Denver Earns Coveted Sustainability Recognition

Skift Take

Visit Denver is the first destination organization to achieve the Event Industry Council’s highest Sustainability Event Standards ranking. This certification is intended to cast those who just greenwash aside and spotlight those doing the work.

Visit Denver has achieved the platinum level of global environmental and social responsibility standards from the Events Industry Council (EIC). This is the highest ranking possible verified by a third-party auditor.

The achievement spotlights Visit Denver’s commitment to sustainability. It’s a powerful brand message to attract environmentally conscious groups, sponsors, registrants, and speakers.

Committed to Sustainability

“Visit Denver should be recognized and applauded for their commitment to developing a sustainable destination. And for embracing transparency and accountability by voluntarily subjecting their organization to a rigorous third-party review,” says Richard Murphy, president of the Alliance for Audited Media.

BPA iCompli Sustainability, an Alliance for Audited Media brand, is a nonprofit international auditing organization that developed the certification protocols. It also performed the independent third-party certification of Visit Denver’s compliance with the destination standard.

“Sustainability is such a broad topic that can quickly increase in size and scope and become unmanageable and unmeasurable. The EIC, with the help of their engaged and informed supporters, has created a well-defined program to help the events industry positively impact the environment within their circle of influence,” says Murphy.

Visit Denver shared the recognition with the City and County of Denver and their utility partners, including Denver Water and Xcel Energy.

Stringent Criteria

Over 300 subject matter experts from all sectors of the events industry contributed to the EIC Sustainable Event Standards (EIC SES). The EIC encourages planners to use the standards as a guideline for their events and partner with certified companies.

The EIC SES certification requirements include 74 standards. They focus on organizational management, marketing, communications and engagement, climate action, water management, materials and circularity, supply chain management, diversity, equity and inclusion, accessibility, and social impact. To earn platinum, a score of 90% or higher is needed. Bronze is given for earning 50 percent of points. Silver 65 percent and gold 80 percent.

“More people in the meeting ecosystem are seeking and choosing sustainable destinations, venues, and partners. The EIC SES certification is a great way to communicate and demonstrate your organization’s commitment to sustainable solutions,” says Murphy.

A sustainability page on Visit Denver’s website provides online tools for meeting and event planners. It includes hotel sustainability reports, event and travel carbon calculators, a voluntourism page, and a green vendor directory. Additionally, the city’s airport and Gold LEED-certified convention center have sustainability as a focus.

An e-bike program helps reduce pollution and has committed millions of dollars to building out its electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The Denver Community Tree Planting Initiative focuses on expanding the city’s urban tree canopy.

Important Recognition

“This is a milestone achievement for Visit Denver and all of us working to make Denver the sustainable destination of choice for convention planners,” says Richard W. Scharf, president and CEO of Visit Denver. “It is a great honor to be the first to earn such a vitally important certification while making a significant contribution toward our city’s long-term vision for sustainability.”

Sustainability has been a focus in Denver for decades. Visit Denver was the first destination in the world to certify to APEX/ASTM Sustainable Event Standards, a predecessor to the EIC SES certification. It achieved level one certification in 2013 and level two in 2015.