BSI launches updated sustainable events standards which could be used for UN climate COPs

An earlier iteration of the guidance was used by COP28, hosted in Dubai last year.

In 2012, BSI released the original framework, ahead of the London Olympics and Paralympics, to help organisations embed sustainability throughout the entire event management cycle and across each step of the supply chain.

More than a decade later, BSI has launched an update version of its guidance, which includes standards for emerging challenges across areas such as climate change, supply chain measures and human and child rights within the events industry.

Additionally, the new version, which includes hybrid and virtual events, has been designed to be more user-friendly for SMEs, which account for most of the event supply chain.

The standard has been developed in line with global sustainability frameworks, goals and reporting standards such as the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (UNSDGs), Race to Zero and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

BSI’s director of sectors Anne Hayes said: “The events industry has a significant role to play in a number of key areas across climate change, social impact and supply chain.

“Since its launch more than a decade ago, this guidance has helped embed meaningful change in how events of all shapes and sizes are delivered.”

The previous iteration of the framework has been used by several organisations including the intergovernmental political and economic forum G7, Liverpool Football Club and Edgbaston Cricket Stadium.

Additionally, the last UN’s annual climate conference, COP28, hosted in Dubai also used the earlier iteration of the framework. However, according to reports, COP28 had the biggest carbon footprint in the history of the annual climate summit, with nearly 80,000 visitors registered.

The carbon footprint of COPs

Held once a year, the global climate conference attracts thousands of visitors including government representatives, businesses, media and delegates from across the world.

In 2021, the Glasgow COP set a record for emissions with a carbon footprint of 102,500 tonnes of CO2, with nearly 60% of these emissions estimated to have come from international flights.

The Energy Transitions Commission’s chair Lord Adair Turner previously said: “The carbon footprint of COPs is huge, and COP Presidents should start putting a set of rules to jumpstart behavioural change in the broadly elite group going to COPs.

“No private jets should be allowed to land in COP-hosting countries unless they can certifiably prove that they are using sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) or that they will pay the difference between SAFs and conventional jet fuel into a fund for loss and damage.”

COP29 will be hosted in Baku, Azerbaijan this year, with a comparatively smaller cohort of people expected to attend due to a limited access to accommodation.

Hayes added: “The latest revisions [to the BSI framework] take into account industry feedback and change to drive greater levels of ambition and embed more advanced measures, in order to accelerate progress towards a fair society and a sustainable world.”

edie has contacted COP29 on its plans to use the BSI’s updated framework, and the article will be updated upon receiving a response.

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