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
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
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
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
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
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
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
o first party (self-determination and self-declaration)
o second party (confirmation of conformance by parties having an interest in the
organisation, such as clients, or by other persons on their behalf)
o 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
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.