Taking the lead from industry, Hostex is going all in on sustainability this year.

Guided by feedback from the industry, Hostex 2020 has earmarked a different theme for each of its three show days – education, women in hospitality and sustainability. The themes will inform the content during each day, and give the exhibitors, visitors and the Hostex organising team the opportunity to really drill down into a topic. For the topic of sustainability, it couldn’t have come at a better time – while sustainability has been a buzzword for decades, it’s no longer just a trend. With the wildfires in Australia and other climate crisis-related phenomena dominating headlines, it’s urgently important.

“Sustainability is critical to not only the industry, but to the world. For us as show organisers, it’s vital to do what we can to reduce our carbon footprint and to reflect solutions to the challenges that the industry is facing,” says Nick Sarnadas, Hostex Show Director.

Greg McManus, the Chairperson of the Event Greening Forum, says that growing consumer awareness is behind the increased importance of sustainability. “Globally, sustainability has emerged as an important business consideration after a number of years being brushed aside by the corporate sector,” says Greg. “It incorporates everything from responsible procurement of the raw products you use, to the energy, water and waste created during the manufacture and development processes, and the ability of your product or service to contribute to a reduction in landfill waste.” He says that it also addresses fair employment practices, and the involvement and beneficiation of local communities.

While there’ll be more developments as we get closer to the event, one of the initiatives that the Hostex 2020 team have put into action is reducing the use of single-use plastic throughout the event. Sandton Convention Centre will only sell glass bottles of water that have been recycled and repurposed. Exhibitors have also been encouraged to remove non-recyclable single-use items from their stands, and to think of innovative ways to be more sustainable. There’ll also be highly visible recycling receptacles placed around the show. The content at IndustryLive! will centre around sustainability, featuring industry leaders who are experts in sustainability applications in different hospitality fields, including technology and nose-to-tail eating.

Chef James Khoza, Hostex 2020 Ambassador and Sandton Convention Centre Executive Chef has been asked to bring sustainability to the forefront of the show’s catering and to make sure that any food or drinks served embrace sustainable practices. He’s excited for the challenge: “After retail, hospitality is the industry that generates the most waste, using huge volumes of energy, water and produce. The industry must educate its people and find ways to be a key player in a sustainable future.”

James believes that chefs should think about the repercussions of what they are doing in their kitchens. “If chefs want to positively impact future generations, change and progress toward a sustainable practice must start now,” he says.

Some of the sustainable principles that he’s aiming to put into practice for the Hostex 2020 event are:

  • Use of biodegradable disposable containers
  • Using induction heating to reduce energy use
  • Use just one Rational oven to reduce energy use
  • Seasonal menus
  • Manage food waste proactively and finding ways to use leftover food instead of throwing away

“Gone are the days that you could simply ignore sustainable business practice,” says Greg. “Whether you are exhibiting at a trade show, marketing your product to the trade or consumer, or trying to attract consumers at the buffet or shop-counter, sustainability should become your single-most important tool.  Differentiating your company, product or service has become very difficult in today’s business environment, but committing to sustainability and environmental responsibility offers you just that.”

To find out more about how you can be more sustainable in your business, and to see sustainability in practice across the floor show, diarise Sunday the 1st of March for Hostex 2020. Visit www.hostex.co.za to book your ticket now, and keep your eyes peeled on the IndustryLive! schedule to see when sustainability topics will be addressed at the open forum throughout the day.