London Olympics 2012

With over 90% of the UK population watching coverage, London 2012 was a incredible landmark event for both the UK and the world, bringing the eyes of the nation and the world to London, encouraging people to celebrate their nations sporting stars and championing the power of sport to unite us. The London Olympics  has also been a fantastic catalyst for sustainability in the event industry, influencing the development of a British Standard for Sustainable Event Management, BS 8901. This initial standard has now been developed into ISO 20121, an International Standard for Sustainable Event Management. 

London 2012 Legacy

The Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 released its report in November 2012 which has concluded that London 2012 was the most sustainable Games to date.

"London 2012 has raised the bar on sustainability, not just for future Olympic and Paralympic Games but for industry, and for the organisers of major events the world over – from music festivals to football World Cups.

By being open to learning from these successes as well as the missed opportunities, future major projects could even out-perform London 2012’s sustainability achievements." - Shaun McCarthy, Chair of the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012

The Commission has called on the UK to lead the charge in ensuring London’s lessons are firmly embedded into the events industry. Ambitious sustainability targets such as zero waste to landfill and 70% waste to be re-used, recycled or composted are on track thanks to efforts such as meticulous attention to packaging and the effective use of the colour coded three-bin system.

The transport system delivered an excellent service, and London 2012 should be praised for being the first Games to offer a fully comprehensive mobility service. Comprehensive public transport options and effective planning meant that the logistical operation for the Games was delivered with minimal disruption to Londoners.

Another success story was the food, with a wide variety of healthy, sustainably sourced, affordable meals available at most London 2012 venues, driven from the start by the development of the impressive London 2012 ‘Food Vision’ – a first for major event catering.

How to be part of the change

London 2012 set a bench mark for sustainability in events, exemplifying various innovative ways in which events can leave a lasting legacy and a positive impact.  In order to help you implement elements from the varying sustainability initiatives into your own events and businesses, we've gathered together a selection of reports and resources from, or related to, London 2012 that can support your role in making the event industry more sustainable.

1. Sustainability Reports

London 2012 First Sustainability Report

The progress report, entitled A Blueprint for Change, reviews their commitments to sustainability, achievements and challenges. Not a short document at 126 pages but fascinating reading and easy to seek out the relevant sections or highlights.

London 2012 Pre-Games Sustainability Report

This is the second of three London 2012 Sustainability Reports and is designed to determine if the targets from the London 2012 Sustainability Plan (2009) are being achieved. This report covers the 2011 calendar year, and its focus is on a pre-Games view of the programme. It is London 2012’s first report prepared using the Global Reporting Initiative’s Event Organizers Sector Supplement (GRI EOSS) which truly marks a step change in sustainability reporting within the event industry.

We have also created a short questionnaire so that you have a chance to tell us your thoughts about this report, and sustainability reporting in general.

London 2012 Post-Games Sustainability Report

London 2012 has published its Post-Games Sustainability Report, presenting results and highlighting the key learnings, from integrating a sustainability programme in the world’s largest event. The report is intended as a resource and knowledge transfer tool to help future Olympic and Paralympic Games and global events organisers embed sustainability into event planning.

Coca-Cola London 2012 Sustainability Report

This report sets out how Coca-Cola made London 2012 their most sustainable event sponsorship to date.


2. Sustainability Resources

London 2012 Sustainability Page

This link will take you to the sustainability section on the official London 2012 site. Here you can find out more about the sustainability plan, and how it is being embedded in all aspects of the 2012 Games.

London 2012 Sustainability Guidelines for Events

This document provides guidelines setting out how London 2012 will improve the sustainability of events, focusing on ten key topic areas.

London 2012 Carbon Footprint Study

Find out more about how the carbon footprint for London 2012 is being calculated, and see the results so far.

London 2012 Sustainable Sourcing Code

This document outlines the approach taken to sustainable sourcing for London 2012.

Coca-Cola London 2012 Legacy

Coca-Cola have a wealth of resources around sustainability on their website including their sustainability report for the Games and an interactive ISO 20121 workbook.

Sustain: Food and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming, have put together a series of pages linked to London 2012 and focusing on sustainable food.

Commission for a Sustainable London 2012

As part of London 2012's commitment to learning legacy, a series of short films have been produced which take on various questions relating to sustainability at the Games.

Sustainability on IOC website

Visit the official website of the Olympic movement for sustainability information from London 2012 and other large sporting events.

IOC Assessment of Sustainability in the light of RIO 20+

The IOC’s publication, entitled “Sustainability through Sport: Implementing the Olympic Movement’s Agenda 21”, contains a summary of progress made over the last 20 years in the area of sustainable development, including environmental protection, education and socio-economic development.

UNEP Comments on Legacy of London 2012

United Nations Environment Programme article summarises the key achievements of London 2012.

"We are determined to support the dissemination of learning to the wider event industry and other business sectors in this country... we want other people and organisations to appreciate the challenges, opportunities and value of sustainability in a business situation" - David Stubbs, London 2012 Head of Sustainability

London 2012 Learning Legacy

Positive Impact have been gathering information to capture sustainability best practice from London 2012 for the event industry. The London 2012 Learning Legacy website is another great resource for finding out more about the successes - and challenges overcome - during the build up to and delivery of the Games.

3. London 2012 and ISO 20121

Coca-Cola ISO 20121 Workbook

Coca-Cola have produced an interactive PDF workbook which can be used to support the implementation of ISO 20121.

ISO 20121 passes 2012 Games Test

ISO article about the success of the standard at London 2012 with case studies and interviews with those who have implemented it.

London 2012 - helping set sustainability standards

Guardian Sustainable Business article on how new sustainability standards will make a difference to the way all future events are planned.

London 2012′s legacy – setting new environmental standards for all events?

WWF blog interview with Fiona Pelham, chair of the ISO20121 committee, who considers the long-term sustainability legacy of London 2012.

Setting the standards for event sustainability

Events Guru article which covers the lasting impression London 2012 has had on the world of athletics, sport and technology, and the way we all think about sustainability.