In 2022, the Events Industry Council launched the Sustainable Event Professional Certificate online course, aimed at meeting planners and suppliers interested in improving the sustainability and social-impact efforts of their organizations and the business events they organize.
Over the past year, a handful of employees at Maritz Global Events, Fenton, Mo., had earned their SEPC. However, during the company’s Activate conference in August, participation went to a whole new level.
Activate brought 274 Maritz team members and 377 supplier partners to Phoenix for education and networking; for 48 of those Maritz employees, a big focus was the sustainability course. For the first time, EIC conducted it in a hybrid format, with the chief sustainability officer for the EIC Center for Sustainability and Social Impact, Mariela Bazán, traveling to Phoenix for the event.
The SEPC is comprised of a 16-module program with a capstone project, educating participants on international sustainable event standards and measurement, reporting methodologies, sustainable event design, effective community service projects, low-carbon menus, sustainable gifting, planning for diversity and inclusion, and more. At Activate, SEPC participants spent four hours on course work and were able to complete the required capstone project in person with their team members.
“It was the first time that this course has been offered as a hybrid program, allowing the team to benefit from in-person knowledge sharing and blending it with the online course,” said Bazán. “Their team was incredibly enthusiastic and engaged and shared so many relevant stories about how they are creating more sustainable events. I'm excited to see the results of the course as the practices are implemented in their operations.”
Rachael Riggs, CMP, DES, SEPC, general manager, environmental strategy, at Maritz, says initiating a live element to the course was important for the event company. “We are not shy about asking others to think differently—and look what has transpired. This is the kind of innovation can inspire change … By doing this course at Activate, our team found an immediate cohort of shared passionate teammates, and we look forward to working with all our SEPCs to advance the Maritz environmental strategy.”
Once the 48 finish the online portion of the course, Maritz will have close to 60 people who have earned the sustainability certification.