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International Monetary Fund ISO 20121 sustainable events certified by BSI

Achievement highlights IMF’s commitment to sustainability

15 April 2024: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has achieved certification for the delivery of sustainable events as it opens its annual Spring Meeting, following an audit by BSI, demonstrating the global organization’s commitment to its environmental, social, and economic impacts.

The successful certification to the Sustainable Events Management System Standard (BS ISO 20121) brings the IMF in line with COP28, the G7, London Olympics, Tokyo Olympics, and other large-global events.

Auditors from BSI, the business improvement and standards company, reviewed the IMF’s plans to confirm compliance, undertaking a detailed three-stage process covering pre-event activities and the management of the event itself.

Certification confirms an organization’s sustainability commitment and the work that has been done to plan, manage, and deliver events with consideration for environmental, social, and economic impacts, with the opportunity to feed conclusions back in to positively affect future events. This includes setting sustainability objectives, identifying and mitigating potential impacts, engaging stakeholders, and monitoring and measuring performance.

In the IMF’s case, as a global institution representing 190 countries, the certification was the culmination of efforts dating back a decade to improve the economic, social, and environmental impact of the Fund’s operations. For the Spring and Annual Meetings this included offsetting carbon emissions from participants’ travel, and looking at energy consumption, food waste and many other areas.

The IMF worked with Crowberry Consulting® Ltd – Enabling Sustainable Futures to achieve the standard for the Spring Meeting and October’s Annual Meeting, both in Washington DC. Crowberry Consulting® and the IMF have collaborated since 2023 to conduct gap analysis, internal auditor training and sustainable event system implementation. The collaboration ensures that all functional areas are in scope and meaningful sustainable event objectives and targets are embedded.

The metrics are set out in the standard, which was designed ahead of the London 2012 Olympics to address the management of improved sustainability throughout the entire event management cycle. It covers environmental, social and economic issues, including resource utilization, materials choice, supply chain, resource conservation, emissions reduction, accessibility, equity and local economy, and also requires organizers to show how they consider sustainable development issues when choosing suppliers.

Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, IMF, said: “Sustainability is at the core of our operations, and I am immensely proud that we have achieved the ISO 20121 standard for the Spring and Annual Meetings, an important step in the right direction. Coming out of the pandemic, recognizing our membership’s desire to return to in-person meetings, we also recognized that we needed to scale-up our ambition when it comes to our own footprint.”

Tim Wren, Chief Commercial Officer, BSI, said: “As a globally important organization, the IMF has a powerful opportunity to set an example for how events can be planned and delivered sustainably, benefiting people and planet. It’s fantastic to see them using their Spring Meeting to create a lasting legacy.

“BSI’s rigorous audit demonstrated that the IMF has taken vital action to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Events Management System Standard and consider key environmental, social, and economic impacts. The IMF deserves credit for taking an important step forward that can ultimately help society accelerate progress towards a fair society and a sustainable world.”

Becky Toal, CEO of Crowberry Consulting – Enabling Sustainable Futures, said. “It has been a pleasure to support the IMF to work towards and achieve the ISO 20121. We have supported the cross functional internal departments to understand sustainable events, implement a full internal audit programme, trained up the sustainability champions and guided them through the required documentation of the standard to ensure successful certification in 2024. We are proud to have supported the Fund and its members to achieve a lasting legacy of positive sustainable performance of the Spring Meeting and Annual Meeting. Critically a large portion of our support was provided virtually using remote tools to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions by travel. We are delighted that the team has achieved the prestigious ISO 20121 standard, and this will inspire other large bi-lateral & political events to do the same.”