The 2014 edition of the Green Living Show, claiming to be North America’s largest, was held this past weekend. By the afternoon of the third day, Sunday, some exhibitors were commenting that they were hearing that the crowds were lighter than in past years and those visitors to whom GallonDaily spoke frequently commented that they did not think the show was as good as in past years. Many of the exhibitors to whom GallonDaily spoke said that they had not exhibited in past years, suggesting that exhibitor turnover is high.
There were certainly changes:
- there were fewer large company pavilions than in the early years of this exhibition series – no Home Depot, no Loblaw, no Interface Flooring, and so on. Home Hardware had a small booth.
- it felt as though there was more marketing of products, as in a typical consumer show, and somewhat less in the way of educational exhibits.
- again it felt as though there were more booths selling personal care products and services and fewer selling or marketing products that help the environment.
- even where products offered environmental benefits, for example as in organic food products, the emphasis tended towards supposed consumer and user health benefits rather than broader environmental benefits.
- it appeared that the show was receiving less media coverage than in previous years, perhaps suggesting that the media believes that the public is less interested in green products than in previous years.
There is no universally accepted definition of green in the context of products but GallonDaily prefers an approach that considers a green product to be one that has qualities that will reduce the product’s environmental footprint or that will cause the product to be more consistent with the environmental, social, and economic, possibly also the cultural, aspects of Sustainable Development as defined by the World Commission on Environment and development. Thus, in GallonDaily’s opinion, such services and goods as yoga, organic cosmetics, socially advanced clothing, and home fragrances, all of which could be found at the Green Living Show, do not qualify as green. Indeed there were even some booths at the show which were selling products and services, such as saucepan sets, which did not even try to make green claims! The Tupperware booth claimed that its products were BPA free, something that they have almost certainly always been and for which most, if not all, competitors also qualify. Government rules in both Canada and the US prohibit environmental product claims where the claim is not actually describing an environmental benefit associated with that particular product.
However, green product shows almost always have some interesting products. Among those at Green Living which attracted Gallondaily’s attention were:
- Ontario Tire stewardship showing garden mulch made from recycled tires
- Boomerang brand recycled paint
- a low voltage home wiring and control system from startup company Lumencache
- Dormio organic beds
- Dow brand solar shingles with Canadian installer Canadian Energy http://www.cdnrg.com
- magnetic windows, for example to turn residential or commercial double glazing into triple glazing, from www.magneticwindows.net (we had those at Pollution Probe’s Ecology House in the 1980s)
GallonDaily was also interested to see a decent range of green cars on display and available to test drive.
Information about the show is at http://www.greenlivingshow.ca/. The exhibitor list, with weblinks to many of the exhibitors, is not so easy to find but is at http://www.greenlivingshow.ca/2014-exhibitor-list/.