Green Strides: SCS Global Services and Freeman Take Progressive Steps Toward a More Sustainable Events Industry

August 25, 2022

As climate change increasingly becomes an undeniable reality across the globe, certain entities within the trade show and events industry are beginning to take the lead toward a less wasteful and more sustainable future. Here are two leading organizations working to lessen the industry’s environmental impact.

SCS Global Services 

SCS Global Services (SCS), a global leader in third-party environmental and sustainability verification, certification, auditing, testing and standards development, recently launched Zero Waste for Events, its newest Zero Waste Standard. 

Designed to recognize municipal solid waste volumes diverted from landfills at individual events, the new certification provides third-party assurance that waste elements have been diverted using any of the following methods: reuse, reclamation, recycling, composting, sale/donation and waste-to-energy.

“With the development of the Zero Waste Events Standard, we are serving a niche that needed to be addressedrecognizing the special efforts event planners and organizers take to reduce the environmental impact of their events,” explained Inna Kitaychik, operations manager for the SCS Zero Waste Program.  

She continued, “Consistent with our Zero Waste Standards for facilities and projects, the goal here is to enable organizations to showcase their commitments and successes in diverting wastes generated at conferences, concerts, fairs and festivals.”

Under the SCS Zero Waste Events Standard: 

  • Events demonstrating at least 75% waste diversion can be recognized through certification;
  • Events achieving 99% waste diversion can make a certified “Zero Waste Event” claim;
  • Events achieving below 99% will have their exact diversion stated on the certificate (for example, “Event Achieved 85% Waste Diversion from Landfill.”).

“This employs the same approach as our umbrella Zero Waste Standard,” said Stanley Mathuram, executive vice president of SCS, which was founded in 1984 and offers programs spanning a cross-section of industries.  

He added, “The various levels that companies can be certified under provides them with opportunities to acknowledge their waste diversion journey, while ultimately targeting the 99% goal.”

In addition to recognizing event-generated waste diversion efforts, the standard encourages increased visibility into the downstream flow of wastes leaving the event. By identifying where the material flows, event managers can potentially claim higher diversion rates. 

According to SCS officials, the organization’s Zero Waste Events Certification is both business-practical and environmentally rigorous, and benefits businesses by delivering a cost-effective, respected and well-supported third-party certification. By tracking the progress of their waste diversion and minimization achievements, companies can communicate their dedication to meeting their environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals to the public.

To learn more about SCS’ Zero Waste Events Certification, go here.

Learn more about SCS’ additional certification programs, Zero Waste Facility Certification and Zero Waste Project Certification, go here and here.


In conjunction with the release of its annual Sustainable Development Report, which tracks its 2021 environmental impact, global events leader Freeman announced that it is aligning its environmental and DEI programs and initiatives with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs). 

Adopted by the UN in late 2015, these 17 interconnected social, economic and environmental goals seek to overcome the challenges to global sustainable development.

“When it comes to sustainability, we knew we had to return better than before and with a broader focus on measuring our impact,” said Bob Priest-Heck, CEO of Freeman. “As an event supplier, we have a responsibility to the event organizers, the venues and our customers, and we know our efforts and positive impact are amplified when we work together. This is why we are committed to working on sustainability both internally as well as collaborating with the industry and all those we impact.”

According to Freeman officials, while the company believes in the importance of every SDG, as together they form an incredibly ambitious plan for a better world, Freeman plans to focus on the following eight SDGs where it can have the biggest impact within the events industry: 

No. 3: Good health and well-being

No. 5: Gender equality

No. 7: Reduced inequalities

No. 9: Affordable and clean energy

No. 10: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

No. 12: Responsible consumption and production

No. 13: Climate action

No. 17: Partnerships for the goals

Freeman was not only the first event production agency to earn both the ISO 14001 and ISO 20121 certifications, which help to guide and measure its actions and approach to sustainability, but also one of the first event companies to sign the Net Carbon Zero Events pledge.

“Because our values guide our actions with our people, our communities and our planet, we are aligning to the UN’s SDGs so others can see our adoption and commitment to a better world and future, and also to inspire them to join us in tackling these great challenges,” Priest-Heck added.

View and download Freeman’s 2021 Sustainable Development Report here.

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