The scale of i2i Events Group’s Resource and Waste Management (RWM), The Energy Event and The Renewables Event was apparent after EN’s lengthy walk from the train station to the venue halls.
The long distance would have suited Mo Farah, but arriving at the first, but not the correct entrance was like being told the finishing line in the Olympics final had been pushed back 100m.
Co-hosting three shows in the vast expanse of the UK’s biggest venue was always going to be a big task, but with the event opening on the same day organiser i2i Events Group announced the global Coil Winding, Insulation and Electrical Manufacturing Exhibitions (CWIEME) portfolio as its first international purchase under its new guise, you got the sense that the company was making a determined effort to put its finger on the economic pulse.
The combined shows of RWM, The Energy Event and The Renewables Event ran from 11 to 13 September and featured nearly 800 exhibitors. In all, RWM stretched across 24,954sqm (net), Energy Event 2,535sqm, and the Renewables Event 420sqm.
Divisional director of i2i Events Group Alison Jackson saw the energy market as ripe for business possibilities. In an attempt to address some of these, the organiser launched The Renewables Event this year, focusing on onsite renewable energy and addressing legislation, incentives and initiatives in the corporate and public sector. The event launched with 45 exhibitors and aimed to showcase viable technologies for onsite renewable energy generation.
“The recycling and waste management industry is worth £11bn in the UK each year, and is expected to have 5.5 per cent annual growth,” Jackson said. “About 15 years ago, for example, people just wanted to bury waste in the ground. Now it’s about prevention, reduction, reuse, recycling, recovering energy and landfill as a last resort. It makes the sector very attractive as a business because there are opportunities out there. It is also very expensive to do what we used to do.
“Things have really transformed: We have exhibitors ranging from bin providers to specific energy and waste technology.”
Jackson worked previously on i2i’s retail events including Pure, Spring Fair and Glee. She sees waste as a fundamental concern for both businesses and consumers.
“Every business creates waste,” she said. “Even shredding confidential documents produces waste.”
While energy renewal and waste management are two sides of the same coin, it was important the three shows each had their own identity, Jackson said. “We wanted the shows to be co-located, but through separate teams,” she said. “The exhibitors crossover in certain areas, but the visitors are distinct.” Environmental considerations
RWM was the biggest of the three events and was acquired by Emap in 1999. This year’s show featured talks from physicist Brian Cox, and journalist, broadcaster and former political aide Alastair John Campbell. In all, 100 speakers participated including Coca-Cola, Marks and Spencer and LOCOG.
The show is now partnered with the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, after the organiser targeted the institute’s show as a key competitor in the market. As a result, Emap bought its show Future Resource in 2010.
“Back in 2010, we did a market review of the sectors we wanted to be in,” said Jackson. “We decided upon waste, energy and water for the environment sector. In speaking to the market, stakeholders said they wanted one big show that could compete internationally and be the single event for the resource, efficiency and waste management market.”
RWM had 13,000 visitors last year and Jackson hoped to report 14,000 this year. Research also found a third of all visitors attended a seminar.
The Energy Event was acquired from Western Business Media in 2010. This year it had 150 exhibitors and targeted the non-renewables market. Its first edition at The NEC in 2011 had 4,000 visitors.
“The Energy Event is about buying energy, management and the mix of energy we have,” Jackson explained. “Two winters ago when it snowed, this country was a day away from having a serious energy crisis. Our show looks at the choice of energy for business use rather than on a grand scale. For example in schools, hospitals and museums.”
Jackson dismissed fears the Internet could impact on the importance of i2i’s shows. “There’s a school of thought that instead of going to events, you can buy things online. But particularly for markets like ours where there’s a lot of legislation, people want to network and talk about things.”
By way of example, Jackson pointed out the organiser had 1,000 people booked for an evening dinner. “We are having all these people come to a dinner, but it will be a job to get them to sit down and stop talking,” she said.
In such a potentially lucrative market, i2i is considering further expansion and is looking to co-locate a new water event alongside the shows in 2013. Certainly it seems this sprawling event portfolio is set to run and run.
This was first published in the October edition of EN. Any comments? Email firstname.lastname@example.org