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Canadian pride in our “green Olympics” is about to be translated into a standard for sustainable events: Z2010. The Canadian Standards Association worked unofficially with VANOC’s Corporate Sustainability Office to develop the standard in record time, and to learn from its experience in putting on the Vancouver Olympics.

VANOC developed an impressive Sustainability Management and Reporting System, a first for the Olympics/ ParaOlympic games. It integrated components from several international standards, including the AA1000 standard on public engagement; an environmental management system based on ISO 14001; and the Global Reporting Initiative for performance reporting on environmental, social and economic issues. VANOC’s final report on the success of its sustainable event will be released later this year. Even the gold, silver and bronze medals contained precious metals recovered from discarded electronics.

The CSA Sustainable Sport and Event Toolkit builds on this foundation. It has been designed for events of all sizes, from large sporting events, such as Toronto’s 2015 Pan Am Games, to concerts, conferences and green weddings. It is organized into eight main chapters, addressing economic, social and environmental sustainability. Key issues include food, energy, transportation, accommodation, site selection, communications, education and engagement. For transparency, sustainability objectives and performance indicators should be available to the public. The Global Reporting Initiative will release related guidance, on how to report on sustainable events, within two years.

Z2010 will be released to the public soon, and should quickly become a benchmark for any event claiming to be “green”. If you go to an event, ask for it.

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