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July 24, 2008

Third-party certification now available for BS 8901

Sustainable Event Certification (SEC) has become the first body to provide independent third-party certification to BS 8901, the sustainability in events standard. The standard was launched in November 2007 and is proving popular with event organisers, venues and suppliers to the events industry which wish to demonstrate that they are working to improve their green credentials.

Paul Costelloe, commercial director at SEC, said: “Sustainability is a hot topic in the events industry and we are currently working with a number of organisations to help them achieve certification to the new standard. Third-party certification provides credibility and this is important as event clients choose to work with organisations that are genuinely capable of improving the sustainability of their events.

"Major event clients, such as the London 2012 Organising Committee and the Greater London Authority, as well as some corporate clients, are already referring to BS 8901 in their tenders. Being certified will therefore provide a competitive advantage as clients become more discerning.”

Costelloe continued: “While there are some difficult aspects to the standard, such as the need for stakeholder engagement and internal auditing, it is really about changing mindsets and behaviours and clarifying practices rather than implementing bureaucratic procedures and paperwork. Indeed, adopting the standard will make organisations more successful in the long term by improving operational efficiency, reducing costs, enhancing brand reputation and increasing employee retention. These are the sorts of benefits that other industry sectors have seen from adopting a more sustainable approach to their business.”

BS 8901 establishes a framework of management best practice and has been designed to help the events industry conduct its business in a more sustainable way. It requires organisations to understand the sustainability issues relevant to their event or events and to put in place measures to control and minimise these impacts.

The certification process requires an audit of the sustainable event management system to confirm that the system meets the requirements of the standard and is delivering results. The audit process itself involves interviews with key personnel and relevant stakeholders, a review of documentation and records and observations of working practices. The certification process may take one to two days depending on the size and complexity of the organisation.

SEC also provides the events industry with BS 8901 training, gap analysis and certification.

For more information go to www.sustainableeventcertification.com.

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