Organised by Reed Exhibitions Germany, the PSI show in Düsseldorf is the leading European Trade Show for the Promotional Products Industry. Around 17,000 agencies, distributors and textile refiners from more than 75 countries meet around 1,000 producers and importers from more than 35 nations.
Sustainability has long been a hot topic in the promotional products industry. The PSI Sustainability Awards recognise the sustainable potential and distinct self-responsibility of the promotional products industry.
In times of shrinking resources and increasing costs, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability are emerging as key issues for corporations. Every enterprise is tasked with finding the right balance between economic, ecologic and social concerns while maintaining transparent documentation thereof through certificates and seals.
Many major brands and SMEs have already committed to the principles of CSR and sustainability, and they expect the same from their suppliers. What’s more, the link between long-term business success on the one hand and environmental protection and social responsibility on the other is already a recurring theme in legislation coming out of Berlin and Brussels.
The promotional products industry has been responding to these developments with increasing dynamism. Underscoring this fact are numerous certificates and in-house initiatives in areas such as quality management/economy (EFQM, ISO 9000 ff. and others), environmental protection/economy (EMAS, ISO 14000 ff. and others), FSC, The Blue Angel, OEKO-TEX 100plus and others (ecological products) as well as working conditions (SA8000, BSCI, OHSAS 18001, OHRIS and others) and social/societal commitment.
The PSI Sustainability Awards won’t just revolutionise the product award rubric. These new awards are much more than a pure product prize – they’ll recognise sustainability achievements comprehensively.
Those who are tackling the issue on their own initiative rather than waiting to chase pending regulations will hugely increase their competitiveness and prospects of success.
Here’s how Klaus Töpfer, environmental expert and former German environment minister, put it recently at the presentation of a sustainability award presented by the German business sector: “Someone who doesn’t incorporate the environment in their quality won’t be able to succeed economically. That’s the decisive point."
PSI bans plastic cups
In January, PSI 2018 became the first trade show worldwide to ban plastic cups, encouraging over 9,000 visitors to use ‘2Go’ porcelain cups instead.
Acting as an ambassador for sustainability in the industry, the 2018 event in January introduced a 2Go deposit system for the porcelain cups. Supported by the 2Go specialists at Mahlwerck Porcelain and Gleensheep Technologies, plastic cups for coffee and tea were prohibited in the halls of the Exhibition Centre Düsseldorf from 9 to 11 January.
According to Environmental Action Germany, some 320,000 takeaway coffee cups are used every hour in Germany alone. 99 percent of them cannot be recycled and end up in the rubbish bin. PSI 2018 wanted to put an end to disposable cups as a waste product. Instead, reusable mugs were distributed in the exhibition halls, which could later be returned at designated return locations.
“We’re the first trade show organisers worldwide to implement such a comprehensive deposit system aimed at protecting the environment, and it was a complete success”, says PSI managing director Michael Freter. “More than 9,000 visitors used the 2Go mugs and helped to protect our environment - this corresponds to about one in two trade fair visitors.”
“The project was a logistical and organisational challenge we didn’t mind tackling in order to, on behalf of our industry, send a clear message and lead by example" he adds.
Coffee drinkers could ask for their deposit to be returned or donate it to UNICEF right at the special automated return machines set up by Tomra, the global leader in reverse vending. In addition to the machines accepting returns of mugs, deposit containers for water bottles were also installed across all halls.
The 2Go deposit system initiative represents a continuation of PSI’s efforts to promote sustainability, which include the creation of the PSI Sustainability Awards in 2015.
Watch a video of the PSI initiative in action here on YouTube (in German).