Sunday, January 29, 2012

CSA Standards for Sustainable Events

In 2010, CSA Standards, a leading standards-based solutions organization, introduced standards for use by event organizers seeking to plan and execute sustainable events. A sustainable event entails incorporating considerations of the environmental, social, and economic impacts of hosting an event into all areas of event planning and management.

When organizing a sustainable event, the overarching goal for an organization is to maximize the value and experience of the event while striving to support a high quality of life, environmental health, and economic prosperity.

The principles of a sustainable event include: ethical behaviour, accountability, and transparency; engagement of the community and local stakeholders; positive benefits for the environment and society; accessible and inclusive setting; safe and secure atmosphere and facilities for spectators, participants, and workers; excellent customer/client experience; and a positive legacy.

“Implementing this standard will help to make an event more environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable in an ethical and transparent manner,” says Bonnie Rose, President, CSA Standards. Where all applicable requirements specified in the standard are implemented, event organizers may use conformance to support public claims of greater sustainability.

The CSA Z2010-10 Requirements and guidance for organizers of sustainable events standard integrates the management and sustainability practices recommended by a number of sources into a practical application for a wide variety of cultural, business, and sporting events and festivals.

“Sustainable development is broad and means different things to different people. With Z2010, emphasis is placed on an integrated approach that addresses stakeholders’ interests, regulatory requirements as well as environmental, social and economic impacts and opportunities throughout the life-cycle of an event,” says Ann Duffy, Technical Committee Chair and former Corporate Sustainability Officer, VANOC. “By minimizing negative impacts on the environment, augmenting the positive benefits, and creating positive legacies for present and future generations, this standard will help event organizers plan and execute events.”

The Z2010 standard was built on the work of The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) and the VANOC Sustainability Management and Reporting System (SMRS) and the International Academy of Sports Science and Technology’s (AISTS) Sustainable Sport and Event Toolkit – a collaboration with VANOC.

The standard’s requirements and guidance for leadership, planning, operations, employee and supplier engagement, communications and reporting are particularly relevant for medium and large scale events – though it can be scaled for small event organizers, as well. Z2010 is consistent with international norms of behaviour. In this context, environmental concerns include the natural surroundings in which an organization operates, including air, water, land, natural resources, flora, fauna, and people, as well as their interrelationships. Social and economic concerns include labour practices, fair operating practices, consumer issues, and community involvement and development.

The Z2010-10 requirements and guidance for organizers of sustainable events (PDF) costs $79 (CAD) and is available at their website or by calling 800-463-6727.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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