Clearing the Air: Expert Insights on the SEC Climate Rule and Attendees’ Evolving Perceptions

Sustainable event strategist Marley Finnegan sheds light on emissions and the SEC’s proposed climate risk disclosure rule

Momentum around sustainability continues to build, as consumers, particularly millennials and Gen Z, are paying close attention to values-based brand actions now more than ever. While organizations are taking environmental considerations to heart in their decisions, missions and events, there may still be a disconnect and some tentativeness as they navigate today’s—as well as tomorrow’s—sustainability space.

“By definition, sustainability means to meet our current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” says Marley Finnegan, founder of Purpose Sustainability Strategy and Purpose Net Zero, two sustainability-focused event consultancies. “Seventy percent of Gen Z and millennials believe that brands should have a purpose that they personally believe in, so statistically, these numbers show a very serious need to align your brand integrity with eco-conscious action. I think the methodology of how an event is created, designed and produced is something that attendees are evolving their perceptions around.”

2021-cleanup-thomas-breads-teaserMore Eco-Friendly Tactics:

Marley Finnegan 1 - Credit Marley Finnegan_SEC climate rule

Marley Finnegan, founder of Purpose Sustainability Strategy and Purpose Net Zero

A GRI Certified Sustainability Professional and Certified Sustainable Event Professional by the Events Industry Council, Finnegan consults with corporate events teams and vendors on how to best tackle sustainability at scale within their events and operations.

“I would suggest that all marketers and business professionals get familiar with emissions and their different scopes: 1, 2 and 3,” she says. “Events fall entirely into the category of scope 3 emissions, except for if it’s an events business measuring its own business-related emissions, which then encompass scopes 1 and 2.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines Scope 1 emissions as direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that occur from sources controlled or owned by an organization, while scope 2 emissions are indirect GHG emissions associated with the purchase of electricity, steam, heat or cooling. Scope 3 emissions are the result of activities from assets not owned or controlled by the reporting company, but that the organization indirectly impacts in its value chain.

In March, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed a new rule that would enhance and standardize the climate-related disclosures provided by public companies in their registration statements and periodic reports. If adopted, a public company would be required to provide detailed information of its climate-related risks that are reasonably likely to have a material impact on its business, results of operations or financial condition. These include governance of climate-related risks, GHG emissions, climate-related targets and goals, and transition plans. Scope 3 emissions, encompassing indirect emissions from supply chains, have become a contentious aspect of the proposed rule.

“In terms of what this means for events, event hosts are going to have to start requesting emissions info from venues, vendors and planners. Most event vendors are small businesses, so this is an area in which there could be a large learning curve,” says Finnegan. “Thankfully, there are more and more resources out there and being developed to be able to assist companies needing to measure their event footprints, as well as sustainability consultancies designed to help both vendors and the client side get up to speed on the ways in which they can innovate more sustainably.”

Since the rule’s proposal, the SEC has received thousands of comments and held more than 150 meetings with companies, trade associations and advocacy groups. A ruling is expected in 2023.

stock_mic_Podcast_headphonesLearn More on Event Peeps

To hear the full interview with sustainability expert Marley Finnegan, listen to the latest episode of Event Peeps, the podcast for creators of the brand experience, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and

This story appeared in the Winter 2022-23 issue

Receive the latest news and special announcements from Event Marketer


© 2024 Access Intelligence, LLC – All Rights Reserved. |