Creating Corporate Social Responsibility at Trade Shows

  • February 21, 2019
150 150 Catapult Creative Labs

The Catapult Creative Labs team has collectively attended more Outdoor Retailer’s than we care to admit (but let’s just say we were there in the Reno days). Much like you, we leave every show fired up and eager to affect change.

As a creative and communications agency, we’re always brewing up ways to share client stories. Kicking off our work with EcoVessel in July 2018, we identified a major concern for environmental advocacy unfolding physically at Outdoor Retailer, and bridged the ways in which our client was avid to solve it. We’re telling their story of plastic waste from a creative and authentic perspective.


EcoVessel launched in 2011 with a single mission: to minimize the use of single use plastic bottles. Drawing from their call to leave less, Catapult helped to create a deliberate initiative that emboldened the brand’s CSR efforts at a grassroots level—insert: #LeaveLessOR Pledge. The pledge continuously invites Outdoor Retailer attendees to take a proactive step to minimize, and ultimately remove, single-use plastic water bottles from the industry’s premier trade show. 

Image from iOSCatapult helped EcoVessel launch the pledge at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2018, offering a water refill station and selling vessels at their booth with proceeds benefiting Plastic Oceans—a non-profit organization whose mission is to reduce single-use plastics and mitigate plastic waste.

The outdoor industry has come so far in its 37 years, though, despite the progress there are still single-use plastic beverages being carried around the show floor. The #LeaveLessOR pledge aims to anchor the industry’s environmental responsibility to reducing single-use plastic bottles at this capstone event.

Emerald Expositions, the parent company that hosts the tradeshow, felt pressure from outdoor brands to leave Utah for their lack of public land support and move the show to Denver. As a group dedicated to the welfare of our planet, the use of single-use plastic and other practices at the show are inconsistent with our overall goals. How can the industry help Emerald make some changes on the show floor?

Consider what your brand ethos and trade show presence have in common. Collect your events and marketing teams together to discuss ways that you can better serve your trade audience in the most genuine way possible. Outdoor Retailer has a resource available to help exhibitors in sustainability practices.

Catapult also offers corporate social innovation programs from ideation to implementation to help answer the tough question consumers demand: What problem is your brand solving?