BSI partners with Green Sports Alliance to support progress towards sustainable sports and entertainment sector

Collaboration will focus on encouraging teams to run sustainable events

Herndon, VA – BSI, the business improvement and standards company, is partnering with the Green Sports Alliance (GSA) to drive more sustainable outcomes for all sporting events across the United States. The partnership will help support teams to embed sustainable measures in order to realize increased benefits for people and the planet, including reducing costs and responding to stakeholder expectations. 

BSI’s collaboration with GSA, an environmentally focused non-profit-trade organization that includes major sports franchises and venues as members, is specifically focused on promoting the benefits of certifying to the international standard on events sustainability and management systems (ISO 20121) to US sports teams and organizations. It covers all sports, including baseball, basketball, football, soccer, hockey, surfing, the Olympics and everything in between. The partnership between BSI and GSA looks to elevate the application of the standard to drive positive, sustainable change across all sporting events.

These efforts come alongside a growing movement within sports to not only provide inspiration on the field of play but also to drive real change behind the scenes in how events and supply chains are run and managed. A number of brands and events, such as Liverpool Football Club (F.C.) and the Tokyo Olympics, as well as smaller local and community events, have been certified to the standard by BSI, demonstrating to fans, our next generation, and investors their commitment to increasing sustainability and improving the environment. BSI and GSA are now focused on achieving similar progress in the US.

ISO 20121 is designed to help organizations improve their sustainability throughout the entire event management cycle, whether for a conference, entertainment event or sports tournament. The standard provides a framework for organizations to manage the social, economic, and environmental impacts of their events and to improve their sustainability performance and transparency.

Earlier this year, Liverpool F.C. became the first premier league club to obtain ISO 20121 certification, joining the ranks of other events and organizations, including World Sailing, World Athletics, COP26, G7, as well as the 2012 London and 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Although many events are already making progress in sustainability, there is still considerable opportunity to improve. Recent information showed that major league sports and entertainment venues create roughly 35,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year, not to mention generating vast amounts of waste from food and beverage sales. As an example of a major sporting event initiative, as part of their efforts to certify their events as sustainable, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics retrofitted many of the existing venues that were used during the games – some of which had been used in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics – with advanced building technologies to reduce energy consumption. In addition, many of the items used, from the actual medals given to the champions to the podiums they stood on, as well as the clothing worn by torchbearers and the Olympic Torch itself, were made from recycled materials. Similar concerted efforts at other venues and by major league sports teams could have a tangible, positive impact on the environment.

Pietro Foschi, Group Assurance Director, BSI, said: “We’re proud to be partnering with the Green Sports Alliance to help the sports sector turn ambition into action and ultimately accelerate progress to a sustainable world. With over 1.8 million events held every year in the US alone, the potential benefit that certifying these events to be sustainable could have on the environment is enormous.

“With such events inspiring us all on and off the field, BSI and Green Sports Alliance want to ensure they are also exemplars for sustainability to drive real and measurable change.”

Certification can help organizations:

  • Demonstrate commitment to sustainability: ISO 20121 certification can show that an organization is committed to sustainability and is actively taking steps to reduce its environmental impact and promote social responsibility.
  • Meet stakeholder expectations: ISO 20121 certification can help an organization enhance its reputation by meeting the expectations of fans, customers, investors, vendors, and other stakeholders to demonstrate sustainability in their operations.
  • Improve efficiency and reduce costs: Implementing an Environmental Sustainability Management System can help an organization identify opportunities to improve efficiency and reduce costs by taking actions such as minimizing waste, reducing greenhouse gas usage, conserving resources, and reducing energy consumption.
  • Meeting legal and regulatory requirements: ISO 20121 can help an organization comply with environmental regulations and other legal requirements, such as EPA, UNFCC, OSHA, UN Sustainability Goals, ESG, and others related to sustainability.
  • Differentiate from competitors: ISO 20121 certification can set an organization apart from competitors and provide a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Diana Dehm, Director of Sustainability for the Americas at BSI, said, “Attending an event is an inspiring experience for everyone, whether it’s watching our favorite band play or sports team win. We have the opportunity to harness the power of the sports and entertainment industries and their legions of fans to collaborate in our communities to reduce our collective carbon footprint, as well as energy and water usage and waste. Working together, we can inspire and educate generations of fans while accelerating progress to a more sustainable world."

Play to Zero is accelerating climate action through performance-driven sustainability in sports and entertainment. It is a leadership recognition platform and free sustainability performance toolkit for GSA Members that guides and celebrates reductions toward a net zero and carbon-neutral future across energy, water, and waste. Play to Zero is defining a new type of world champion by benchmarking, developing roadmaps, recognizing organizations, and engaging communities.

"We are delighted to welcome BSI as a Play to Zero Partner, with our shared commitment to reducing environmental impact. BSI boasts an impressive legacy and a global presence, having successfully certified some of the world's largest events to ISO 20121," stated Roger McClendon, Executive Director of Green Sports Alliance. "The US is amongst regions with tremendous significance in sports and entertainment, making it a crucial market for Play to Zero. Our vision is to witness all venues and teams embrace sustainability, implementing measurement and tracking systems like Play to Zero that effectively minimize their ecological footprint. Achieving certification to this esteemed global standard presents an incredible opportunity for growth and progress."

For further information on ISO 20121: Sustainable Events Management, visit here.