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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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.