Member Spotlight: Herkie du Preez from Event Wizards

Each month we shine the light on an Event Greening Forum member who is making sustainable events a priority in their business. This month we want to introduce you to Herkie du Preez, the head wizard at Event Wizards, an events production company that has a knack for pulling magic out of a hat.

 

 

Q. IN TEN WORDS OR LESS, WHO IS HERKIE DU PREEZ?
Mirror mirror on the wall… coolest WIZARD of them all…

 

Q. TELL US ABOUT EVENT WIZARDS – WHAT DO YOU DO, AND HOW DO YOU INCORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY INTO THIS?
The quality that sets Event Wizards apart, is that which is embodied in the very essence of our name – efficiency that almost verges on Wizardry. As such we have become renowned for pulling magic out of a hat to deliver event experiences that others may well deem ‘impossible’ or too ‘demanding’. But in 2019 and beyond that is not enough. We also believe in growing an understanding and appreciation for being socially and environmentally responsible – not only educating our clients but also ourselves. We continuously explore new ways of incorporating greening and sustainability in our office and event workspaces. Cultivating that “Green Magic”!

 

 

Q. DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN AND WHY YOU DEVELOPED AN AWARENESS ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY, AND A DESIRE TO CHAMPION IT THROUGH YOUR WORK?
Sustainability has gained more exposure in recent years and as I learnt more about it through various media platforms, I realised that I would like to be a part of this initiative and play my part. I discovered that there are numerous ways of incorporating sustainability, greening and recycling efforts through the work that we do. By simply exploring more of the opportunities available to the event industry, we can contribute to creating a sustainable work environment and future events. I discovered ‘green’ is really cool and now I’m living it.

 

I discovered that there are numerous ways of incorporating sustainability, greening and recycling efforts through the work that we do. By simply exploring more of the opportunities available to the event industry, we can contribute to creating a sustainable work environment and future events. I discovered ‘green’ is really cool and now I’m living it.

 

Q. HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED ANY HURDLES WHEN IMPLEMENTING EVENT GREENING IN YOUR BUSINESS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
The collection of recycled materials proved to be more of a challenge within the corporate industry than anticipated, but after connecting with the right suppliers, the process was simplified. The minimal weight requirement for paper and plastic was a hurdle for our company as we do not produce large quantities of plastic, paper, compost and metal rubbish. By finding the right dumping sites, we are now able to deliver these reserves to them for storage before being effectively recycled when the minimal weight requirement is reached.

 

Q. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST ‘GREEN’ ACHIEVEMENT TO DATE?
There are a few:
Establishing a ‘GO GREEN’ culture in the office as well as raising awareness around sustainability when planning events with our clients. (Check out eventwizards.co.za/corporate-events/)
Globalisation and exponential growth in technology has connected people from different parts of the world in a way we never thought possible.
Making the Exxaro CEO Sustainability Summit a Hybrid event, and to keep those who were not able to attend the event informed through the live stream platform that was integrated into an application. The app had so many benefits, such as electronic invitations, community engagements, real time updates and social brand awareness. This tied into the sustainability theme by supporting the idea of going paperless.
Some of the other things we did to incorporate sustainable elements into the Exxaro CEO Sustainability Summit include:
  • We thought in terms of: reduce, reuse and recycle. And so we incorporated biodegradable materials such as bagasse (the dry pulpy residue left after the extraction of juice from sugar cane) to replace paper plates and plastic cutlery.
  • We embraced the digital world and got an event app.
  • We made use of local and organic food suppliers. This reduced our carbon footprint as well as reducing packaging waste.
  • We did away with 100’s of plastic bottles, with our fun kegtail station serving still and sparkling water drafts.
  • We encouraged attendees to recycle by turning it into a fun activity.

 

We did away with 100’s of plastic bottles, with our fun kegtail station serving still and sparkling water drafts.

 

 

Q. SO WHY SHOULD WE CARE ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY?
Well it’s our future and we should be looking after our environment the way we try to look after ourselves.

 

Q. CAN YOU SHARE WITH US ONE THING YOU HAVE LEARNT ABOUT SUSTAINABLE EVENTS, WHICH HAS BEEN INVALUABLE TO YOU AND THAT YOU WISH EVERYBODY KNEW?
With much of the focus on the overall event objectives, incorporating event greening initiatives are often overlooked. By simply bringing the sustainability options available to light and discussing these event possibilities with clients, more awareness is created, and new creative solutions are discovered. Remember to include sustainability in the initial event planning process!

 

We should be looking after our environment the way we try to look after ourselves.

 

Q. IF YOU COULD WAVE A MAGIC WAND AND CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT THE SA MICE EVENTS INDUSTRY TO MAKE IT MORE SUSTAINABLE, WHAT WOULD THAT ONE THING BE?
Gosh, there are actually a few… Say good-bye to unnecessary printing and environmentally unfriendly gifting options. Food waste management should be taken more seriously, and we need to remember that greening starts during the planning phase.

 

Q. ANY FINAL WORDS YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
Be green and keep it cool!

 

To learn more about Event Wizards, you can view their membership profile here.

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