental problems. In the transportation industry, a sustainable solution focuses on improving individual operations and movements to increase the efficiency of transportation and handling.

The key message of the Sustainability Guidelines is to create value through maximising and amplifying the efforts of members to reach a broader exhibition and event community, even reaching far beyond purely the aspect of Security and Occupational Health and Safety.

IELA’s Sustainability Guidelines adheres to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) and they have a practical and tactical approach, aiming to review existing practices, initiating changes to transform exhibition & event logistics and work procedures and charting a new course in setting standards for the logistics industry. IELA Members are encouraged to adapt their behaviour and to leverage new conduct patterns, methods and technologies.

Associations and organisations are officially implementing programmes to face the sustainability challenges within their industry and IELA is keen to offer its support. To name a few, the JMIC (Joint Meetings Industry Council) is building a wide database of industry efforts on the UNSDGs and UFI (the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry) published in June 2019 the first edition of its report “The Exhibition Industry and the UN SDGs: Connecting People, Multiplying Action”. This presents a first series of 20 international cases depicting the sustainable efforts of its members and is available free of charge on the UFI website at These cases are proven to have had both a positive environmental and social impact in the exhibition industry, as well as permitting cost savings for the companies. IELA will be happy to participate in the second collection phase, contributing on how operators in the exhibition industry contribute to the SDGs (Type II: The Exhibition Operation).

The Guidelines were primarily architected by Jacqui Nel, IELA Industry Relations Working Group Chair Person, who was very ably supported by Priscilla Leong, IELA Board Member and Elizabeth Niehaus, IELA Executive Officer, all three devoting their time and effort in delivering the content. The IELA Sustainability Guidelines are another demonstration of IELA’s commitment to becoming an essential resource for knowledge and reference in the Exhibition & Event Logistics Industry.

Jacqui Nel explains “When we were asked to take on this project, we began our investigations. There was a lot of information available, however, there was nothing practical to start implementing. We worked our way towards how we as IELA Members &/or our Logistics Industry could make a difference. Many IELA members contributed by giving their experience of implemented actions in their daily work. It is possible that each of us is already making a difference but it is not being documented as part of our business strategy.

Sustainability is becoming more and more vital to businesses and in our personal lives, and it starts at home. When everyone aims to do their part towards creating a sustainable workplace, especially in our large exhibition industry, we will quickly notice how easy it actually is to be sustainable. During the period October 2019 until November 2020, all IELA Members will be welcomed in a Call of Action to contend for the first IELA Sustainability Award, a true recognition of the progress that we are making. Inspire each other and work towards being more sustainable every day.”

As an association, IELA sees its role in leading progress in sustainable practices by spearheading coordinated actions which will have a positive effect on boosting and advancing change where possible.

As a means of self-evaluation, the IELA Association has in parallel set up a progress tracking system named the GREEN “DONE IT“ LIST INITIATIVE . All IELA Members are invited to create measurable targets, integrate the identified actions into their daily work and officially celebrate the progress made in the given timeframe.

In order to honour the initiatives of its members, IELA has introduced a new IELA AWARD on Sustainability. This award will reward innovation within the Exhibition Logistics Industry and more importantly give recognition to the benefits of combined effort to achieve true sustainability.

The next edition of IELA CONNECT will take place in October 2020.