PLASA Puts Sustainability Centre Stage
Recent months have seen a landmark development for the events industry with the arrival of BS 8901, a major new standard set to radically transform the events landscape.
Launched at the end of last year and currently going through a series of pilot trials, BS 8901 specifies the requirements for a sustainable event management system. It encompasses all events, from large-scale tours and unique events such as the 2012 Olympics, to music festivals and amateur sporting events. It will take no prisoners, applying throughout the industry supply chain to venues, organising companies and industry suppliers and contractors.
Major event clients such as the London 2012 Organising Committee and the Greater London Authority are already referring to BS 8901 in their tenders. Corporate clients are expected to follow as they work to ensure their own sustainability policies are being implemented throughout their organisations. In addition, event attendees and delegates are becoming increasingly aware of the need to address sustainability. Consequently, this new standard will soon become a minimum requirement to do business in the events industry. Like risk management and health and safety before, it will eventually become part of the way the event industry operates.
PLASA, the main professional body for the sector, has taken a lead on this issue and developed a cost-effective programme specifically geared to help its members implement BS 8901. The programme has been developed in partnership with the Sustainable Events Group and is based around a series of educational workshops supplemented by in-the-field support. SEG were involved in writing the standard and are currently piloting its implementation with a number of major venues and event organisers, including PLASA Events.
The PLASA BS 8901 programme - currently the only programme of its kind in the world - will enable PLASA Members to get ahead of the rest of the industry and to take a leadership position on the sustainability agenda. In addition, as BS 8901 is up for review at the end of 2008, the BS 8901 programme will enable members to have a direct say in the structure and content of the revised standard.
Independent third party certification to the standard is likely to become increasingly important. Third party certification provides credibility and will be a significant advantage as event clients choose to work with organisations that are genuinely capable of improving the sustainability of events. Achieving certification to BS 8901 will therefore provide a competitive edge as event clients become more discerning.
The PLASA programme also includes certification to the standard. Members participating in the programme therefore have the opportunity to be amongst the first to achieve independent certification to BS 8901.
Ruth Rossington of PLASA commented: "Industry is increasingly being challenged to carry out its business in a more sustainable manner. Today, the majority of companies acknowledge that the management of sustainability issues is fundamental to the long-term success of their organisations. By adopting this standard the events industry has the opportunity to lead the world in addressing the sustainability issues facing us all today."
For more on BS8901, see the September 2008 issue of Lighting&Sound International magazine - now available FREE, worldwide, in Digital format.