By Jane Ashworth, Events Manager

As part of our Fuel for Growth plan, we’re on the lookout for leaner and greener ways of thinking and behaving at Co-op. We want to take inefficiency out of our business, so we can invest more in the things that matter. Remember, every pound we spend internally, is a pound we don’t put into our prices, customer offer and communities!

I was part of the team that organised this year’s AGM, and just by thinking a little differently and making smarter choices, we managed to cut costs by around 42% compared to the year before. We started by preparing the budget from scratch and carefully considering if everything added in was entirely necessary and cost-effective. This helped us to identify loads of potential savings.

First, we reduced the amount of information we printed and posted. Instead, we signposted members to vote and access information online, which saved us a fortune on print and production costs. Secondly, on the day of the event, we re-used assets that we already owned, such as our ice cream van, tuk tuks, market stalls and some of the festoon lighting from festivals.

These simple solutions definitely gave our AGM a really homely and One Co-op feel, which our members seemed to love. And what’s more, they managed to save us over £700k across the entire project! It’s a great example that by taking the time to consider smarter options, the payoff can be huge.

There are simple ways that we can all make smarter choices, such as:

  • Avoiding costly external meeting venues and travel costs by using the rooms in our office buildings or by video/telephone conferencing. For large events of 100 or more, please contact for support
  • Using our meeting rooms efficiently. Only book rooms that meet your needs, and if your plans change, cancel the booking as soon as possible. Remember there’s a charge for cancelled or ‘no-show’ bookings in spaces such as the 1AS Auditorium and Annexe
  • Consider more informal low-key events, which are often the best way to engage people. Make use of our in-house audio-visual equipment. If you need audio-visual support in 1AS, contact



Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. That’s great Jane. Great example of continuous improvement and zero-based budgeting.

    If there was £700,000 to be saved there it makes me wonder how much there would be to be saved from other recurring events, like the annual leaders’ conference in January for example, or our festival pop-up shops… ..

    Let’s throw down the gauntlet to see what they can saved from every event.

    For the leaders’ conference :

    Do we really need an external consultant to come on as MC at the beginning for example?

    How much did it cost to ship in the delivery bikes as props – was that a justified expense?

  2. £700K saved?! That’s fabulous Jane, well done to you and the team!


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