Sustainable Event Standard

The Parliamentary Information Office of the Parliamentary Yearbook is currently gathering news items for major features on the impact of the London Olympics for publication in the next edition

London 2012 has contributed to the development of a new global sustainability standard that helps event organisers reduce carbon emissions and waste, manage the biodiversity of venues and achieve a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Launched this month, in response to a global demand, ISO 20121, the international standard on sustainability in event management will potentially be part of a very influential global legacy.

The standard, developed by co-opted experts from 30 countries, provides a common international language for sustainability in the events industry and a practical benchmarking tool. It takes a management systems approach for running more sustainable events, which should lead to improvements in key sustainability issues such as venue selection, transport, recycling or reusing demolition waste, creating a sustainable food strategy, promoting healthy living and creating skills, employment and business legacies.

ISO 20121 is a sustainability standard created for the international event industry, by the event industry.

Since 2010, over 30 countries (including UK, North America, Japan and Sweden) have been involved in the creation of a standard based on BS 8901, the British standard for event sustainability.

Chaired by UK based Fiona Pelham from Sustainable Events Ltd, this standard is likely to change how the event industry considers their social, economic and environmental impacts. ISO 20121 is suitable for all sizes and types of events, or members of the event industry supply chain.

London 2012 has been a vital catalyst for the creation of ISO 20121 and, along with a number of their supply chain, they are committed to the immediate implementation of ISO 20121 as a demonstration of best practice in action.

In 2011, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) became the first Organising Committee to be independently certified to the British Standard 8901: Specification for a Sustainability Management System for Events. ISO 20121 was developed following the success of BS 8901.

LOCOG and the Olympic Delivery Authority have both successfully implemented ISO 20121 making London 2012 one of the first to adopt the standard. Other early adopters include Coca-Cola and Games venues Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy and Earls Court.

David Stubbs, Head of Sustainability at LOCOG, said:

“London 2012 is proud to have been the catalyst for ISO 20121. This is a piece of legacy with the potential to transform how events around the world consider their economic, environmental and social impacts.”

Howard Kerr, Chief Executive of BSI, said:

“Over the next few years as sustainability becomes an inherent factor in all businesses, this standard will provide the event industry with an opportunity to lead. We hope that future initiatives, small or large, will be inspired by the good work started by LOCOG in partnership with BSI in this important area of sustainability”.

ISO 20121:2012 specifies requirements for an event sustainability management system for any type of event or event-related activity, and provides guidance on conforming to those requirements.

ISO 20121:2012 is applicable to any organisation that wishes to:

  • establish, implement, maintain and improve an event sustainability management system
  • ensure that it is in conformity with its stated sustainable development policy
  • demonstrate voluntary conformity with ISO 20121:2012 by
    •  first party (self-determination and self-declaration)
    • second party (confirmation of conformance by parties having an interest in the organisation, such as clients, or by other persons on their behalf)
    •  an independent third party (e.g. a certification body)
  • ISO 20121:2012 has been designed to address the management of improved sustainability throughout the entire event management cycle.

ISO 20121:2012 was developed by ISO project committee, ISO/PC 250, Sustainability in event management. It is available from ISO national member institutes. It may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat, price 146 Swiss francs through the ISO Store.

The Parliamentary Information Office of the Parliamentary Year book will continue to report on the lasting legacy of the London Olympics as we go through the months ahead.


About Parliamentary Yearbook

The Parliamentary Yearbook is a division of Blakes Media who have been publishing the definitive Parliamentary Yearbook for over 40 years; this has also been a successful on-line resource for many years. The Parliamentary Yearbook has three distinct functions: (i) To provide information on topical political, social and business issues to clients of the Parliamentary Yearbook and to members of the public, (ii) To carry out research into such aspects of public and business life that may be of interest to a wider audience for inclusion in reports and features within the Parliamentary Yearbook, and (iii) To assess the value of the publication to the potential readership in specific market sectors and ensure that the publication reaches the best possible target audience. If we can provide assistance to you please do not hesitate to contact the Parliamentary Yearbook.
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