A crowd gathered, watching a man speak at a podium, with a Sustainable Events logo in the lower right corner.

Sustainable Events Certification

The McGill Sustainable Events certification program is an initiative from the Office of Sustainability that provides consultations, training, and resources to encourage and support more responsible events at McGill.

About the Sustainable Events Certification

The McGill Sustainable Events Certification program encourages environmentally responsible practices, promotes diversity of programming and participants, and increases accessibility by reducing barriers.

There are five levels of event certification, which even planners can earn by committing to various sustainability actions: 

  • Bronze: 50-75% of actions 
  • Silver: 75-90% of actions 
  • Gold: 90% + of actions 
  • Platinum: 95% + AND three of the five actions detailed in your event checklist 
  • Virtual: 80% + of actions 

McGill Sustainable Events Ambassadors help event planners raise awareness of sustainable best practices for event planners at McGill, including how to reduce material waste generated by events on campus. 

Get Sustainable Events Certification

  1. Download the Sustainable Events Checklist.
    • Did you know? The Sustainable Events Checklist is full of tips to help you in your sustainable event planning.
  2. Select your Sustainable Certification items and calculate your score to determine your level of certification.
  3. Email your checklist to events.sustainability [at] mcgill.ca at least 3-4 weeks prior to your event with the subject line: "Event Name_Date of Event". Be sure to indicate the event size in your email.
  4. Attend a consultation meeting with a Sustainable Events Ambassador to go over the plan for your event.
  5. Host your successfully certified event! Be sure to send photos of the sustainability features of your event so that the Office of Sustainability can celebrate with you via social media.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I participate?

Ensuring your event is as sustainable as possible will not only help divert unnecessary waste and energy use, but it will also help increase the number of people who feel comfortable/are able to attend your event and participate in the campus-wide movement toward a more sustainable culture at McGill.

What types of events can be certified?

If the event involves anything McGill, it can be certified! Events anywhere from hackathons, to conferences, to office parties have been successfully certified. Hybrid and virtual events are also eligible for certification. If you are hosting an event and are struggling with how you can incorporate sustainability contact us via email at events.sustainability [at] mcgill.ca with any of your questions.

Does it cost anything to get certified?

No! This service is offered freely to all members of the McGill community.

Does my event have to happen at McGill to be certified?

No! Most McGill- affiliated events can be certified regardless of where they are being held. If you are unsure, please send us an email at events.sustainability [at] mcgill.ca so we can evaluate how we can best help you.

I don’t think my event can be very sustainable, is it still worth looking into?

Yes! The most unsustainable events are the ones that offer the greatest possibilities for improvement and are worth discussing. Our consultants are not there to judge you, but to assist you in making your event more accessible and inclusive and reducing its environmental footprint. 

If you think your event will be outstandingly sustainable, the certification might be a great way to highlight your work, benchmark your efforts, and keep aiming higher. We are also always open to learning more and would be happy to know which initiatives you have taken over the years. The certification may also be a great way to encourage other connected events to get certified. 

How was the certification checklist developed?

The program was launched in 2017 and is managed by the Office of Sustainability with the support of student interns and volunteers.  

When developing the checklist, the Office of Sustainability consulted the Quebec Council for Eco-Friendly Events, which provided us with tools to develop the program criteria. McGill has since received the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Campus Sustainability Award for its sustainability engagement programs – including this certification. It was also a finalist at les Vivats, a Quebec competition for eco-responsible events.  

The Office of Sustainability has also consulted internally with various McGill groups such as the School of Human Nutrition and the Buildings and Grounds Unit. Finally, the checklist continues to be updated as needed, taking into account the comments of event organizers.


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