BSI British Standards defends sustainable events standard

BSI British Standards answers critics of its sustainable events standard BS8901

BSI British Standards defended its sustainable events standard, BS8901, at the C&IT Agency Forum this morning.

The standard, introduced in November 2007, has come under fire from some in the industry for being difficult to implement.

But BSI British Standards head of market development Anne Hayes told forum delegates that dismissing the guidance as "difficult" was a convenient way of ignoring sustainability issues.

"BS8901 is not a massive document and saying that it's too difficult is a wonderful excuse for doing nothing," said Hayes. "It allows you to set your own scope with implementation."

She did admit, however, that adhering to the standard could be challenging: "It won't always be easy because it does require you to think about what you're doing in your business and maybe make some changes."

EC&O Venues sustainability advisor Emma Wellman, who presented this morning's session on sustainable events alongside Hayes, warned delegates that they ignored sustainability "at their peril".

"For corporate clients, sustainability is very much on the radar," said Wellman. "They are saying they won't use a venue unless it's being run in a sustainable way - and that's a reason in itself to make changes in your business."

Hayes added that despite the standard being British-focused, it had been adopted internationally, and that the events industry was leading the way in its adoption.

"The event industry has set a very high bar for other industries," said Hayes. "We now have the construction and film industries interested in following suit."

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