Tokyo 2020 Obtains International Sustainability Certification ISO 20121

Tokyo 2020 Obtains International Sustainability Certification ISO 20121

The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) today announced that it has obtained certification of ISO 20121, an international standard governing sustainable event management created by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Tokyo 2020 has been working towards the implementation of the ISO 20121 standard with the goal of ensuring more consistent sustainability efforts at all stages of the Games, from the preparation phase until after the Games has ended. From May through August 2019, all relevant Tokyo 2020 activities were exhaustively assessed by the British Standards Institution (BSI), an ISO certification body, resulting in the certification announced today. The certification covers all operations of Tokyo 2020.

Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto commented, “Sustainability has always been an important concept for Tokyo 2020, and this acquisition of ISO 20121 certification proves that sustainability is embedded in all of our management processes. This will help us achieve our goal of a truly sustainable Games, and we hope it will provide greater opportunity for the implementation of ISO 20121 at other future large-scale events.”

Going forward, Tokyo 2020 will build on this certification as it continues to take the necessary initiatives to ensure the sustainability of the Tokyo 2020 Games.

About ISO 20121

ISO 20121 is an international standard governing processes and systems used to ensure the sustainable planning and delivery of events. It was based on the earlier British Standard BS 8901, a sustainable event management standard developed for the London 2012 Games. ISO 20121 addresses not just the environmental impact of events, but also the social and economic impact. ISO 20121 certification may be obtained from third-party ISO certification institutions.

Implementation and acquisition of ISO 20121 by Tokyo 2020

Implementation of the ISO 20121 management system in order to make the Tokyo 2020 Games a truly sustainable event has been a clear goal since the launch of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Bid Committee. In terms of the operational requirements specified in the host city contract, Tokyo 2020 has committed to the implementation of ISO 20121 and the according certification by a third party ISO certification institution (see below under “References”).

Certification audit and surveillance audit

Tokyo 2020 was audited by the BSI from May to August 2019. The certification audit was conducted by means of interviews with the Tokyo 2020 CEO, document reviews at the department level and on-site reviews at test events, among others. The programme confirmed that the management system of Tokyo 2020 has been properly structured and operated in accordance with the requirements of the ISO 20121 standard. The certified management system must undergo a surveillance audit by a third party to ensure that its operations continue to meet the standard. The surveillance audit of Tokyo 2020 will take place from June to September 2020.

Example awards of ISO 20121 certification

Among Summer and Winter Games, London 2012, Rio 2016, and PyeongChang 2018 all obtained the ISO 20121 certification. It has also recently been acquired by Beijing 2022.

The ISO standard was pioneered by the Olympic Games London 2012, which were a catalyst for its development. In line with the Olympic Agenda 2020, the Host City Contract – Operational Requirements requires every Organising Committee for the Olympic Games to obtain the ISO 20121 certification, starting from the 2018 Games onwards.

About the British Standards Institution

The British Standards Institution, established in 1901, is the business standards company that helps organisations make excellence a habit – all over the world. Its business is enabling others to perform better. Its business areas include the provision of standards, the certification of products and management systems, testing, inspection, quality assurance and the provision of educational and training services.


Tokyo 2020 Candidature File, January 2013, page 50: “The Tokyo 2020 Sustainability Strategy will be the most important tool in the environmental management of the Tokyo 2020 Games. It will encompass the entire cycle, from the preparation phase to the Games, and through to post-event operations and legacy, and will act as the primary guiding principle on sustainability. It outlines an environmental philosophy; basic principles; environmental policy; methods of promoting coordination and cooperation with event stakeholders; environmental objectives, and measures for individual venues. It will be in accordance with ISO 20121.”

Host City Contract Operational Requirements, December 2016, page 174, SUS 06—Sustainability Management System: “Establish a SMS [Sustainability Management System] that covers the key activities of the organisation that are material to delivering sustainable Olympic and Paralympic Games... and ensure that this system is independently certified as being in accordance with the requirements of the standard ISO 20121:2012.”