Just a few years ago, buying green products referred simply to its color. Fast forward to 2011 and not only are there countless eco goodies to choose from, but also events that showcase them. With the soaring popularity of all things green, the market has also become saturated with products that unfortunately fall under the so-called term “greenwashed” — those that look green at face value, but are little more than empty promises dressed up in eco drag.
I wanted to get behind the scenes of an eco event to find out how strict the criteria is, so I caught up with Aymeric Maudous, director of Eco Xpo, an Australian event set for Sydney in May. Aymeric says in a world awash with green, it’s more important than ever to carefully screen vendors who fill the Xpo booths.
What inspired you to start the EcoXpo?
I started EcoXpo from identifying a need for Sydneysiders to find creative solutions to living a more sustainable and responsible life without compromising their lifestyle. There is too much green washing out there and the search for truly sustainable goods and services can sometimes be frustrating. EcoXpo is making this process easy by bringing together the best eco products and services to eco-conscious customers. There are a few similar Eco movements mushrooming everywhere in the Planet, but EcoXpo is the only one in Australia to bring a perfectly well balance of organic food and wines, eco building material, electric vehicles, solar panels and rainwater tanks, organic cotton and bamboo clothing, health and beauty and of course eco baby!
What criteria do you have for stall holders to prevent green-washed products and services joining in?
Each company represented at the EcoXpo is a proud owner or user of an organic, natural and/or sustainable brand. We pre-screen all exhibitors participating and make sure that they adhere to certified organic and good environmental practice and must act in accordance to ensure they are genuine participators. We have also developed an ‘Energy and Waste’ Agreement to encourage our sponsors to reduce the use of unnecessary packaging, especially with plastic bags and wrapping, promote the use of energy wise habits and promote public transport. I think it is important that we all share our best business practices if we are really committed (as we are) in making a positive impact in the world we live in. I guess this is all about TRUST.
I understand there will be a few eco beauty and wellness brands?
There are a few outstanding beauty and wellness brands that will be showcasing their products at EcoXpo. When selecting these brands we made sure that they used natural and organic ingredients and most of them are hand-made using ancestral practices such as the extraordinary Moroccan Argan Oil. All the products showcased at EcoXpo will truly reflect a need for natural beauty that doesn’t compromise our health, pollute our ecosystems or create unnecessary reactions. The need to live a healthy life in sync with Mother Nature is really the main driving factor behind our health and beauty exhibitors.
Are the beauty brands 100% natural with a majority of organic ingredients?
Yes they are. Part of our screening process ensures that all products that do not comply with our strict rules and regulations do not make it to EcoXpo. The criteria that we abide to are some of most stringent in the industry and have been a sign of constant quality for the visitors who visit EcoXpo. Those criteria also ensure that all exhibitors fully comply with the standards set for their niche market, giving them a competitive advantage for this exponentially growing market.
“When selecting these brands we made sure that they used natural and organic ingredients and most of them are hand-made using ancestral practices.”
What type of food demonstrations will there be? What is the emphasis with the food side of things?
We are very lucky to have a few of the best chefs coming to do a few cooking demos including chef Simon Lawson from Agape Organic Restaurant. We will have a sustainable kitchen set-up for the occasion and the main focus will be on healthy food where each chef will bring in his or her zest of life from organic cooking, living foods, vegan to slow foods.
Any notable speakers?
We have a few incredible speakers coming from all horizons of sustainability and health covering many aspects of a well balanced life such as the importance of the Vegus nerve, the making of Sydney Eco Village, sustainable gardening and environmental protection with leading environmentalists. A full list of what’s on at EcoXpo will be posted soon on our website and Facebook. More details are also available from our newsletter Eco Echo.
What else can people expect from the three days?
There will be incredible organic and living food and the best certified organic wines to taste, discovery of new products launching exclusively at EcoXpo, entertainment for kids (who by the way get on for free) and many many more surprises that will make this a fun day to visit. As part of our commitment to the environment, we will plant one tree for every paying visitor at EcoXpo. Each full price ticket bought online $8 prior to the expo will also receive a $20 voucher to redeem at Agape Organic Restaurant and an automatic entry into the draw to win a ride worth $296 with our partner Ecolimo and four nights in rice water bungalows at the Bali Eco Stay. We also have a special Mother’s Day award for the greenest Mum on the Sunday… so as you can see, the fun just doesn’t end!
What are your plans for EcoXpo?
We have been talking with various local communities and government departments to expand the scope of EcoXpo… there will be a big announcement of that a few days following EcoXpo 2011 in our newsletter so stay tuned.
WIN ONE OF THREE DOUBLE PASSES TO ECOXPO. Simply send an email, including EcoXpo in the subject line, along with your name and telephone number in the body of the email. Winners announced on Facebook.