What’s behind the bed industry’s biggest dedicated event? Here, Jessica Alexander, executive director of the National Bed Federation (NBF), muses on the Bed Show, sustainability and awards …
It’s September – it must be the Bed Show! We’re very proud of the fact that the NBF’s show, launched back in 2010, has become the annual meeting point for the UK bed industry, attracting visitors from all parts of the supply chain. Whatever the economic weather, this opportunity to come together and network should be a must for anyone who makes a living in the bed industry.
The Bed Industry Awards have become an integral part of the event, with winners announced every year at the Bed Show’s gala dinner. It’s been fascinating to see how these have evolved over the years. Perhaps not surprisingly, product innovation and corporate governance are increasingly focused on sustainability, with responses to climate change and circular economy solutions.
We have been keen to support our members as much as we can on this journey, which is why we have introduced our Pledge for the Planet – encouraging members to commit to a journey of measuring and reducing their impacts in terms of carbon reduction, waste and resource efficiency. To help, we have developed ecodesign principles for mattresses, and are about to launch a practical ecodesign assessment toolkit. Our new sustainability lead will ensure this work is properly supported and developed.
This emphasis on sustainability is of course, the right thing to be doing – but it is also about future-proofing the industry for potential legislation, and our engagement with governments on climate change and waste reduction is a very important part of our current agenda.
It is tempting to suggest that sustainability is not currently a priority for businesses likely facing a significant slowdown in orders on the back of the cost of living crisis and looming recession. True, perhaps, in the short term. In the medium to long term, the impact of climate change could be far more serious. And besides, many sustainability measures actually lead to business wins such as costs reductions and improved productivity, as well as a host of new business models and new job opportunities. One door closes …
Returning to the subject of awards, we are often asked, why is it always the same people who win? Not true – every year, we do have new entrants, and they are often successful. But there are companies which also make a point of entering every year, too. Companies that regularly enter (and sometimes win) awards believe in the benefits, not just for PR, but also for the morale boost they can give the whole team.
All we can say is, we would love to have more entries, and from more companies – but you do actually have to enter in the first place (perhaps more than once), and you do have to pay close attention to the criteria the independent experts who are our judges will be measuring you up against, in order to stand a chance of winning!