Taking a stand on sustainability at BIBA 2023

Aviva has been a recognised leader on sustainability issues for decades. It’s a fundamental part of Aviva’s strategy and integral to what we do as a business. From acting on climate change, building stronger communities and embedding good governance across our business and supply chain, we set ourselves big ambitions. Because we know that what we do today, decides what’s possible tomorrow.

Sustainable Partnerships
Aviva is working with the world’s leading global environmental charity WWF as their lead partner in the insurance and pensions sector. We’re also partnering with The Wildlife Trust contributing a £38m donation to help restore Britain’s lost rainforests. And a Carbon Partner of the Woodland Trust to support their Woodland Carbon Scheme which will deliver carbon removal and biodiversity improvements through woodland creation and peatland restoration. Working together lets us make a bigger difference. Together, we can help more people unite to take action and help lead the changes we all hope to see for people and the planet.

From the ways we work with our partners and communities, to the ways we show up at events like the BIBA conference, we’re mindful of our impact and taking positive steps to be responsible and sustainable – so this year at BIBA it’s not just our recycled cups on the stand that have a story to tell.

Our people
The Aviva team hosting our stand at BIBA this year play an important role in our BIBA sustainability mission. The likes of travel, accommodation and hospitality have been considered, making sustainable choices on travel to reduce our footprint. We measure our total transportation and travel distance so we can calculate this as part of our overall group travel emissions.

Our Broker support
As our trusted business partners, we want to help you work towards a brighter tomorrow. Working as one team, we're collaborating with each other and our mutual customers to recognise the impact we all have on the environment and in society by developing sustainable growth plans for long-term prosperity.

Our sustainability hub on Aviva Broker brings together helpful guidance and information to support you in becoming sustainable and climate resilient, as well as more information on Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) factors and how our products are evolving to tackle ever-changing customer demand.

As part of our commitment to build stronger communities we’ll be sharing with you how you can access funding to support the local charities, projects and causes you care about in the Aviva Broker Community Fund 2023. This year we’ll be giving away £300,000 to causes championed by you, our broker partners. Entries are open and brokers have until 30 June to apply.

Our BIBA stand – Lifecycle thinking
From flooring to furniture and graphic finishes, there’s a lot that goes into our stand at BIBA each year. Each component serves a different need and together these pieces come together to give our brokers and colleagues the best possible experience each year. Working with our stand design and build partners Image Display & Graphics, we’ve created a sustainably focused stand that also gives brokers the best experience.

We’ve highlighted some examples below, but a lifecycle thinking mindset has been applied to our exhibition stand, from design through to build. For example, by using and reusing strong, durable materials like aluminium frameworks and hardwood floor structures, our stand has extended the life of materials which require higher energy to procure, manufacture and transport. With some being reused for decades, the lifecycle of these materials has been extended significantly, and better yet, less durable and less appropriate materials haven't been used time after time to reach the same result. That’s lifecycle thinking in action and it’s helping us take a real stand on sustainability.

Step 1: Flooring

Made from hard wearing and fast growing European plywood from responsibly managed sources, our flooring structures have been retained, repaired and reused since the 1990s. Swaps from vinyl laminates to chipboard flooring and the likes of recyclable carpet options have been implemented to make sure that the flooring options on our stand give a true foundation of sustainability that makes sense in the temporary world of events, blending both reusability and recycling in tandem.

Step 2: Core structure (Stand Architecture)

Just like our flooring, our stand build team have retained a core inventory of stand structures since the 1990s. Building on the lifecycle thinking behind every project, these structures need to be strong, safe and sturdy, but remain largely unseen in their different creative uses.

This means all these architectural components are maintained, reused and repaired to extend their lifespan across multiple clients and events.

90-95% of the aluminium components, subject to wear and safe usage, have been retained since Aviva’s first purchased them in 2013. By using materials like aluminium sensibly and creatively, we can first make sure any usage can extend the higher energy required to initially produce aluminium. However, when these components do reach the end of their useful life, aluminium benefits from being fully recyclable and reformable in new components without any loss of quality. Better still, recycling aluminium extrusions typically requires far less energy than initial manufacture, making recycling of these elements even more important for a sustainable stand today and tomorrow.

Step 3: Floristry and planting

At BIBA 2022, all the small plants were ‘rehomed’ amongst staff or associated persons to make sure there was no wastage of live plants, these still live on in offices and homes.

This year we’re planning to do the same with a selection of native plant species, again selected for their resistance to stress, natural occurrence in the UK and ability to live on beyond the days of BIBA whilst adding a little biophilia to our event. We've also commissioned a preserved moss wall panel which will last into future events and provide a newer take on stand décor without negative environmental impact.

Step 4: Stand Graphics & Décor

Keeping our stand design distinctively ‘Aviva’ is a key part of our success at events like BIBA. We want brokers to use our yellow brand assets as a beacon to visit us. But how do we customise our look without compromising on sustainability?

Well once again, understanding lifecycles supports smarter applications of branding. Where a logo or brand asset is likely to be consistent, we can typically plan to reuse these decorative components.

Choosing the right materials for custom structures and shapes means that using them only once or twice is already balancing the lifecycle effectively. Fast-growing soft woods, recycled composite materials and boards help make custom features far less costly to the environment. Even using plastics in a few areas is the responsible thing to do, with these materials offering flexibility, durability and cleanliness that's hard to match and we make sure that they're not treated disposably. In most cases, even these components are used numerous times, also making their way to other Aviva events like the Airmic conference.  

Our stand graphics are all produced via UV printing. This means that there are no VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and no need for heat plates or chemical processes. Instead, ink is cured instantly with UV light for a durable and vibrant finish, reducing the energy required to produce even the largest of graphics. The majority of our graphics are also made from a recycled polyester fabric which uses reclaimed plastic bottles to form a high quality printable and further recyclable media.

Our stand build partners Image Display & Graphics are also taking the stand build process a step further when it comes to sustainability. Committed to honestly acknowledging the green gap in events as they work to close it for good, they partner with Ecologi to fund a range of climate positive programmes across the UK and the rest of the world. These projects extend to carbon capture, reduction and avoidance, as well as funding rewilding, community projects and education, accounting for all travel and installation impacts, as well as the remaining 5 to 10% of a project that can't yet be reused or recycled.

Getting closer to Net Zero by 2040

Our sustainable choices at BIBA 2023 lead the way for others to follow. We hope that you, businesses and others in the insurance industry join us in our approach and start to make those small changes that contribute to our net zero future.

Want to know more about how we’re operating sustainably for our people, our shareholders and for society? Download the Aviva sustainability report for 2022 here.

Whilst we are working towards our sustainability ambitions, we acknowledge that we have relationships with businesses and existing assets that may be associated with significant emissions. More information can be found here.