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  • Tai Ryan

The Sustainable Occasion eGuide: Your go-to guide for sustainable event management.

As event managers and producers, it’s our role to put on the best possible show for our clients. We gather, collaborate, learn and celebrate for a few hours. Yet without thought to the waste these events create, the Earth feels the effects long after the last guest has departed. My name is Tai Ryan. I’ve spent the majority of my 20+ year career in the events world, and I happily joined the CAPITAL-e events team in July. Whilst I’ve always been environmentally aware, I began my journey toward a zero-waste lifestyle in 2017, following a challenge set by a close friend. Instead of birthday wishes or gifts, she asked us to take one action towards improving the environment. As a result, I took plastic food wrap off my shopping list and quickly learnt the alternatives. I soon realised that although I was incorporating zero-waste thinking into my home life, my work life told a very different story. So I began reframing the reasons behind the events I was creating. I questioned suppliers, discovered other options, and educated myself, my colleagues and clients on the best practices for hosting eco-ethical and environmentally-friendly parties and events. Climate change and sustainability have become buzz topics in the past few years. Many businesses are taking a more proactive approach to their corporate responsibilities, or are at least aware and wondering how to start. State governments are banning more single-use plastic items. Clients want to know the working conditions of those making the goods they’re buying. Buying locally and from small businesses is a preferred trend. As event producers, we should all be using these opportunities to rethink how we execute events. Being stood down on Job Keeper during the pandemic gave me the perfect opportunity to dive deeper into the topic, using my newly freed time to study the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a number of sustainability courses online. I found Zoos Victoria’s “When balloons fly, seabirds die” campaign. I discovered just how hard it is to recycle event signage like corflute. I came to understand how the implementation of just one small change, like waste separation systems, can have a huge positive impact. So in the middle of a lockdown (remember when we thought it’d only last 8 weeks?!) I launched my side hustle The Sustainable Occasion, offering reusable party kits for hire. And I began writing a book. The Sustainable Occasion eGuide helps you to not only plan your event but to do so in an eco-ethical and purposeful way. Targeted at event DIYers, such as newly engaged couples planning a wedding or parents organising their kid’s birthday party, it’s equally helpful to PAs and office managers, as to marketers, school and sporting communities and event planners of all experience levels. Covering topics such as the event planning process, budgets, venue and supplier selection, waste removal and gifts, the eGuide provides tips, tricks and planning tools that will (hopefully!) fast become your favourite resources for sustainable event management. However, this is not just a how-to book for planning sustainable events. It’s also designed to be a thought-provoker - a conversation starter. Perhaps most importantly, it’s a plea for our industry to do things differently - to do it better, so we can all learn to celebrate like we love the Earth!

To purchase a digital copy of The Sustainable Occasion eGuide, or pre-order a hard copy*, visit *Hard copies will be available for early 2023 delivery.

*This article was originally written for, and first published, in CAPITAL-e Marketing & Events' December 2022 MONTHL-e newsletter here.

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