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EIC Unveils Sustainability Certificate Program

June 4, 2021
Sustainable meetings graphic

The Events Industry Council (EIC) launched a Sustainable Event Professional Certificate program (SEPC) that is eligible for CMP CEU credits. The certificate provides instruction via 16 course modules regarding topics related to sustainability, social impact and event management. 

The course will be offered both online and in person, and in total would offer half of the CEU credits needed to gain or recertify a CMP designation, according to the EIC.

Amy Calvert, CEO, Events Industry Council
Amy Calvert
 

“In early 2020 at the start of the pandemic, EIC hosted a webinar on sustainable event practices and had very strong participation and engagement. It confirmed what we already knew—within the global business events industry, there is true passion and long-term commitment to the sustainability journey,” said Amy Calvert, CEO of EIC. “We realized we needed to adapt and innovate to bring this course to business events professionals so they understand how to begin this journey.” 

EIC said the program’s content will align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and offer the following modules: 

  • Sustainability in Events 
  • Sustainability Frameworks 
  • Sustainable Event Planning  
  • Carbon Emissions  
  • Food and Beverage 
  • Materials Resource Management 
  • Exhibitions  
  • Social Impact and Community Service 
  • Diversity Equity and Inclusion 
  • Accessible Events  
  • Human Trafficking  
  • Supply Chain Management  
  • Measurement and Reporting  
  • Marketing Communication and PR 
  • Business Case 

EIC said the overarching purpose of the SEPC is to reinforce the business value of sustainability, improve the environmental performance of meetings and events, and create effective methods for achieving corporate social impact goals.

Related: MeetGreen CDC Guidelines vs. Sustainabiliy Infographic

“This course serves as a way for any professional regardless of where they reside or who they work for to have in-depth knowledge and resources at their fingertips to fuel meaningful change throughout the industry and to build back a stronger, more resilient industry,” Calvert said.  

Yaimaz Sizziqui, MGM Resorts International
Yalmaz Siddiqui
 

The effort is also being managed by longtime meetings and events sustainability expert Mariela McIlwraith, vice president of sustainability and industry advancement for EIC, and Yalmaz Siddiqui, vice president, corporate sustainability, for MGM Resorts International. 

Siddiqui said the course is intended for either event professionals or sustainability professionals and could be considered a companion to the CMP program. Siddiqui said that because the work of event professionals can especially impact overall corporate sustainability efforts, they are a key constituency to reach to make sure a solid sustainability and social impact foundation is incorporated into the core design of events.  

Although the course will be offered online, giving participants the ability to access and complete the material at their own pace, McIlwraith emphasized that the program will also be available via in-person training. 

“Right now, given the restrictions in place, many people will opt for the online training,” she said. “We are definitely planning in-person training. I don’t think any of us will be able to replace the in-person experience with online.” 

Mariela McIlwraith, vice president of sustainability and industry advancement for EIC
Mariela McIlwraith
 

The cost of the program is $495, which includes access to the full online course and workbook, an SEPC digital badge that can be used on social media channels, and 12 CEU credits. EIC said discounts will be extended for a limited time to individuals who currently hold the Sustainable Event Professional Certificate or who have been adversely affected by COVID-19. Organizational discounts, licensing agreements and non-accredited versions will also be available. 

How Relevant Is Sustainability in the Pandemic Era? 

While many issues in the meetings and events industry such as sustainability have seemingly taken a back seat because of the widespread disruption and job losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the leaders of the SEPC effort contend that the time is right to redouble industry efforts in the area of sustainability and social justice. 

“The opposite happened,” Siddiqui said about perceptions that issues such as sustainability have receded during the pandemic. “Organizations made more ambitious efforts toward sustainability matters, social justice matters. During COVID…companies that have looked at that are performing better in general. I think, in fact, it’s going to accelerate the interest—health and safety as part of sustainability. During COVID we advanced sustainability because we focused on safety and when we return, we will advance that more.” 

Calvert echoed Siddiqui’s assertions about the relevance of the certification program. 

“It’s a point of not losing sight of the learnings that we’ve had, and that when we commit to those things, we’re at a point where we offer inspiration and offer a service to our constituents,” she said. “It is about people, planet and prosperity.” 

Full details about the SEPC can be found here: www.eventscouncil.org/Sustainability/SEPC. 

Read Next: An Earth Day Sustainability Checklist for Green Venues

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About the author
Tyler Davidson | Editor, Vice President & Chief Content Director

Tyler Davidson has covered the travel trade for nearly 30 years. In his current role with Meetings Today, Tyler leads the editorial team on its mission to provide the best meetings content in the industry.