Sustainability in event management proposed new international Standard

The International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) is considering developing a new international Standard on Sustainability in event management, with the aim to establish, implement, maintain, and improve a sustainability management system for events.

The Standard would be particularly beneficial to countries when submitting competitive bids to host large international events, and may become a future benchmark for how such bids are assessed.

Standards New Zealand is seeking advice on whether New Zealand thinks this work is feasible and should go ahead, and if so whether New Zealand would like to participate actively in the development of the work at least by commenting on working drafts. The ISO New Work Item Proposal ballot closes 25 August 2009. If there is interest, and the ballot succeeds, we may initiate a New Zealand review group to provide a balanced view to this work.

For more information, or to submit comments, please contact Angela Henderson, Business Development Manager: or call 04 498 3981.

More about the Standard

The event management industry has huge environmental, social, and economic (sustainability) impacts across the world. Currently there is no international Standard in existence that provides requirements for and guidance on how the events industry can minimise and address these impacts.

This work may build on a UK Standard (BS 8901:2009 – Specification for a sustainability management system for events), which was developed following the successful bid by London to become host city for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.

If developed, this Standard:

  • will enable those involved in event management to minimise and manage environmental, financial, and social impacts linked to venue selection, operating procedures, supply chain management, procurement, employment, communications, transport, and 'end of life' issues linked to post-event management
  • can be used by any organisation or individual involved in the management of events – client, supplier, or event manager and will be applicable to any type of event (such as an exhibition, sporting event, or a public concert).

The Standard is intended to be a requirements Standard and will encourage more sustainable events and provide guidance on meeting the requirements. It will be aimed across the sector, at any organisation or event that wishes to:

  • establish, implement, maintain and improve a sustainability management system for events
  • assure itself of conformity with its stated sustainability policy
  • demonstrate conformity with this Standard.

The use of a Standard such as this should substantially reduce carbon emissions and waste. It will be capable of addressing the management of improved sustainability throughout the entire event life cycle from conception and planning through to implementation and review.

Published in international.