Triple Bottom Line Approach in Modern Events Management

The implications of the triple bottom line in modern event management: A case study of The White Tie and Tiara Ball

This essay aims to explain the emergence of new trends in modern event management and specifically the application of the triple bottom line approach and its implications to Sir Elton John??™s annual charity event-The white tie and tiara ball. Further down the stakeholders will be outlined and the impacts on each of the stakeholder groups will be evaluated. The stakeholders??™ interconnectedness will also be scrutinized in relation to the event. Moreover by focusing on each of triple bottom line elements and its link to the stakeholders, functional strategies will be suggested in order for the event to be managed in a way that will enhance the outcomes.

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Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) is the largest HIV/AIDS charity organization in the UK which was established in 1993 and since than has donated over ?40million for a variety of related causes? via different projects and activities, one of which is the annual White Tie and Tiara Ball.
The White Tie and Tiara Ball is an annual charity event hosted at Sir Elton John??™s Windsor mansion. The ball is a spectacular evening which purpose is raising money for the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF). Sir Elton and his partner David Furnish hosted the event at their home in 1999 for the first time and since then it has become a highlight of every celebrity??™s social calendar. Every year the event has the same structure- champagne and canapes reception in the beautiful gardens of the Old Windsor mansion, followed by a sumptuous dinner in a specially decorated marquee. After that a short auction takes place where unique and exclusive pieces are sold to the guests and the funds raised go to EJAF charity. The night closes with the performance of a surprise guest??™s concert after which sir Eton John performs as well. The theme of the ball changes every year and each time it increases the positive result of the event in terms of funds gained for the charity and the overall enjoyment of the guests. The White Tie and Tiara Ball is a star studded event with celebrities coming from all over the World to take part in this amazing evening and give their contribution for a good cause. (EJAF, 2010)

The expression ?????™Triple Bottom Line??™??™ (TBL) originates from 1994, when the founder of the British consultancy ???SustainAbility??™ John Elkington argued that a company??™s performance should be measured in three different spheres. The TBL thus consists of 3 P??™s: Profit, People and Planet interconnected. It is a measurement tool for the financial, social and environmental performance of a corporation over a period of time.( See Appendix 1) Monitoring and evaluating performance is of great significance in order to understand existing problems, evaluate the impact and implement a rational solution. (Elkington, 1997)
In the context of events management the Triple Bottom Line approach applies like in any other business in terms of an event being managed with social responsibility, environmental soundness and economic viability. At present there is a certificate event management companies could gain if they execute sustainable events. The BS8901 is a certificate reflecting the overall performance of the management team and is linked to the Triple Bottom Line theory, so it gives a competitive advantage in the fields as well as proves a company is operating efficiently in producing events. (BS8901,2007)
In order to apply the TBL to an event, organizers must be able to identify their stakeholders first and find a way to interact and communicate with each one of them effectively. It is of crucial importance to plan and predict how their interests and actions might collide in order to prevent misunderstandings and pitfalls. This can also be considered as a part of the risk management policy, as if relations between internal and external stakeholders are maintained properly this would minimize the risks of financial mis-management, bad publicity, crime, safety and environmental concerns. (Bowden et al, 2001)

A very broad definition of a stakeholder is any group or individual which can affect or is affected by an organization. (Allen, 2005) An open model would include suppliers, customers, shareholders, employees, the media, government, political groups and communities. In order to work effectively, in the early stages of planning an event, the manager must be able to identify the stakeholders. Catering for the needs and interests of each one of them will prevent from collision of interests which happens often and could lead to an unsatisfactory outcome of the event in question. (Berridge, 2007) According to R. Edward Freeman, whose work in stakeholder theory is significant and very well known, the stakeholder concept is about separate groups without, whose support an organization wouldn??™t exist. (Event Management ,2007) Research on stakeholder theory assumes that managers who wish to maximize their events potential will take stakeholder interests into account. This could begin by identifying who are the internal and the external stakeholder groups and the correlation between them. (Allen, 2005)
In the specific case of the White tie and Tiara Ball stakeholder groups can be identified as follows:

Source: Spiropolous, S, Gargalianos, D, Sotiriadou, K (2006)
Elton John??™s AIDS Foundation (EJAF)
Sponsors (Chopard, Neuro Drinks, Audi, OK magazine)
Business partners (Bentley??™s Entertainments, Rhubarb Food Design)
Employees (All bodies hired by EJAF for the planning and execution of the event)
Volunteers (Lady GaGa and Damien Hirst)
Attendees (Guests)
NB: The above is based on the White Tie and Tiara Ball 2010.

Special interest groups
Local Council

Some of the internal stakeholders change every year. For example in the 2010??™s event the main sponsor was exclusive Swiss watch and jewelry manufacturer Chopard, Neuro Drinks, a healthy alternative to energy drinks and OK magazine as a media sponsor. Damien Hirst and Lady Gaga volunteered by donating their time for the event by the means of the auction item (a painted Audi A1 by Damien Hirst) and an outstanding performance by the pop diva.
Bentley??™s Entertainment is EJAF??™s chosen event organizer for the White tie and tiara ball, responsible for the full event management in every respect and Rhubarb Food Design is the company in charge for the food. The attendees also change every year as the event grows bigger and more guests are invited.
The external stakeholders are normally the same every year as for the past couple of years the event has always taken place at sir Elton??™s Windsor home and the structure and purpose of the spectacular night are always the same as explained above. The one stakeholder group that could need a bit more clarification in that special case is the competitors group. Being a charity event supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS makes it difficult to outline competitors. Although other charity events of the same scope and profile could be viewed as potential thread in the decision making process by attendees, but again this is a charity event and is all about the cause.

As mentioned earlier on there are possible clashes between the interests of stakeholder groups. The rise of such conflicts can play a critical role in the overall performance and outcome of the event. In order to be lessened and managed effectively potential conflicts should be examined and an understanding of the underlying issues concerning each stakeholder group evaluated separately in relation to others. (Masterman, 2006) The stakeholder approach is about interacting with the stakeholders, understanding their position, and develop objectives they can collectively agree on. In other words creating a platform they can all share. (Goldblatt, 2005)

In order to back up the theory with existing examples of the case study in question further down the interconnectedness, possible clashes and/or interests, between key stakeholders will be suggested and existing conflicts between them outlined and examined.

The management of relations between stakeholders is one of the main concerns event organizers must tackle appropriately. The Triple Bottom Line approach is about maintaining the relationships between key stakeholders in order to achieve positive outcome of the event in terms of economic, socio-cultural and environmentally conscious performance. The White Tie and Tiara ball is a very high-end charity event associated with one of the leading HIV/AIDS charities in Europe, which hosts famous, rich and very influential people, so publicity is a major issue for the majority of stakeholder groups. The media is a key stakeholder as it plays a vital role for the outcome of the event. Media relations have to be paid special attention to as it has a big impact on the majority of stakeholders, namely EJAF, sponsors, volunteers, business partners, interest groups and of course attendees. This event can be used as a vehicle for social-economic development in terms of educating directly the attendees about the HIV/AIDS concerns in third world countries as well as getting their funds and support to help the cause. Sponsors and volunteers in that particular case also play a very important part and are of crucial significance to the event. Being a charity evening the White Tie and Tiara Ball doesn??™t generate any profit as all the funds go to the charity, but the sponsors (Chopard, Neuro Audi and OK) and volunteers (Lady GaGa and Damien Hirst) play a big part as they attract a lot of media attention and also help maximizing guest??™s expenditure. For the event in question even though the media deal was exclusive to OK magazine, being one of the sponsors, the White Tie and Tiara Ball could generate a lot of media coverage only from the fact Lady Gaga is volunteering and giving a performance on the night. Being an international superstar her presence at the Ball is going to be reflected in a vast majority of media outlets all around the world, which on the other hand works as a promotional tool for the charity and its objectives. Looking from another perspective at the stakeholders??™ relationships there is a correlation between the sponsors and the attendees. The sponsors are all associated with a wealthy clientele base and the guest list for the event is representing the cream of society, where people would have the resources to bid for the extremely expensive items provided by the sponsors. EJAF is also one of the leading charities fighting against the spread of HIV/AIDS and by sponsoring an event such as the White Tie and tiara Ball a company could gain a great advantage by the means of maintaining a positive image as well as expanding its client base. There is also a link between EJAF, the event organizers (Bentley??™s Entertainments), the guests and the media. The last White Tie and Tiara Ball was a great success in terms of funds raised for the charity, 5.6 million pounds were generated on the night. (OK, 2010)This event has always been associated with A list celebrities and important business and political figures such as former American president Bill Clinton and the music mogul Simon Cowell, owner of Topshop sir Philip Green and many more. For the past twelve years the event has advertised itself as one of the most exclusive and high-status social events of the summer calendar. (EJAF, 2010) However this year??™s Ball didn??™t live up to the expectations of some as despite the foundation of having made every effort to maintain its exclusivity it appeared that anyone with money could have got a ticket. Regardless of the company??™s statement that tickets could only be purchased via the official website and the event is oversubscribed, unauthorized private agencies were offering tickets for sale on the day for a price triple than the original. (Dailymail, 2010) This is a good example of the conflict that arises between both internal and external stakeholder groups as the media here reflects a story and creates a bad PR for the both organizers of the event and EJAF foundation. It also poses a conflict between EJAF and the attendees. When public relations are not maintained well it can be very damaging for the image of the foundation and the outcome of the event. The event can also suffer in upcoming years as can loose its exclusivity in the eyes of the public.
Another example of a conflict that has arisen between stakeholder groups was between the event organizers and the local council. After securing a deal with the sponsors JCT Newcastle to have a white Bentley and Porsche as auction items, where guests can bid to have them for a weekend in the country, the organizers had to contact the Council to secure permission for the cars to be put on display in public space during the party. They were refused the use of public space unless they pay a very high fee to the council. This is a charity event and all funds are meant to go for the cause so the idea was dropped. (The Journal, 2010) This conflict could have been avoided if there was effective communication and clarity between the event organizers and the local council from the beginning. A representative from the council stated that if organizers had contacted the council earlier and clearly stated the space was going to be used for charity, circumstances would have been different. (The Journal, 2010) This incident clearly shows the importance of the relation between government, organizers and employees and their correlation with EJAF and the special interest groups (HIV/AIDS affected communities). The argument is that if the organizers had addressed the issue to the employees in charge of dealing with that aspect of the event, the local council could have considered the situation in a different way and the foundation could have used the luxury vehicles for the auction. Additionally more funds would have been generated in support of the special interest groups and the fight against the deadly disease. This poses a conflict between all the above mentioned stakeholders in terms of both social and economic perspective.
The White Tie and Tiara Ball is a private event held in the home of Sir Elton John. The evening takes place in the gardens of his mansion, which is a privately owned land. There are marquees built specifically for the event and all the equipment is hired, so this could pose an environmental concern and a potential clash of interest between the organizers, the local council, environmentalists and residents of Windsor. Some of the conflicts in that specific case study could be viewed from the point that equipment for the event travels from different parts of the country and this increases the carbon footprint. Another point is pollution, congestion and noise disturbance. Being an exclusive event catering for celebrities and very high profile guests, the hosts are always trying to impress with unusual themes and decor. In 2010 the theme was Gaga in Wonderland. Bearing in mind that Lady Gaga is famous for her outrageous style, so was the decor of the party. On arrival guests were greeted by hanging bodies from the trees and the grounds were resounded with screams coming from everywhere. (OK, 2010)This could be a conflict between the event organizers and the residents of Windsor, because of the noise disturbance. It can also be viewed as an anti social behavior bearing in mind the evening starts in the late afternoon when children could hear the noise and get seriously disturbed. In addition, traffic in the area is majorly increased on the day of the event, which could cause congestion and agitate the residents as well as infuriate environmentalists. It is a celebrity event and most of the guests are arriving in separate vehicles, which could be a concern for environmentally cautious groups because of the increase of CO2 emissions for one evening. As a solution and prevention of potential conflict guests could be encouraged by organizers to arrive in groups and/or special buses could be used for their transportation. Additionally in order for the event to be sustainable, the use of non-renewable resources should be minimized, the waste management should be tackled appropriately and recycling is obligatory.

The Triple Bottom Line is not a precise measurement tool but a way of thinking and understanding a company??™s performance, where financial, social and environmental outcomes are mutually dependent.
Reporting and evaluating the white Tie and Tiara Balls??™ TBL widens the basis of understanding the charities??™ overall performance and shifts the focus from potentially short-term financial aspects, to include longer-term social, environmental and financial impacts as it is an ongoing charity organisation which hosts an annual event.
At present events take a big part of peoples??™ social life and the industry is vastly growing bigger as events are used for a variety of purposes. In the particular case study The White Tie and Tiara Ball is used as a platform for addressing concerning issues and help supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS. The Event is a high-light of the summer social calendar and the number of guests is increasing every year, posing a challenge to the organizers??™ to justify all stakeholders??™ expectations and maximize positive outcomes in all bottom lines. Using the TBL approach as a measuring and managing framework can help the organizer to shape more inclusive and holistic thinking around sustainable futures.

Using the Triple Bottom Line approach could also assist in strategic event planning that illustrates the transformation from a standard approach to a new way of management. That way it can increase the charity??™s accountability, develop awareness of the exchange between or relative importance of, the three TBL aspects in relation to the event as well as engage the stakeholders in the planning process of a more sustainable future. Event managers can also design a performance evaluation process on the basis of the TBL and promote a continuous improvement process that aligns strategic planning with actual performance and positive outcomes.

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1. Elkington, J., (1997) Capstone

?????™Canibals with Forks: the Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business??™??™

2. Allen, J, et al (2005) Wiley and Sons, 3rd Edition

?????™Festival and Special event Management??™??™

3. Bowden, A, Malcolm, L,? J, Martin, J.2001

?????™Triple Bottom Line Risk Management??™??™

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?????™Events Design and Experience??™??™

5. Masterman, G and Wood, E , (2006) Elsevier, Event Management Series

?????™Innovative Marketing Communications: Strategies for the Events Industry??™??™

6. Goldblatt , J, (2005) Wiley and Sons, 4th Edition

?????™Special Events: Event Leadership for a New World??™??™


1. Jupp, A (2010)


The Journal,? June 12, 2010

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June 24, 2010

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2. Getz,D. , Andersson, T. and Larson, M. (2007)

?????™Festival Stakeholder Roles? : Concepts and Case Studies??™??™

Event Management, vol 10, pp.103-122

3. Hede (2007)

?????™Managing Special Events in the New Era of the triple Bottom Line??™??™

Event Management, Vol.11 pp13-22

4. Spiropolous, S, Gargalianos, D, Sotiriadou, K (2006)
?????™The 20th Greek Festival of Sydney: a Stakeholder analysis??™??™
Event Management, Vol. 9, pp 169-183
Media Outlets:
1. Moody, M (2010)
?????™The World Famous White Tie and Tiara Ball: Welcome to Gaga in Wonderland??™??™
OK Magazine UK, Issue 732 pp 41-69

2. Johnson, A and Parr, A (2010)

?????™I lost ?40,000 on Eltons ball tickets: One desperate guest found, to his cost, theres a roaring trade in invitations??™??™

Last updated at 1:40 AM on 27th June 2010
Daily Mail online (2010)
Available at:
Last Accessed: 19/11/2010

Online Resources: (2010)
The White Tie and Tiara Ball
Available at:
About Elton John??™s Aids Foundation
Available at:
Last Accessed:

2. (2010)

?????™BS 8901? Sustainability Management Systems for Events??™??™

Available at:
Last Accessed:
Appendix 1
The TBL Approach