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Success factor sustainability

Julia Bernert

Published on 18.12.2019

Where will sustainability, now a mega trend, take The World of Advertising and Selling and how far has the new “green wave” now reached? These questions will be addressed by PSI, viscom and PromoTex Expo held concurrently at the Düsseldorf exhibition centre from 7 to 9 January 2020. One thing is for sure: Sustainability has become a pivotal success factor. More and more people are fighting for a world designed with people and the planet in mind – and are increasingly holding companies to their promises. Be this on the cross-show “Go Green” Route or at special forums and conference sessions: At all three trade shows you can witness how individual industries are adapting their DNA to current and forthcoming challenges that go hand in hand with a desire for more sustainability.

Go green – in the truest sense of the word

Although sustainability is currently on everyone’s lips it is not a fashion fad in The World of Advertising and Selling. It is an increasingly prevalent commitment taken by the protagonists in the various sectors of this industry. Be it in the area of companies’ quality and environmental management, working conditions at production sites, of environmental initiatives and environmental/social standards launched and developed in-house – there have been quite a few activities going on for years – and across industries. Accordingly, the side events accompanying PSI, viscom and PromoTex Expo revolve around innovations, regulations and best practice. Orientation will come care of the new, cross-show themed “Go Green” route leading to exhibitors with sustainable products in Halls 9 to 12.

PSI: A trade show that resonates. A network that lasts.

The PSI trade show is the only event where so many sustainable companies from the promotional products sector come together. After all, the PSI Network of this sustainable community and the resulting Sustainable League of the promotional products industry (comprising owners, general managers, shareholders and top managers) is home to the Sustainability Awards presented since 2015. The new themed “Go Green” route will correspondingly guide visitors at the three trade shows to the 2019 PSI Sustainability Award winners, demonstrating their award-winning ranges and, hence, sustainability par excellence.

Another stop-over on the “Go Green” tour – only on the Wednesday of the trade show and only for PSI members – is the PSI Members Only Lounge in Hall 9. Here not only will numerous “Work & Focus” ranges be presented exclusively for PSI members that drive sustainable business at the trade show, there will also be talks held on such themes as “Besser dastehen! Wie Nachhaltigkeit die Marktposition stärken kann” (Better off! How sustainability can strengthen the market position) or “Grün rundum: Nachhaltigkeit spielt nicht nur bei Produkten, sondern auch bei deren Verpackung eine Rolle” (Green all round: Sustainability plays a role not only for products but also for their packaging) to help companies handle sustainability. These lectures are just some of the many knowledge benefits that come with a PSI membership. The PSI Network has constantly provided its members with industry information and data for 60 years. And what’s more: For sixty years the PSI has been a fixture in the European promotional products sector that fosters sustainable business and offers lasting contacts. As a sustainable network it not only “hosts” well-established household names under its umbrella but also engages in promoting newcomers and start-ups. In this spirit, the PSI trade show serves as an ideal platform for up-and-coming companies to make contacts with potential producers, distributors and licensees. An established feature is therefore the Newcomer Area in Halls 10 and 11, which has been the first point of contact for every trade show visitor on a quest for novelties. Companies here include first and second-time exhibitors, creative inventors and young innovative companies such as Microbytes IT, a producer of notebooks that are re-writable thanks to thermo-sensitive paper, and the two glass drinking straw producers Pacific Straws and HALM. The company that has “grown out” of the PSI Newcomer Area this year is Stadtgärtner with its “seedbombs”, small spheres of soil, clay and seeds made of purely organic components in Germany. Innovative young companies that have not yet ventured into the promotional products sector can obtain competent counselling for free in the PSI Start-Up Consulting Area – also in Hall 11. The experts available there include staff from the German Patent and Trade Mark Office as well as from the PSI Design Forum. All questions related to product design and safety, brands and patents will be answered.  

PromoTex Expo: Fair fashion is more than up and recycling

At PromoTex Expo the Textile Campus – one of the 17 “Go Green” stops – focuses specifically on sustainability in the textile supply chain. In this special area in Hall 12 visitors can get to know both young and established brands as well as their business models hands-on. There is a special focus on the exchange with experts about fair and sustainable textile production, eco-design, labels, certifications and the “Grüner Knopf” (Green Button). This new state-issued textile seal for sustainable, socially and ecologically manufactured apparel, which was already awarded to 27 companies in 2019, will take over patronage for the Textile Campus in 2020. In line with this the employees of the responsible German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) will provide information on the 46 demanding approval criteria – ranging from waste water limits to the prohibition of child labour – and will explain the audit processes for obtaining the seal. “What is so special about the Green Button is that companies themselves are also audited in addition to the submitted product,” explains German development minister Dr. Gerd Müller. “Does the company comply with its due diligence? Do seamstresses have the chance to lodge complaints? Does it disclose its supply chain? Individual showcase products alone do not suffice.”

Other partners from the Textile Campus include Pure Waste from Finland, a company that turns second-hand garments into new products, Nikin from Switzerland, a producer of sustainable promotion wear, and Intertek Holding Deutschland, one of the leading suppliers of tailor-made quality assurance, testing, inspection and certification solutions. The Textile Campus ranges are rounded off by Texmex Fashion Prototyping Lab. Here a sustainable Merch collection will be designed and made from trade show visitors’ garment donations at the pop-up sewing factory of Sarah Klein under the guidance of the Cologne-based companies Die Hehlerei and EFFEKT. The results will be presented in a closing “finnissage” at the Textile Campus on 8 January at 4.00 pm.

viscom: The greener future has begun

In signmaking and large-format printing the calls for more sustainable solutions are also growing louder. Forum 13 at viscom therefore already addresses the question of “how concept, design and skilled crafts can sustainably produce a real effect” with best-case presentations on Tuesday afternoon. Frank Chaki will be demonstrating that signmakers can indeed forego films, chemicals and machines because this Düsseldorf-based signmaker works exclusively with analogue brushes and paints. And Jörn Hartmann also proves that signmaking operations can re-invent themselves sustainably. In cooperation with GI-PLANT he, Robert Moos and Kim Müller have established a full-service provider for textile finishing that succeeds in raising awareness for more sustainability in textile purchases by selling college shirts and jerseys.  

The Wednesday of the trade show follows on from this theme – being the cross-show themed day of sustainability. In the morning the renowned speakers Gary Parker, Alexandra Wallner and Paul Kündiger will address current sustainability trends in brand communication, while Rainer Schlatmann, Ingrid Elbertse and Bianca Seidel will shed some light on the importance of ecological and social workwear in corporate communication. The afternoon talks delivered by Dr. Ulrich Hofmann, Franziska Dormann and Birgit Jussen will revolve around everything workwear has to deliver today.

Sustainable to the power of 3: The business offers for visitors

PSI, viscom and PromoTex Expo offer valuable synergies for the expert trade audience made up of agencies, printers, marketers, media producers, exhibition stand builders and shop fitters, textile finishers as well as promotional product distributors and signmakers. A must-have here is the long-established matchmaking feature, allowing participants of all three trade shows to “extend” the duration of the event proper by already making contact and appointments with potential cooperation partners, investors, manufacturers and distributors in the run-up to it: for efficient, sustained business.  

Those less interested in closing business deals and more in finding new career challenges, can not only seek jobs via the online job exchange of PSI, viscom and PromoTex Expo but also look for exhibitors’ matching vacancies on the job advertising pillars at PSI in Hall 9 and at viscom in Hall 13. Needless to say, appointments for interviews can also be made at the trade shows.