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About time

by EN

One Earth Show is the event industry’s first foray into mainstream sustainability events.

One Earth is a monumental development and warrants the front cover of EN because it is the first time an organiser in the UK has created a large-scale B2C event to tackle sustainability. The event couldn’t come at a better time as it meets the growing demand and movement, mainly fuelled by Millennials and Gen Z, to save our planet.

One Earth is organised by 73 Media and headed up by Ed Tranter. Tranter explains that the idea for the show came from his 11-year-old daughter when he woke up to a commotion in his kitchen. He said: “Freya was so touched by the orangutan adverts about deforestation on TV, she woke up early and started removing all the products that she could find that contained palm oil. She piled them up by the bin and it was her actions that changed my family’s buying habits.”

Tranter’s family is just one of millions changing their behaviour. As an industry we have the power to influence public opinion as well as delivering buyers for our customers.

Tranter adds: “We are living in the midst of a sustainability Zeitgeist and the conversation has tipped from niche to mainstream. Never has there been a time when more people are both aware of the climate change crisis and desperate to help. 

“Sadly, it’s not quite that simple. Lack of knowledge, cost, inconvenience and the perceived enormity of the situation we are facing is preventing us all from taking action. One Earth’s goal is to break down these barriers and prove to visitors that if we all make small everyday changes, our incremental efforts can make a huge difference.

“Sustainability, and our impact as consumers, is at the absolute forefront of our collective psyche, it’s in everything we read, it’s on every screen, in every conversation with our children and runs across all social media channels.”

First time for everyone

Tranter, has organised a raft of B2B events including Dental Showcase, Optrafair and Engineering Design Show but has little or no experience producing a sustainability show. But his enthusiasm, gut instinct and vision more than makes up for any shortfall.

He added: “We have spent the last year talking to consumers about their views on sustainability, their sustainable buying habits and what stands in the way of them making more sustainable choices. 95 per cent of people up and down the UK want to be more sustainable and just nine per cent feel sufficiently equipped on how to do it. As a result the bulk of people want to meet experts who can educate them and show them how to be more sustainable.”

Consumers and their buying habits are changing. There’s now a strong link between the explosion in veganism, vegetarianism, health and sustainability. It appears that what we eat, how we keep fit and save the planet are inexplicably linked.

Tranter adds: “My 13-year-old son Toby, became a vegetarian when he was 10 as he didn’t want animals to die for him, and he knew he didn’t need to meat to survive. His passion for the natural world and to protect it was really inspiring. His life plan and frankly my plans are nearly as organised as his are, is to work in order to earn enough money to buy a land in Scotland to protect it and to keep it natural.”

One Earth is about learning and changing, helping people to make the right, informed choices. It’s an event that aims to broaden learning around sustainability and helps people to see the range of lifestyle choices they can make. Now that consumers have mastered reusing plastic bags at supermarkets and waste recycling, they are hungry for the next wave of ideas.

One Earth will be held at The NEC, taking up 15,000 sqm. Visitors attending the show will be able to meet and buy directly from sustainability businesses. The main stage will host high profile speakers talking about issues facing the planet, their personal experiences, what is being done to help, and how people can get involved. On the show floor charities, organisations and community groups will host a series of practical workshops taking place – for all ages to get creative, have a go and take part in, all with a view to taking away practical ideas, experiences and products to start using when they return home. 

Tranter approached the NEC insight team for further information around the market. He adds: “It’s heart-breaking to read that 75 per cent of UK clothes are still going to landfill and we throw away £13bn of food every year. There are so many people who just don’t know what to do to make a difference. When we buy moisturiser in aplastic pot and throw it away, it takes a staggering 1,000 years to decompose.”

Lead by example

One Earth will practice what they preach. They’ve signed a sustainability pledge guaranteeing that they will only work with companies that share the same values. The company has also founded One Earth Action in partnership with ForestNation, in which it pledges to plant 100,000 trees in 2020. One Earth will plant a tree in Tanzania for every ticket purchased at the event. 

A spokesman for ForestNation said: “We are proud to support the launch edition of One Earth. This event is a much-needed opportunity to educate, motivate and encourage UK consumers about the changes that can be made, small or large, to help reverse climate change. As global forestation partner, ForestNation will be working with One Earth to plant the One Earth Forest – an initiative we will see physically growing over many years to come. 

“Together we have an ambition to plant 100,000 trees in 2020. ForestNation have gifted the first 10,000 trees and One Earth will plant a tree for every ticket sold to attend the event. All of our tree planting projects create sustainable livelihoods for local farming communities, providing jobs, food and education, whilst creating forests that create Oxygen and absorb CO2 to offset carbon emissions, whilst contributing towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”

The organiser is also planning to keep its carbon emissions down by encouraging car-sharing and shared logistics. They are also doing deals with various transport partners to find more sustainable ways to travel to the event. They will only use E-ticketing and are also banning single use plastics at the show. They will use locally sourced food, from within a 30 mile radius, to stay on top of their carbon footprint.

Tranter wants the exhibition industry to consider what steps they need to take to make a difference. He adds: “This doesn’t stop at the door of a consumer exhibition, as events industry professionals we should also be thinking about sustainability and ask ourselves how we can make small changes to the way we work to make a positive difference to the environment. Some event companies and suppliers are doing amazing things out there already, but we all have a responsibility to help those companies that need to do more.”

Big backing for the event

Tranter has signed a deal with the UK’s largest news publisher Reach Plc. Reach, who owns The Mirror, The Express, The Star and OK! Magazine and a raft of leading local newspapers sells 620m copies each year and has 40m digital readers every month. The deal ensures that One Earth receives widespread publicity and acclaim. 

Philip Machray, director of corporate development at Reach, said: “At Reach we strive to ensure readers of all our news brands are properly informed about the facts regarding what is happening to our planet. We’re delighted to be partnering with One Earth in delivering this exciting event which promises to give practical advice for steps we can all take that can really make a difference.”

Tranter explains that interest in the event is at breakneck speed. He adds: “We are literally knocking on the doors of anyone that has an influence on sustainability. I’d love to get Sir David Attenborough. I know he already does so much for this planet but I believe it’s one thing alerting people to the demise of this planet but it’s another giving the public the tools to make vital changes.”

Supported by The NEC

The NEC Group’s sales director Ian Taylor, who was a driving force at the venue in helping 73 Media secure the event and get the right insight, said: “As the first event of its kind in the UK, One Earth is a great opportunity to excite the public and help people who want to understand more about greener living; a cause that we all know is building great momentum across the globe. People are becoming increasingly conscious of their environmental footprint.  

“With so much conflicting information out there, One Earth will help people find all the knowledge they need to help them achieve their own sustainability goals.  Having supported 73 Media to develop their idea for this event, we know their vision and values perfectly mirror those of our NEC Sustain programme, so feel that this partnership and this event will be a real force for change.”     

Tranter is erring on the side of caution and forecasts around 10,000 visitors for the launch. However, there’s no denying that the national movement is much more significant, and he believes that if he gets the content right, it could reach tens of thousands in the next few years. He also has begun talks around cloning the event and launching internationally. He said: “Our aim is to deliver a series of events delivering live content that educate and change consumer behaviour. We are already in discussions for the launch of events across Europe. We want to be able to influence and help change behaviours among consumers and build momentum and a movement.”

This article recently featured in Exhibition News magazine. For more content like this, click here.

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