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EuroShop 2023: Going Green

Some may call it green washing, but sustainability was the hot topic of EuroShop 2023

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EUROSHOP 2023 DEFINITELY wrapped itself in the cloak of sustainability.

Between trees, facsimiles of trees, and references to trees, acres and acres of moss, and a range of living plants that I am sure challenges the biodiversity of the rainforest, EuroShop looked like and said the right things when it came to sustainability.

This year’s show drew more than 81,000 visitors and 1830 exhibitors to Dusseldorf, Germany, the regular host city to the triennial trade show event.

EuroShop 2023: Going Green

Sustainable Solutions

Sustainability certainly was a hot topic this year, as witnessed through exhibitors, educational sessions and products on display. While some may accuse it of “green washing,” I would rather take a “half full” approach, and congratulate the range of exhibitors for raising awareness, making a statement, and putting themselves (in many cases) on the line to deliver results.

The joke often goes that shopping malls, subdivisions and new towns are named for the very things they destroy. Spring Meadows, Twelve Oaks, Garden State …  I am choosing to be an optimist and think this visual explosion of materials and proclamations is a precursor to something better.

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Irony notwithstanding, one of the interesting field trips as part of the euro a go go trip (a program and travel event that coincides with EuroShop) was a visit to what was once one of the largest coal/carbon extraction facilities in Europe. Today a carbon neutral office complex that allows the warmth of the sun during the winter to heat its facilities and provides a green wrapper that cools the building within or just a few miles away.

Talking Specifics

The program and presentations throughout EuroShop featured many speakers and thought leaders in the areas of sustainability. Two that stood out that were part of the euro a go go seminar, Maria Albulescu of Walgreens and L’Oréal’s Lorene Berrodie. Both spoke in real and simple terms about how their companies have put a focus on the important topic of sustainability.

Maria examined the role that a large company, such as Walgreens Boots, worked to find ways to bring the message and the education down to the frontlines, to sales associates, store managers and buyers. At the store level, whether community groups on the education of associates, the company strives to provide real time information, helping customers make better choices when purchasing products.

Berrodie shared ways in which L’Oréal helps to encourage and provide a framework for their designs,  by setting expectations and providing opportunities when looking at decisions applied to either brick-and-mortar or temporary retail. The criteria evaluates the uniqueness and role of obsolescence of each of these initiatives rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach.

One European-based (and soon-to-be in North America) sourcing logistics and services group, has taken the challenge of “stewardship” to a new level.

From recycling and creating new materials to manufacturing waste and end-of-life materials and fixturing, the company makes products for not only their own manufacturing efforts, but also makes their services available to other like-minded manufacturers.

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Lighting manufacturers have continued to develop flexible banding illumination that allow full integration into traditional elements such as millwork, putting the light source closer to the product. This results in a smaller need for ambient (and, therefore, wasted light), while creating higher impact for store shelves.

One fixture manufacturer showcased the concept of modularity with more flexible, multiple solutions with less obsolescence. This was achieved through a modular display system appropriate for walls, floors, decorative elements, and even light fixtures, with an ingenious “kit of parts” for multiple product and merchandising needs.

In a similar way, some companies married pragmatism and altruism as part of their legacy systems and new solutions, focusing on the flexibility, durability and interchangeability of components – ideal for an industry that too often is more about “one and done” than display lifecycles.

One standout mannequin manufacturer provided a great example of leadership within the visual merchandising category, through their commitment to fully sustainable mannequins. They also showcased their materials, manufacturing, and end of life strategy. Many of the other mannequin exhibitors showcased sustainable solutions, through materials and manufacturing strategies.

A French shopfitting group highlighted how they placed their factories in key areas of sustainable and natural resources, shortening the unnecessary transportation of raw materials, and providing a socially impactful manufacturing base in rural France.

As witnessed through educational sessions, exhibitor booths and more, the topic of sustainability was on everyone’s minds this year during EuroShop 2023.

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PHOTO GALLERY (16 IMAGES)
📷 Courtesy of Messe Dusseldorf/EuroShop

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