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BSI revises guidance to enhance sustainability in events industry

Updated guidance has been published by national standards body, BSI, to help the events industry to embed sustainable practices and address emerging challenges across climate change, supply chain and social impact.

The new guidance has been published more than a decade after the original framework was released ahead of its use for the London Olympics and Paralympics in 2012.

‘Event sustainability management systems – Requirements with guidance for use (BS ISO 20121:2024)’ provides a robust framework for sustainable event management. It is designed to ensure occasions ranging from COP climate conferences to sporting fixtures are conducted with a consideration for sustainability at every step to ensure negative impacts are minimised and positive impacts are maximised.

Revisions to the standard have been made to address emerging issues on climate change, legacy, supply chain measures and human and child rights areas. These include:

  • An increased focus on the supply chain demonstrating sustainability.
  • Requirements to consider the impact of specific issues including climate change when considering the context of the organisation.
  • An extended list of issues which can be identified and evaluated including human and child rights and social impacts.
  • Additional examples of interested parties to be engaged with, including partners and sponsors.
  • New commitments including reporting on achievements, lessons learnt and, where appropriate, legacy.

BSI says it has published these revisions to reflect the evolving development and importance of key considerations such as reducing carbon emissions, promoting fair labour practices, and ensuring ethical sourcing throughout the supply chain. The updated standard, which includes hybrid and virtual events, also aligns with global sustainability frameworks, goals & reporting standards such as the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals, Race to Zero and The Paris Agreement on Climate Change 2015, making it more relevant to the customer demands being faced by the event sector.

Since its initial launch the standard has provided a framework for organisations to manage the social, economic, and environmental impacts of their events and to improve their sustainability performance and transparency. The updated version aims to support the events sector to take best practice action to meet growing business, government, and consumer sustainability expectations.

A further focus is to make the standard more user friendly for SMEs that make up the majority of the event supply chain. BSI’s 2023 Net Zero Barometer report where nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of SMEs cited the cost-of-living crisis as the biggest inhibiting factor and 33 per cent cited their supply chain as a major obstacle on the path to decarbonization.

Anne Hayes, Director of Sectors, BSI, said: “We are at a decisive moment for the world’s sustainability journey. Partnering across society to respond is crucial. The events industry has a significant role to play in a number of key areas across climate change, social impact and supply chain.

“Since its launch more than a decade ago, this guidance has helped embed meaningful change in how events of all shapes and sizes are delivered. The latest revisions take into account industry feedback and change to drive greater levels of ambition and embed more advanced measures, in order to accelerate progress towards a fair society and a sustainable world.”

Navigating FM efforts to sustainability 

As environmental protection demands unified action, transparency, and heightened awareness, Biological Preparations has launched an initiative to catalyse sustainability efforts within the FM sector.

FM businesses face unique challenges and heightened expectations of eco-initiatives from their clients. Yet, behind the scenes in FM businesses, many environmental initiatives, rollouts and even planning, are not broadcasted and transparent.

Have your say: Sustainability Trends in FM 

The UK biotech company’s five-minute, anonymous FM-focused survey, offers FM professionals of all hierarchies with a platform to voice their perspectives and share their experiences. The results from this survey will then be analysed and presented as an industry-specific report, which aims to guide FM businesses helping them benchmark trends, gain clarity on industry challenges, and map out goals and metrics towards sustainability.

To share your experiences, please click here.



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