BSI British Standards launches new standard for managing a more sustainable event


12 November 2007

From Live Earth to Manchester International Festival, Lord’s Cricket Ground to Reeds Carpets.  They have all given the thumbs up to the world’s first standard for planning and managing a more sustainable event, launched today by BSI British Standards. 

Be it a music festival or sporting event for thousands, a school nativity play or local fun run, Britain loves having fun.  But more and more, we are demanding events that are environmentally friendly, ethically sound and of benefit to the economy.  Now BSI British Standards provides a system for managing the overall environmental, economic and social impact of an event.  BS 8901 is a new standard which sets out the requirements for planning and managing a sustainable event.  Climate change, the protection of historic sites, equal opportunities and investment in local skills are just a few of the wide-ranging considerations to be made when planning an event.

To claim compliance with the standard an organization must define and implement its sustainability policy, monitor and evaluate the event against key performance indicators and eventually review the event, feeding conclusions back into the policy to positively affect future events.

As well as enabling the events industry to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, BS 8901 offers benefits to the individual organization, including:
• Demonstration of improved sustainability performance within available budgets.
• Possible savings through reduction of waste, lower energy use and re-use of equipment and infrastructure.
• Healthy competitive advantage for compliant suppliers.

Six organizations and venues, including Lord’s Cricket Ground, Earl’s Court & Olympia and Manchester International Festival, trialled the standard throughout the summer to find out exactly how it could work in practice.   

Lord’s Cricket Ground regularly draws a crowd of 29,000 which can generate a mountain of waste.  In addition, irrigating the pitch requires tonnes of water.  Russell Seymour, Projects Officer at Lord’s, said: “BS 8901 provides a valuable framework within which to set targets around waste recycling and energy usage.  The standard brings the potential for cost savings, both in reducing landfill tax and on bills.”

Emma Wellman, Sustainability Advisor to EC&O Venues (Earl’s Court & Olympia), says that using BS 8901 has broadened EC&O’s outlook from a largely environmental one to a wider focus on sustainability as a whole: “Some of our activity is more community based than before, such as the distribution of 380 chairs left over from an event to local housing projects and community centres.”

Fiona Pelham, of Organise This, the Manchester-based events organization that helped Manchester International Festival trial BS 8901, says: “Approaching this standard without a background knowledge of sustainability, it could look daunting and difficult.  However, no matter how big or small, every company can implement BS 8901 and every company can make a difference.” 

Mike Low, Director of BSI British Standards, said: “Increasingly, customers are demanding sustainable products and services.  BS 8901 will serve as a road map for organizations wanting to improve the sustainability of their events be they global, national or at a local level.  This standard provides a simple framework which can be used to address concerns such as reducing carbon emissions and improving resource efficiency.”

BS 8901 is applicable to event organizers, clients, venues and organizations in the supply chain.  It can also be used by trade associations wishing to disseminate the information to members.  The Standard has been designed for the entire range of events from large-scale conferences and unique events such as London 2012, to rock festivals and amateur sporting events.

For more information on BS 8901 or to order a copy visit

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For media Information:
Lucy Fulton
PR Officer
BSI British Standards
Tel: +44 (0)20 8996 7248

About BS 8901:
• Trials of BS 8901 were carried out by Live Nation, Manchester International Festival, Reeds Carpets, Olympia and Earl’s Court, Lord’s Cricket Ground, Seventeen Events.

About BSI British Standards
BSI British Standards is the UK’s national standards organization, recognized globally for its independence, integrity and innovation in the production of standards and information products that promote and share best practice. BSI works with businesses, consumers and government to represent UK interests and to make sure that British, European and international standards are useful, relevant and authoritative.  For further information please visit

About BSI Group
BSI British Standards is part of BSI Group, a global independent business services organization that inspires confidence and delivers assurance to customers with standards-based solutions. Originating as the world’s first national standards body, the Group has over 2,250 staff operating in over 100 countries through more than 50 global offices. The Group’s key offerings are:

• The development and sale of private, national and international standards and supporting information
• Second and third-party management systems assessment and certification
• Product testing and certification of services and products
• Performance management software solutions
• Training services in support of standards implementation and business best practice.

For further information please visit