Collaboration to Certification in Sustainability for Event Professionals Certification in Sustainability for Event Professionals - Fiona Pelham


This summer 17 event professionals achieved MPI and Positive Impact's certification as a Sustainable Event Practitioner. The largest certification class of Sustainable Event Practitioners yet, was only possible because of several collaborative efforts and in addition to being a wonderful education opportunity for event professionals it is a good case study on what makes a good collaboration.

The starting point for good collaboration is a shared objective. In this instance, the shared objective was clearly to provide education to create a sustainable event industry. Although the various partners had different priorities and viewpoints everyone was aligned on the importance of education for event professionals on how to deliver an event which makes a positive social, economic and environmental impact.

Once there is a shared objective the next step is identifying the optimal action. In 2014, Positive Impact developed a one day educational programme with Leeds Metropolitan University to provide event professionals with the business case for a sustainable event, training on global best practice frameworks and practical examples. In 2015, this educational programme evolved to become a certificate programme delivered in partnership with Meeting Professionals International. At a time when business' around the world are innovating to create sustainable products and the voice of millennial’s demanding evidence of sustainability is getting louder this certificate programme provides event professionals with what they need to excel.

The best collaborative efforts take place when consideration has been given to the time and place that the collaboration will happen. In May, the Sustainable Brands Conference was held at the Cabo Centre in Detroit and this provided an opportunity for the Sustainable Brands Conference to share their community and demonstrate leadership in creating an education track for event professionals. The Sustainable Brands community includes sustainability professionals from corporate companies around the world who gather to hear best practice examples, share learnings and take part in workshops. By providing a certificate programme delivered by world leaders in sustainable events and endorsed by the world's largest association of meeting professionals the Sustainable Brands community was given the opportunity to learn about how events could be used to meet business sustainability objectives. In addition to the MPI and Positive Impact Certificate Programme the Event Industry Council also provided panel sessions on topics including food waste and a back-stage venue tour.

"Your brand is the concept of what you are, what you do, and the way you do it. If you as a company claim that you take responsibility for the environment and act sustainably, while ignoring the fact that your meetings and events generate huge Quantities of waste, and do not depend on whether your subcontractors think green, you risk being perceived as unauthorized. And that's enormously devastating, "says KoAnn V. Skrzyniarz, founder and director of Sustainable Brands.

Collaboration is only possible when there is support available in terms of time and funding to ensure the right action is taken at the right time.  Carlson Rezidor and Radisson Blu sponsored the MPI and Positive Impact Certificate programme which meant 17 event planners received a certificate as a sustainable event practitioner and became part of an educated community who meet virtually every few months to share their experiences, challenges and best practices. The education content was tailored to reflect the leadership Carlson Rezidor shows in areas from water conservation to community engagement and how the company's brands strategically align with different aspects of sustainability

Collaboration is not always easy. Despite shared objectives, differing viewpoints and priorities can lead to confusion and misunderstandings. Ultimately the Positive Impact in the world caused by collaboration is greater than acting alone as this case study demonstrates.

For more information on:

MPI and PI sustainability practitioner certificate see

MPI see

Positive Impact see

Carlson Rezidor sustainability initiatives see

Sustainable Brands Conference see

Events Industry Council see