Events Industry Council Makes Sustainability Education More Accessible for Event Professionals

August 2, 2021

The Events Industry Council (EIC) recently launched an interactive, self-paced online version of its in-person Sustainable Event Professional Certificate Program (SEPC), putting educational opportunities within easier reach for event planners, suppliers and sustainability professionals seeking to improve the environmental performance of their events and services.

Developed by a globally diverse group of business events industry leaders and experts in sustainability, social impact and event management, the course covers 16 modules that include understanding the business value of sustainability, improving the environmental performance of meetings and events, and effective methods for achieving corporate social impact goals.

“As the industry that, at its core, fosters human connections driving both measurable economic and social impact, we have a remarkable opportunity to champion the notion of people, planet and prosperity,” said Amy Calvert, CEO of EIC. “By committing to the journey of creating events that reflect these core values, we ensure a relevant and resilient future. This program will inspire and equip professionals with the knowledge and tools they need to produce events that align with their organizational values and with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

To earn the SEPC, event professionals must complete 16 online course modules covering a variety of topics related to sustainability, social impact and event management. They include: 

  • 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

The program’s social impact area has also been expanded to include additional content on accessible events and diversity, equity and inclusion, according to EIC officials.  

But with the majority of the industry focused on recovery and restarting live events following a financially devastating year, how can the events industry make the case for prioritizing the kinds of sustainable practices featured in the EIC program?

“A focus on sustainability and social impact will be essential for building back better [and] this is the time to focus on our industry’s long-term future through practices that are more sustainable, equitable and resilient,” explained Mariela McIlwraith, vice president of sustainability and industry advancement for EIC. “One of the guidance documents developed by EIC’s APEX COVID-19 Business Recovery Task Force, our Principles for Recovery, align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals for this reason.”

So far, approximately 500 event professionals have participated in the SEPC program, including Angie Ahrens, senior manager of global events for Infor and chair of EIC’s Knowledge Committee. Although she’s been planning sustainable events for many years, Ahrens said she recently took the course to further hone her skills while staying abreast of how the overall sustainability landscape is shifting and accelerating.

“I knew I needed to continue to learn and develop in all the ways that sustainability is changing and growing for us as industry professionals,” Ahrens said. “I also really wanted to look at the sourcing elements to be more aware of the social impact that sustainability covers, because we all know sustainability isn’t just about being green.” 

She continued, “During and after the program I was able to take a microscope to my program and really see…where the low-hanging fruit was and what I was missing. Now I can just grow on that experience and really make more sustainable efforts moving forward that impact the triple bottom line: how we impact socially, environmentally and of course, fiscally.”

The course fee of $495 USD fee includes access to the full online course and workbook, a SEPC digital badge and 12 CEs. Event professionals who earn the Sustainable Event Professional Certificate also receive 12 hours of Continuing Education (CE) credits toward their CMP application or recertification. 

In its commitment to supporting the events community as it continues to navigate the impact of COVID-19, EIC is offering a $50 USD discount on all SEPC program pricing through December 31, 2021. Participants can use code SEPC50 during the check-out process to take advantage of this discount.


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