Meeting Professional Continuing Education Includes Sustainability Certification

Meeting professionals are taking sustainability more seriously than ever before. Whether you’re incorporating sustainable measurements into your RFPs, tracking down low-carbon menus or combing through LEED-certified venues, you know you’re a green planner.

So, what’s next?

Look to Events Industry Council (EIC), a leader in event professional continuing education. Since 2022, they have offered the Sustainable Event Professional Certificate (SEPC). Participants learn about the business value of sustainability, effective methods to achieve social impact goals and how they can improve the environmental impacts of their meetings and events.

What is the SEPC?

The SEPC began as a fully online course of 16 modules. Throughout the program, participants use a digital workbook to customize a roadmap for their own sustainable event.

A globally diverse group of business event leaders and experts in sustainability, social impact and event management came together to develop the program. Participants earn 12 hours of Continuing Education credits (CEs) which they can apply towards their CMP application or recertification, or 12 CAE credits. The $495 program fee includes access to the workbook, an SEPC digital badge and 12 CEs.

Read More: Why CMPs Matter More Than Ever

The SEPC at Maritz

Sales and marketing services company Maritz partnered with EIC to launch the SEPC introductory course for 48 of its team members at its recent brand event, Activate. They brought in Chief Sustainability Officer for the EIC Center for Sustainability and Social Impact, Mariela Bazàn, to teach the course.

Maritz is a leader in the events industry’s sustainability efforts. As signatories of the Net Zero Carbon for Events initiative, they are committed to Net Zero by 2050. On June 30, 2023, they also committed to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a corporate roadmap to help guide them to their Net Zero by 2050 goal. Their team possesses a sustainable events checklist which they use in their work together and with partnered organizations such as EIC.

The SEPC class at Maritz
Maritz offered the Introductory SEPC course to 48 employees.

The Impacts of the Course

The SEPC course took on its first hybrid format at Activate. Bazàn says, “It was an honor to help Maritz add another 48 members to their sustainability bench…Their team was incredibly enthusiastic and engaged and shared so many relevant stories about how they are creating more sustainable events.”

Smart Woman winner and General Manager of Environmental Strategy at Maritz, Rachael Riggs, CMP, helped to initiate this program at Activate. “After I completed my SEPC, I shared with our leadership that it is a very worthwhile certification for our team,” she says. “Given that we are corporate members and serve in multiple EIC volunteer roles, we started the conversation with EIC about the need to educate our team and came up with the idea of a live education program at Activate.”

During the course, the Maritz participants discussed how the events industry contributes to carbon  emissions and how they can balance it during their events. The went over the distinction between carbon neutrality and Net Zero. They spoke about sustainable gifting options, low-carbon menu designs and DEI in their speakers and attendees. They also discussed how they can make events sustainable for attendees of all abilities and how they can make a positive impact in the communities where they hold events.

Read More: Seeking Sustainable Venues

Brian Strickland, Director of Sales and Account Management for Live Events at Maritz, was one of the participants in the program at Activate. “While I knew sustainability was important to many of my customers, I wasn’t sure how to start the conversation,” he says. “The SEPC class and certification has given me the confidence and vocabulary to now open conversations with my customers and co-workers about sustainability efforts they are putting in place to meet their own goals or those of their clients.”

How you can earn the SEPC, too (and why, if you aren’t convinced already)

The SEPC course at Martiz Activate
The SEPC course being taught at Maritz Activate.

The SEPC online course modules are made up of four main topics: Introduction to Sustainability and Social Impact, Event Logistics, Social Impact and Business Operations. Beyond learning how to design more sustainable events, participants learn how to communicate the business value of sustainability. They develop effective community service projects and gain familiarity with international sustainable event standards, measurements and reporting methods.

Riggs says, “It is more than just ‘greening’ a meeting. It includes education around social responsibility and inclusivity.”

Strickland shares, “This was a great class for me both professionally and personally. It has made me a more conscientious human.”

If you’re in the process of earning your CMP, or you’re a CMP approaching your recertification, there’s no better way to learn about how to accelerate sustainability and social impact in your organization and events. The SEPC program provides the knowledge and tools you need to build sustainable and impactful events, and as professionals committed to your continuing education, as you know, there’s always more opportunities to learn and grow.

Read More: Green Meeting Resource Guide