Health & Fitness Business '07: Taking steps to go green

The fitness industry hasn't really paid as much attention to "green" issues as other industries have, partly because apparel and footwear aren't a big part of the industry and partly because it doesn't have a direct tie to the outdoors, where people often think greener thoughts.
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The fitness industry hasn't really paid as much attention to "green" issues as other industries have, partly because apparel and footwear aren't a big part of the industry and partly because it doesn't have a direct tie to the outdoors, where people often think greener thoughts.

But as GearTrends® wrote about in its 2007 Fitness magazine ("Going Green," page 24), out in early July and available at the Health & Fitness business show before going online at www.snewsnet.com, it's time for the industry to realize it too can take part.

Although show management tried to soft launch a so-called "Green Steps" program for the 2005 show (click here to see a June 20, 2005, SNEWS® story, "HFB show going green: Are you doing your part?"), it hasn't gained traction in fitness. On the other hand, in the bike world, through the Interbike show, and the outdoor world, through the Outdoor Retailer show, both shows managed by Nielsen as the fitness show is, the programs run strongly and are well-supported.

This year, show management has decided its time for fitness to sit up and start paying attention too.

On page 2 of the HFB Planner in the GearTrends® magazine, you'll see the Green Steps program logo, touting how you can become a carbon-neutral traveler by offsetting your CO2 travel emissions and your carbon footprint. Click here to read more about that and then click either on the Green Steps button on that page or here to calculate your travel footprint and offset it with wind power credits. Why does that matter? Whatever way you travel to and from the show, shop goods or get around once there, you will produce carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. By offsetting those emissions, clean wind power is produced instead of carbon-intensive coal-fired energy and you help grow the availability of clean energy by supporting wind energy projects.

The show currently offsets 100 percent of its electricity usage with wind power through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates, known as RECs.

"It's a big deal," said show marketing director Richard Kelly. "We invested a lot buying the wind power credits."

In addition, the show has available recycled carpet for use by exhibitors, and 25 percent of the aisle carpet will be recycled. A recycle program has been arranged for exhibitor set up to gather cardboard and other materials, and recycle bins will be available during the show for bottles, papers and other recyclable materials. Show badges are printed on recycled paper and with soy ink, just as GearTrends® magazines are printed on a high percentage of recycled paper and with soy ink.

The show has also been in discussions with the concessions company to use biodegradable plates. According to show operations manager Erin O'Donnell, they have been instrumental with show concessions company since they are not usually asked about using biodegradable plates and paper goods.

"Now is the time," said Kelly, "to get the word out there."

SNEWS® View: We'd like to see exhibitors and others in the industry think twice about packaging, shipping, collateral handed out in paper form and even plastic water bottles commonly carried around at the show. Although the industry is mostly an indoors one, there is no reason it can't and shouldn't take part in the discussion and start doing its part wherever and whenever it can.

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