Coca-Cola champions ISO20121 at Sustainable Events Summit

The UK events team at Coca-Cola Enterprises is committed to getting ISO20121 certified within the next 12 months, according to Olivia Knight-Adams, sustainability projects co-ordinator for the global brand.

Coca-Cola endorses ISO20121 and shares learnings as part of Olympic legacy
Coca-Cola endorses ISO20121 and shares learnings as part of Olympic legacy

Knight-Adams was speaking at The Sustainable Events Summit, held yesterday at The Crystal, Siemens' centre for sustainability in East London.

The drinks giant adopted the ISO20121 standard ahead of the London Games, and its Coca-Cola Enterprises UK events team is now working towards accreditation.


Extolling the virtues of the new ISO framework for more sustainable event management, which came into existence last July, she said: "Coca-Cola has been a part of the Olympics since 1928. We've been involved with sustainability initiatives at previous Games but we've never had anything like the ISO20121 - a structured framework to work through.

"For me, that's one of the things I'm most proud of achieving. It may not be the sexiest part of Coca-Cola's Olympic activation but it really was the foundation that allowed us to embed sustainability in a systematic way throughout our activity."

As part of Coca-Cola's Olympic legacy, Knight-Adams has been sharing her learnings on event sustainability with the brand teams now working on the Sochi and Rio Olympics.

Coca-Cola has also made an ISO20121 workbook freely available via its website containing document templates and advice for event planners.

"It was always our plan to leave an Olympic legacy by sharing knowledge on sustainability. We are a large global brand so it would have been wrong not to share what we know to work," she continued.

Fiona Pelham, chair of ISO20121 and co-founder of the Sustainable Events Summit urged the UK events industry to drive the adoption of this framework.

"There were 30 countries involved in creating this standard so we may think we have the lead on sustainable event practices here in the UK, but unless we act quickly, there are other countries who will gain the competitive advantage for producing sustainable events worldwide," she said. "We need to continue our leadership or risk looking back to a time in 2012 when we were instrumental in driving sustainability but were later over taken by more proactive nations."

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