Organizing an event generates significant environmental degradation.
Focusing on the life cycle of an event, the construction of the exhibition place, the heating, air-conditioning and the lighting are the first polluting elements. In addition, the many comings and goings of the visitors and exhibitors, the wastes, as well as constructing the booths and printing the handouts contribute to polluting and emitting greeenhouse gases.
Consequently, many virtual fairs appeared on the internet, so as to reduce the environmental degradation that physical events cause, while they operate and are organized the same way.
According to various surveys, a virtual fair enables to cut the emissions of greenhouse gases by several dozens of tons a month, compared to a physical trade show. This takes into consideration that every 1,000 visitors accounts for 2,6 tones of greenhouse gases, every 1,000 m2 of the exhibition accounts for 16 tones of greenhouse gases and each exhibitor produces 0,85 tone a month.
Considering that 4,000 people would visit a physical trade show of 4,000 m2 and 100 exhibitors, this amounts to a reduction of 160 tons in the emissions of greenhouse gases.
However, the adverse effects of computer equipments on the environment have to be kept in mind. In order to create and visit a virtual fair, the organizer needs servers, the exhibitors and visitors use their computers, the whole being connected with a network.
According to the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), the visitors emissions in CO2 equivalent account for 480 kg a month, the servers emissions in CO2 equivalent amount to 1 tone a month.
The result is pretty obvious: an average of 160 tones of CO2 equivalent for a physical event, an average of 1,5 tones of CO2 equivalent for a virtual fair.
Besides, a virtual fair offers many advantages in comparison with a physical trade show.
First of all, taking part in a virtual fair is much more attractive from an economic point of view, as a booth can be up to ten times cheaper than on a physical trade show. Moreover, the duration is to be considered, since a physical event lasts 3 or 4 days whereas a virtual fair usually lasts a whole year.
Virtual fairs are interesting from a social point of view as well, it is a time saver and not tiresome solution, given that the exhibitor doesn’t have to travel.