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Photo by: COP22, Flickr

The International Organization for Standardization has certified The UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech (COP 22, 7 – 18 November) under the ISO 20121 standard for event sustainability management systems.

This this the first time that an event in Africa has been certified under the standard. COP22 was attended  by more than 22,000 people, and both the Government of Morrocco and the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) did everything they could to ensure that it was organized in a sustainable way.

ISO 20121 is an international standard that helps to ensure that an event recognizes its impact on society and actively contributes to the three dimensions of sustainability: economic, environmental and social.

The certification, awarded by the auditor Bureau Veritas, gives evidence that the Government of Morocco has successfully addressed the management of improved sustainability throughout all event-related activities during the entire management cycle of COP 22. Among other things, the COP 22 Sustainability Approach (available online in English and French) includes the following aspects:

  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to the extent possible and offsetting of unavoidable emissions;
  • Distribution of re-usable bottles that can be filled at water dispensers available throughout the conference venue free of charge for all participants;
  • An ambitious paper reduction initiative, limiting hard copies and the distribution of paper publications and making available, free of charge, an innovative NFC‐based touch‐to‐collect technology to disseminate electronic materials in an easy and interactive way;
  • Waste separation;
  • Re-use of all temporary structures;
  • Using local and seasonal food and distributing unsold meals to local associations;
  • Using solar energy where possible and complementing the bus fleet with electric cars;
  • Giving priority to hotels with environmentally friendly practices.

The first UN climate change conference to receive ISO 20121 certification was COP 21/CMP 11 held in 2015. The certification obtained first in Paris and now in Marrakech sets an example for future UN climate change conferences and beyond, and the good practices established will be shared with future host countries.

See article on Greening the Blue web page

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