I was in Milan last week for my day job and had the opportunity to visit the Milan Expo 2015. I’d heard my Italian colleagues talk about the Expo, but I could never have imagined the incredible scale of it. The Expo brings together 140 participating countries over a 6 month period, showcasing innovation and future technology. What particularly interested me was Milan’s choice of theme: “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”.
The set up is really extraordinary, with each country having a dedicated pavilion within the 1.1 million square meter Expo. Each pavilion is uniquely designed and there is some fantastic architecture on display. Unfortunately I didn’t get much time to explore, but I did manage to visit some interesting pavilions, including Brazil and Austria.
The Austrian pavilion was particularly interesting – a green oasis of fresh air – providing a cool escape from the Milan heat and producing 62.5kg of fresh oxygen per hour. The pavilion aims to showcase innovative practices that can introduce cleaner and greener living in urban areas. In line with the Expo theme, Austria has the most extensive range of organic products available in it’s supermarkets, in Europe, and the Expo pavilion emphasises the importance of clean air to sustainable food production.
You can read more about the Austrian Expo pavilion, hear the forest sounds, and even take a virtual tour here: http://www.expoaustria.at/en.html
At a wider scale, the planning and nomination of Milan as the host of the Expo has resulted in the ‘Charter of Milan’ being released by the Italian Government. Which calls on all Italians, including businesses, to consider the impact of actions on sustainability, specifically to ensure future generations have access to food. You can read more about the Charter of Milan here: http://www.expo2015.org/en/charter-of-milan.
Across the Expo there were discreet examples of sustainability, from the BMW i3 police cars (which look slick in my opinion), to the number of pavilions using solar power. Overall the entire Expo has been designed to be sustainable, with energy efficiency and recycling at the forefront of every design. For example, each pavilion is designed to be reused once the Expo ends in October.
If you find yourself in Milan between now and October 31st , I strongly recommend going. Not only will you be able to sample food and drink from different cultures, the Expo is a fantastic and reassuring experience of the wider world focussing on sustainable growth and innovation. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend much time there and the 36 degree heat was limiting in a suit and tie, but the brief experience I had was really interesting. If you can’t make it out there, you can read and experience each pavilion digitally at http://www.expo2015.org/en/participants.