Upcycling Case Study

We hosted the 20th AfricaCom Conference and Exhibition in 2017 – a high-profile technology event, which brings together 400 exhibitors, 450 visionary speakers and 13 000 delegates and visitors.


An event of this size, using both CTICC 1 and CTICC 2, means many large exhibition stands are custom-built for the occasion and must be responsibly removed from our site afterwards. The client was aware the event had a large carbon footprint and wanted to offset this, by creating environmental and social sustainability initiatives. One of our local community partners, Mothers Unite, took delivery of the wood ‘waste’ generated by exhibition stands being broken down.

What we set out to achieve

The objective of the project was to ensure that all ‘waste’ wood from breaking down stands was diverted from landfill and reused or upcycled. The challenge was to find organisations that would be able to find uses for the particular type and volumes of wood from which stands are made.

Implementing the upcycling plan

Promotional material was created through sustainability videos, which showed and recorded the success of the initiative, and featured interviews with Carol Jacobs of Mothers Unite, as well as our CEO, Julie-May Ellingson.

Sustainable AfricaCom – Making an Impact on Cape Town, Part 1

This video celebrates the impact Informa’s content has had on creating growth and opportunity for young Africans in the technology and communications sectors.

We also recorded the community’s response to the arrival of the wood and how it was used in various ways: To secure living spaces, for carpentry and making furniture, as well as for the Mothers Unite woodwork project, which creates items that can be sold for profit.


The final facts and figures

This sustainability collaboration allowed us to divert most of the wood generated at the AfricaCom from landfill. We were able to provide 101.2 metric tonnes of wood to the communities of the Seawinds and surrounding areas. 


The wood ‘waste’ made up 66.6% of the waste generated at the event, contributing to the remarkable overall recycling figure of 97.4% for the entire event.


Future plans include ensuring that upcycled wood can be distributed to other organisations and used directly to build skills and generate income.


Metric Tonnes

Of waste was diverted from landfill.


Of all event waste was diverted from landfill.