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What is a Sustainable Event?

What is Sustainable Event Management?

Today, we’re sharing some tips on how to plan a greener, more sustainable event. This is an aspect of event planning that’s increased in importance in recent years, and we see that trend continuing as we move out of the COVID era, and in-person events return. 

Sustainable event management means incorporating environmental and social responsibilities in your event plan to support goals like reducing the impact of your event, and maximising the benefits to the community. 

 Let’s explore a few steps you can follow to plan a sustainable event. 

How To Plan a Sustainable Event 

Just as planning a COVID-safe event requires additional considerations, resources and precautions, the most sustainable events are carefully planned from end to end so each aspect of the event has minimal negative impacts. Here’s how you can do the same. 

 

Look For a Sustainable Venue 

One of the first tasks is to seek out a sustainable venue for your event. You can look for venues with sustainability certifications such as the LEED and BREEAM certifications, or the Green Building Council Australia’s Green Star. These certifications are only attainable if a building meets specific criteria as outlined in official standards such as ISO 9001:2015. 

If you’re unable to secure a certified venue for your event, you can still take proactive steps to reduce the event’s impact. For example, you could choose a location that’s easily accessible by public transport, or is within walking distance of the city centre. You could also provide incentives to attendants who walk or cycle to the event rather than drive. 

You should consult with the venue owner to discuss sustainability considerations before selecting your venue. Some sustainability considerations to discuss could include the venue’s energy sources and efficiency, catering and supplier choices, water supply, and waste disposal.  

Recycle and Reduce Waste  

Nothing is sure to rile up your event’s attendees like overflowing bins and poorly managed waste. You can avoid this by reducing the amount of single-use tableware and packaging. Consider swapping out that single-use swag bag or handout for something that’s reusable (such as a tote bag).  

Another way to reduce waste is to ensure people are aware of how and where they should recycle. This begins with your pre-event communications and should extend into signage, recycling infrastructure and comms during the event. 

Reduce Your Event’s Carbon Footprint 

Thinking about how to minimise your event’s environmental impacts in a holistic sense is one of the most powerful ways to create a sustainable event. Here are a few ways to reduce your event’s carbon footprint: 

  • Use renewable energy sources for power generation 
  • Choose a venue that’s easily accessible by public transport 
  • Reduce food waste by implementing composting or other systems for repurposing food 
  • Use biodegradable materials instead of plastic for packaging 
  • Implement clear recycling policies and infrastructure
  • Reduce paper usage by focusing on digital marketing 

 The biggest benefits will come when you are proactive and focus on sustainability as early as possible in the planning process. That can mean choosing to work with sustainable suppliers, and ensuring your event communications clearly outline your sustainability focuses and goals so that your guests know what to expect when they arrive. 

Examples of Green Events 

Planning a green event? There are many factors to consider, but the good news is, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. From intimate festivals to huge sporting events, forward-thinking event planners have led the way with planning and managing events with a clear focus on sustainability. Here are a few examples to take some cues from.  

1. A Path to Zero Carbon
In 2019, HESTA’s “Path to Zero Carbon” event was produced by Perfect Events. Former Vice President and guest speaker, Al Gore inspired the room with what a transition looks like to a low carbon future. Perfect Events ensured the event was sustainable through working with the client and the venue to have the event carbon offset, we certified all suppliers with environmental compliance and took on board all of the incredible insight that Al Gore provided during his key note. We were then able to further educate the Perfect Events team and work to make all of our other events as sustainable as possible.

Perfect Events’ CEO Liliana Sanelli & Head of Operations Rebecca Adams with “A Path to Zero Carbon”
event guest speaker Al Gore, 2019

2. Byron Bluesfest
 Byron Bay’s famous Bluesfest has been at the forefront of sustainability in Australian music events for more than a decade. The event has received multiple awards for championing sustainable initiatives such as recycling food and waste products via partnerships with local farmers, and ensuring the local wildlife (including koalas) are well protected.
 

3. Falls Festival
The multi-location Falls Festival is known for its innovative no-flush, no-water, chemical-free toilet systems. This is a huge step towards minimising water use, and the waste is also turned into usable compost. There’s also a strong communication strategy in place to inform attendees of sustainability initiatives. 

4. Oktoberfest
Munich’s world-famous beer festival welcomes millions of partygoers each year, and is a pioneer for sustainable large events. Oktoberfest banned disposable tableware all the way back in 1991, and today the event continues to search out the greenest solutions for energy, food and recycling. 

5. Burning Man
Burning Man’s ‘Leave No Trace’ policy is a good example of proactive communication prior to the event. Organisers instruct attendees to leave the location as they found it, and encourage proper planning so that only essential items are brought onto the site. 

6. London 2012 Olympic Games
Events don’t come much larger than the Olympics, and the 2012 edition hosted by London was a paragon of sustainable event planning and event management. The event received widespread praise for its efficient use of infrastructure, including legacy planning for newly built facilities, hiring rather than purchasing of equipment, and use of colour-coding to ensure compostable waste, recyclables and non-recyclables were properly organised and processed. 

 

Why Are Sustainable Events Important? 

Today, there’s a greater focus on the environment, climate, and social responsibility than there has been in prior generations. Modern research suggests that attendees, staff, and volunteers prefer to be associated with brands that take sustainability seriously. 

A 2019 study showed that two of the top three most important initiatives for music festival attendees in the UK were environment-based: waste reduction and eco-friendliness were voted for by 62% and 57% of respondents respectively. Other factors like increasing the variety of activities at an event or the number of places for photo opportunities received far fewer votes. 

Moreover, a 2021 survey by Deloitte states that nearly half of Millennial and Gen Z respondents had ‘made choices over the type of work they are prepared to do or organisations they’d work for based on personal ethics’. 

So the votes are in, and people—especially younger people—are siding with brands that take sustainability seriously. And if you aren’t already seriously looking at how your events can be more sustainable, it’s time to get started. Remember to start from the beginning of the planning process, and consider how you could include more sustainable practices both in your plan and during the event, every step of the way. 

 Want to learn more about hosting a perfect event? Explore more of the latest articles on our event planning blog. If you’re looking for someone to provide all the expertise and planning for your next sustainable event in Australia, get in touch with us today! 

 

November 24, 2021

Event Planning Tips & Tricks

What is time management? Tips and tricks for event planners

If you’re an event planner, you’d know that time management is an important skill to have. You need to be one step ahead at most times, prioritising your to-do list to create events that run smoothly. 

Knowing how much time you have for the lead-up and the event itself will help you formulate your event management plan. 

How important is time management for effective event management?

The best events are those that have every detail planned out, from the moment your guests receive your event promo right through to the days following the event. 

Event managers need to execute every necessary step to create a flawless event precisely. 

And time management plays a significant role in creating an effective event management plan.

In the lead up to the event, time management helps you:

  • Plan when to send out invitations
  • Promote your event via email blasts, social media and more
  • Handle registrations 
  • Book venues, speakers and other suppliers

At the event, time management helps you:

  • Set up the venue 
  • Have suppliers on-site at the correct time (e.g. caterers, audio, ushers)
  • Welcome guests and speakers 
  • Run the event to a schedule

After the event, time management helps you:

  • Pack up the venue
  • Send thank you gifts or notes to your suppliers and speakers
  • Follow up with attendees 
  • Promote the success of your event on social media

 

Here are 4 top tips for event managers to improve their time management skills

An organised event manager is going to stand out. You’ll have the entire event planned, and your team (including suppliers) will all be on the same page. 

If you want to improve your time management skills to be a better event organiser, here are our top tips. 

Plan ahead

The best-made plans start with knowing your end goal. What is the nature of the event, and what does your client want to see? Are you creating a gala with over 500 guests, or are you hosting an online event with a maximum of 100 guests? 

Once you know your end game, you can start working backwards to create your event management plan. This includes creating a timeline. 

You should know what needs to be done and by what date. Make sure you leave some time for unexpected things that pop up (like a supplier who can no longer provide a service etc.). 

Planning helps you and your team all work on achieving the same goals and meeting deadlines.

Use a Project Timeline

A Project Timeline is your best tool when it comes to event time management. Whether you’re using an excel or word document or a Project Management program like Monday.com or Asana, make sure you refer to it often.

If you’re working with a team or coordinating an event, it’s best to make sure you share your Project Timeline so everyone can see the deadlines.

Using your Project Timeline will help you see when there are busy or quiet moments in the planning to help make time for yourself – something many overly busy event planners tend to forget! And this is especially important if you’re running multiple events. You don’t want to burn yourself out and drop the ball by missing important deadlines.

Open communication

Communication plays a major role in time management for events. It’s easy to take on every project that comes your way, but sometimes, you need to ask questions at the start to make sure you have time to take on a project. 

And if you don’t have time, let your client know you can’t take on their event. The alternative is becoming great at delegating and using a team. 

If you’re leading a team, you will need to master the art of clear and open communication. You all need to be on the same page and working towards the same goals for a successful event. 

When you’re all on the same page, you’ll find your time management is enhanced as you’re not explaining the same thing over and over. You delegate clearly and leave the task up to them to complete in time. 

Remove any distraction

When you’re planning an event, you can’t afford to get distracted. And let’s be honest, most of us have something that will distract us and take our mind off the job at hand. 

The biggest issue with distractions is that they aren’t always the best use of our time and are not likely to have been included in your event time management plan. 

For example, you may be posting about the event on social media, and before you know it, you’re scrolling aimlessly and laughing at funny memes about cats. Or you’re working from home, and your dog pops over for a quick pat, and just like that, you’re out in the backyard playing fetch. 

All excellent distractions, by the way, but a distraction all the same! 

One way to remove distractions (besides locking yourself away from the world) is to schedule your ‘known distractions’ into your event plan! Take time out to scroll through your social or play with your dog, and so on. 

Make your ‘distractions’ a part of your time management plan. 

Time management for event planners is a skill and quality that often comes naturally

Most of the time, event planners are naturally talented when it comes to organisation and planning. You’re meticulous in paying attention to details, and you know how to capture every item for a successful event. 

Remember to be kind to yourself and factor in time for you, your distractions, and multiple clients, and you’ll find that you’ve got this time management gig down pact.

Volunteering in Events Industry

Volunteers are a crucial part of every event!

Here at Perfect Events we love our volunteering family and we couldn’t do our events without them. Throughout this blog we thought we would share with you some of our Perfect Points on Volunteering.

1 – Initiative
Being able to take initiative is an incredible skill to learn and a very valued trait by Event Managers. A volunteer with initiative can really raise an event to new heights. You can easily exhibit initiative by even the smallest of actions, such as constant communication with your Volunteer Coordinator, noticing dangerous situations or hazards and alerting a staff member or even just general problem solving!

2 – Leadership
True leaders are probably one of the best kinds of Volunteers we see in events. These people have an awesome talent for taking initiative and are quick on their feet. Learning the skill of leadership is a personality trait that stands out amongst the rest.

3 – Asking Questions!
Don’t be afraid to ever ask questions while you’re volunteering. There are no silly questions – the event management team are always around to answer questions, or even ask one of your fellow volunteers. We want to make sure you get the most out of your volunteering experience and ensure that you have all the information you need to help make these events a winning success.

Volunteering in Events Industry
4 – Reliability
A crucial part of volunteering is being reliable. Ensure that what you have signed up for you are able to commit to; same as what you would do for any paid role. Volunteers that show ongoing commitment to companies, always turn up on time and willing to have a go will stand out from the crowd. We understand that life gets in the way sometimes but it is best to contact the Volunteer Coordinator if unable to attend the event; don’t just not show up.

5 – Flexible
Volunteer roles vary from event to event; some require high level skills whilst others are simple tasks. Showing your willingness to tackle any role will enhance your knowledge and demonstrate your ability to adapt with the tasks presented. Events tasks are constantly changing so by showing willingness to jump from task to task with an open mind is a great skill to have. Event Managers are more likely to give more challenging roles to volunteers who are willing to have a go at any task.

6 – Working as part of a team
We hear this all the time in a work setting but sometimes this task can bring quite a few challenges. Volunteers often do not know each other so adapting to everyone’s work habits can take some time. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses within your team would allow all members to work at their best. Being aware of cultural differences is critical to ensure all volunteers are in a comfortable environment.

These are just some of the Perfect Points that we like to share with our volunteers before going onsite onto an event!

We hope these points help give you a bit of a guide to volunteering at events!

Team Perfect Events
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