The International Olympic Committee's efforts at promoting sustainability have been recognised with ISO certification ©IOC

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has received an International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 20121:2012 certification, which has been awarded due to their high sustainability performance at corporate events.

The ISO 20121:2012 was developed to help ensure that events, ranging from local celebrations to "mega events" such as the Olympic and Paralympic Games, leave behind a positive legacy in terms of economic, environmental and social benefits, with minimum material waste, energy consumption, or strain on local communities.

It assesses how sustainability is integrated in event planning and staging.

The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London was the first major test of the new standard introduced by the Geneva-based ISO, an independent, non-Governmental international organisation with a membership of 168 national standards bodies.

The corporate events that won the IOC the award include commission meetings, Olympic Day events, the International Athletes’ Forum and other conferences.

"We are very proud to have received the ISO 20121 certification," Marie Sallois. the IOC director for corporate and sustainable development, said.

"It recognises our efforts to manage the social, economic and environmental impact of our corporate events. 

"We hope this recognition will inspire other organisations within the Olympic Movement, as we strive to make the sports world more sustainable."

The ISO was first pioneered during London 2012 in order to improve sustainability ©IOC
The ISO was first pioneered during London 2012 in order to improve sustainability ©IOC

Panos Tzivanidis, the IOC director of corporate events and services, spoke on the journey taken to improve sustainability for the Olympic Movement.

"Inspired by the efforts of London 2012 and in accordance with the IOC’s strategic roadmap, Olympic Agenda 2020+5, we embarked on a journey to evolve the full portfolio of our institutional and corporate events and become an example for the Olympic Movement and beyond," said Tzivanidis.

The audit for the certification was conducted in November 2022 and is effective for three years.

The IOC have five main objectives for sustainability, including preventing waste by recycling, having environmental and social responsibility when making purchases, reducing emission of carbon dioxide using new formats of events that enable remote participation, using public and group transport and raising awareness to participants to improve sustainability.

The ISO 20121 has its strategy revised before each Olympic Games, including Paris 2024, which received its certification last year.

David Stubbs, the former head of sustainability for London 2012, spoke on how the pioneers of ISO 20121 helped develop sustainability in the Olympics.

"By inspiring the development of ISO 20121, London 2012 provided an opportunity to change the way events are planned and managed," he said. 

“Since then, the planning and staging of all Olympic Games editions have been aligned with the standard. 

"It has also been widely used beyond the Games.

"I am delighted and proud that this important Olympic legacy is evolving further with Paris 2024 to address the accelerating global sustainability challenges, raising the bar for sustainable sport and other events worldwide."

The IOC have five main objectives during Paris 2024 to improve sustainability ©IOC
The IOC have five main objectives during Paris 2024 to improve sustainability ©IOC

The IOC aims to reduce direct and indirect emissions by 50 per cent by 2030.

After 2030, all Olympic Games will be looking to reduce carbon emissions and compensate more than 100 per cent of their residual emission.

Paris 2024 is where these plans will start to come into effect, as the event takes place next summer.