Input Sought on Sustainable Event Standards

Author: Cristi Kempf       

Event organizers have until July 17 to provide input on the draft of new Events Industry Council [EIC] Sustainable Event Standards.

The standards, and six separate but complementary standards for suppliers, are expected to be in place by year’s end. Commentary on the supplier standards ended in April. But drafts of those standards, which cover sectors ranging from accommodations to food and beverage, can still be viewed on the EIC website.

“We encourage everyone in the industry to jump in with thoughts, comments, and questions,” Chance Thompson, chair of the EIC Events Standards Committee, said in a statement when the drafts were released. “The ultimate goal is for our industry to use these standards to make events more sustainable, which will help build a better future.”

The new global guidelines will replace the APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standards. Mariela McIlwraith, CMP, EIC’s director of industry advancement, told Convene that EIC is taking the standards back under its wing with the goal of simplifying and clarifying them while maintaining their rigor.

“We would regularly hear that people want to be sustainable, but don’t know what that means,” McIlwraith said. “We are making sure [with the new standards] that global event professionals are prepared to deal with this.”

One proposed change is the creation of a point-based system, replacing the previous all-or-nothing compliance status and establishing bronze, silver, gold, and platinum tiers. The new standards, which seek to hold both suppliers and planners accountable for implementing sustainability measures, also aim to strengthen social responsibility efforts and recognize innovation. Each supplier/planner sector currently features eight categories, including waste, energy, and air quality, and water among them. Planners, for example, would win points for eliminating single-use bottles at their event.

Third-party verification is to be handled by BPA iCompli via a submission form with a registry providing planners and suppliers with a quick way to see who has achieved what status.

“Throughout the process of revising the [new] standards, we focused on making them globally relevant,” McIlwraith said in a statement, adding that “in addition to having volunteers from 15 different countries participating in the revisions, we designed the requirements to focus on environmental and social outcomes, rather than country-specific regulations and programs.

“Most importantly,” she said, “they have been streamlined with clear compliance levels that are actionable and trackable.”

To comment, go to the EIC Sustainable Event Standards Feedback Form.

Contact info@eventscouncil.org for more information.