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How to define environmental KPIs for sport events

In this day and age, major sporting events can have a massive environmental impact. Whether in a ready-made stadium or events such as the British Open or US Masters in golf, it is possible that up to 150,000 spectators may attend during the event, and possibly over several days. It therefore stands to reason that organizations that have responsibility for arranging such events should have a responsibility to the environment and to comply with ISO 14001 to ensure that impacts and risks are limited wherever possible. As such, it is vital that such an organization can correctly identify environmental KPI’s (key performance indicators) to allow this performance to be measured. So, how can these best be identified?

Defining KPIs: What to consider

Managing a major sports event can give an organization many environmental considerations, and forward planning is required to ensure that environmental aspects are identified and controlled, and measurable KPIs defined. But, what specific elements need to be considered to allow these KPIs to be effective?

  • Location: Events management will normally give advice over travelling to a location where a sporting event is held. By advising that spectators should utilize public transport wherever possible, large environmental savings can be made. Limiting car parking spaces and only admitting cars to car parks with more than one passenger can also reduce the event’s carbon footprint. Your KPI can be number of cars parked in official car park versus attendees using public transport.
  • Controlling your supply chain: This becomes more important than ever when dealing with multiple suppliers supplying various elements, such as food, literature, beverages, and even commemorative clothing. Firstly, share your environmental policy, objectives, and selection criteria with suppliers and ensure they meet your terms. Ensure their behavior and performance meet your expectations, using supplier audits to achieve this knowledge if possible. Ask to see your suppliers’ KPIs – it can be said from experience that if there is no measurement, then it is more than likely there will be no improvement. For more advice on this topic, please see the article: Driving your supply chain to ISO 14001 compliance. A KPI can be devised using a scoring system for your event suppliers, both individually and collectively. Review and corrective action can be established when performance dips below the agreed level.
  • Power and energy consumption: Analyze what you expect to use on a given event. Consider if indoors: can you use energy-saving lightbulbs in areas, sensor switches to limit unnecessary energy use, and turn heating off when not necessary? Do you use hand dryers in washrooms to save paper wastage? Are these on a short timer to save electricity wastage? If you are using a stadium, is it feasible to consider using solar panels for long-term energy savings on events?
  • Recycling: Most major sporting events will end with a huge amount of refuse that needs to be collected. Firstly, ensure your event has multiple disposal points with clear signage to encourage recycling at point of use. Secondly, when your clean up begins, ensure your team has the knowledge, resources, and time to recycle all refuse appropriately and correctly.
  • Manage your own performance: Don’t forget about your own office and your team! Ensure you arrange meetings and conference calls as often as possible to save on unnecessary travel, and look at your team’s practices in your office environment. You can gain some useful tips by reading How to identify environmental aspects in your office using 14001. You can formulate KPIs that measure quarterly performance here, and strive to improve quarter over quarter. If your business is expanding, consider using a “per head” or “pro rata” measurement to ensure you are effecting real change and improvement.
  • Local environment: If you manage an event not in a stadium, such as a golf or motor sport event, you will need to understand the local environment in order to ensure you return it to its previous condition after the event. If you read the article Determining the context of the organization in ISO 14001, this will help you understand how to define the organizational context, of which the local area and inhabitants will be stakeholders in such cases. Ensure you have the knowledge and resources to return any land to its previous condition after such an event. You could use a questionnaire to the local inhabitants, landowners, or federal government to ensure that this has been achieved.

Ensuring your sports event is an environmental winner

There are many considerations to make to ensure your sports event is one that does no lasting harm to the environment, but the principles of ISO 14001 remain constant. Understanding the Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle will ensure that you approach the elements with the correct process, and planning and communication to your team and beyond remain vital components, too. Finally, a thorough review afterwards – why not consider a “lessons learned” log? – should ensure that you have the basis to improve when tackling similar projects and to continue your improvement cycle.

Why not use our  ISO 14001 Foundations course to improve your knowledge of the standard?

Advisera John Nolan
John Nolan
John Nolan is a Fellow of the Institute of Leaders and Managers in the United Kingdom, and Prince 2 accredited with a background in Engineering and Electronics and Data Storage and Transfer. Having studied and qualified as both a Mechanical and Electronic Engineer, he has spent the last 15 years designing and delivering Quality Systems and projects across many sectors in the UK, including both national and local government.