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Building Sustainability through SEBIG


DALLAS and LONDON — Sustainability is taking on an even more prominent role in the trade show industry with the formation of Sustainable Events: Big Initiative Group, or SEBIG.

More than 20 leading organizations in the events industry formed this collaborative group to address major sustainability and environmental projects that have positive impacts and support the continued development of the events industry.

SEBIG is led by the world’s top live event and brand experience company, Freeman, and prominent exhibitions organizer Informa Markets. Representatives from major event organizers, venues and convention centers, leading trade associations and service providers to the industry are also part of the team.

“We can achieve far more together, much faster and more cost effectively, than we can alone,” Ben Wielgus, Head of Sustainability, Informa, said. “By working across the whole of the events ecosystem, the formation of SEBIG can help us meet the growing expectations of our audience, while we play our part in contributing to sustainable development.”

One of those contributions for SEBIG in 2020 will be conducting a materiality assessment, concentrated on the U.S. and Canadian markets. The project will measure the views of a range of stakeholders in the events industry, analyze relevant data, and help determine where it can best focus its efforts to make further advances towards environmental best practice. The study is being conducted by U.K.-based impact consultancy firm, Little Blue Research, Ltd., with the Center for Event Industry Research serving as project advisor.

“We want to be sure we understand the most important and impactful areas for SEBIG to focus on, with input from all stakeholder groups, including event organizers, exhibitors, facilities and suppliers,” Melinda Kendall, SVP Sustainability, Freeman, said.

Half of the study’s cost is underwritten by the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO). Other founding funders include Informa Markets, Freeman, Sands, GES, Emerald Expositions, IMEX, Shepard, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events and UFI, the global association of the world’s tradeshow organizers and venues.

“SISO is excited by this research opportunity and looking forward to engaging organizations across the industry through SEBIG to work together on projects that cannot be solved by individual organizations alone,” said David Audrain, Executive Director, Society of Independent Show Organizers.

Opportunities remain for additional organizations to join the steering committee for the study and contribute to its financing. Kendall added, “We are looking for organizations from all stakeholder groups who want to contribute directly to a major effort to improve the sustainability of the events industry, be involved in the design of the materiality assessment as it evolves, and to help determine next steps for us as we look to develop the solutions we need for a more sustainable events industry.”

Reach Melinda Kendall at (571) 814-2832 or; Ben Wielgus at +44 20 337 73301 or; David Audrain at (404) 334-4585 or

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