Defra backs BSI's popular sustainable events standard


13 October 2009

Defra minister Hilary Benn today supported a sustainable events standard which has been used widely in the UK to reduce the economic, social and environmental impact of events.

BS 8901, published by BSI, requires organizations to consider the social, economic and environmental impacts of their events, including factors such as venue selection and post-event ‘end-of-life’ issues such as waste disposal. The UK events industry has greeted the standard enthusiastically, with organizations from the Isle of Wight Festival to the Multiple Sclerosis Society claiming compliance. London 2012 has now incorporated BS 8901 into its approach to a ‘sustainable Games’ and the standard was recently granted the Inspire Mark, the badge of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said:

“Lots of us love to attend music festivals and football matches but they can produce a lot of rubbish. We all have to play our part in the move to more sustainable living. 

“That’s why it is great to see the UK events industry taking up the challenge to make their industry more sustainable.  The BSI standard will help people attending events around the country do the right thing with their waste and will reward businesses for doing so.”


BSI, the UK’s leading standards, assessment and certification body, has published a revised version of BS 8901 Specification for a sustainable event management system with guidance for use. Responding to feedback from existing users, the new version is intended to be easier to implement and audit for certification.

Now well-established, there is an increasing industry demand for independent third-party certification to BS 8901, which will allow an organization to demonstrate to its stakeholders a commitment to raising the sustainability level of its events.

Several of the requirements of BS 8901 have also been clarified, based on the experience of users interpreting the standard. Greater alignment with other management systems standards, such as BS ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems, should also reduce the amount of work required by organizations implementing more than one system.

Mike Low, Director, Standards, BSI, said:

“If the UK is to lead the way in sustainability, a far reaching cultural shift is needed. The event industry’s desire to become more sustainable and the huge enthusiasm for events in the UK make this industry and its supply chains an excellent exemplar.

“The standard has been revised to incorporate the feedback of initial adopters. As with all British Standards, BSI works to ensure that BS 8901 remains relevant to its intended audience and takes into account developments in the events industry.”

Enthusiasm for BS 8901 has now spread beyond the UK, with organizations around the world realizing the benefits of implementation. The standard has been submitted to the International Organization for Standardization as the starting point for a proposed international standard on more sustainable events.”


BS 8901 has been granted the Inspire Mark, the badge of the London 2012 Inspire Programme.

The London 2012 Inspire programme recognises innovative and exceptional projects that are directly inspired by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

London 2012 was instrumental in developing BS 8901, first published in November 2007.  Its continued use of the standard and commitment to sustainability inspires the UK events industry to use BS 8901 now and long after the Games are over.

Seb Coe, Chair, London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, said:
“BS 8901 is encouraging the UK events industry to fulfil its potential. I am proud that with the help of partners such as BSI we are delivering on our vision to use the power of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to boost participation in reducing the social, economic and environmental impact of events.”

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Notes to Editors

BS 8901:2007 is superseded by ISO 20121, find out more and buy a copy of the standard at the BSI Shop

About the Inspire programme:
The Inspire programme is run by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is an opportunity for everyone to be a part of the London 2012 Games – a broad participation programme spanning sport [participation, education, sustainability, volunteering and business opportunities and skills. New opportunities are being created to inspire young people and encourage the whole of the UK to join in.

About London 2012: The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are delivered by two key organizations – the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).

LOCOG is responsible for staging a memorable Games in 2012. They will deliver the best possible Olympic and Paralympic games experience for everyone involved, enabling a lasting legacy and inspiring people to join in.

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is the public body responsible for developing and building the new venues and infrastructure for the Games and converting the Olympic Park for long-term use after the Games.

In the summer of 2012, the UK will come alive with the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Find out the latest from the London 2012 HQ blog –