Events > Event Certifications

Some athletics and recreation departments may wish to pursue an event certification to provide additional structure and credibility to their sports greening initiatives at events. The following two certification standards are available for  greening sports events.  

It’s important to note that a certification is not a substitute for ongoing efforts. Greening means reviewing your operations and procurement with an eye toward reducing environmental impacts. It is an iterative, ongoing process. Greening means more than following a certification or checklist, although these can be a useful tool.

Greening also means integrating environmental criteria into ongoing decisions about operations and the procurement of products and services. Where possible, integrate environmental criteria into purchasing policies, vendor contracts, and organizational reporting. Frame greening goals as aspirational, to encourage ongoing improvement.

Before committing to a certification for your sports event(s), assemble all event staff leadership and any available campus sustainability staff to evaluate the pros and cons of each of the following standards. The Additional Resources below may provide valuable information regarding green building certifications and other opportunities to enhance the environmental profile of your sports events.

You may also wish to consider the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification to help enhance the environmental profile of annual sports events on your campus. When designing or renovating their facilities, increasing numbers of collegiate sports venues are turning to the LEED green building certification as a guide to help them improve their environmental performance and boost their bottom line. Learn more in the Green Building Certifications page of this guide.


In June 2012, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) released  the “ISO 20121” event standard, which takes a systems management approach to reducing the social, economic and environmental impacts of events (such as material waste, energy consumption and strains on local communities). It also aims to help enhance the more positive public, local community and economic impacts of an event through improved planning and processes.

This event standard is suitable for ensuring that events of any size, from local celebrations to “mega events” such as the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, leave behind a positive legacy. The standard is relevant to all members of the event industry supply chain including organizers, event managers, stand builders, caterers and logistics suppliers.

The ISO states two primary benefits of using this standard:

  • Best business practice: It makes sense to take an organized, processed approach to managing economic, environmental and social impacts. In addition, what gets monitored and measured gets reduced, so there are likely to be lower overheads.

  • Reputational advantage: Using a recognized international framework will enable leaders in sustainability to demonstrate their actions in a credible and transparent way.

The standard is made up of four main phases, labelled Plan, Do, Check, and Act. These steps are also used in ISO’s well-known range of management system standards such as ISO 14001 (environmental management) and ISO 9001 (quality management).

Learn more about the ISO 20121 sustainable events standard.


The Council for Responsible Sport (CRS) was founded in late 2007 with the vision to help make responsibly produced sports events the norm. The mission of the Council for Responsible Sport is to provide objective, independent verification of the socially and environmentally responsible work that event organizers are doing, and to actively support event organizers who strive to make a difference in their communities. The Council for Responsible Sport is an Oregon-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

The Council for Responsible Sport offers the following services to event organizers who are interested in making a responsible difference in sport:

  • Support for event organizers who strive to produce socially and environmentally responsible events through hands-on coaching and a variety of support group programs.
  • Certification for responsible event production practices through a certification program.
  • Celebration of events that have become certified by the Council.

There are four levels of certification. The on-site evaluation makes events eligible for Certified, Silver, Gold and Evergreen levels of certification based on credits earned through the standards. Certification is valid for two years. Events pursuing Responsible Sport Certification from the Council require a site visit and are responsible for covering the cost of travel and lodging (if necessary) for the CRS evaluator. All efforts are made to assign local CRS evaluators.

The certification is made up of five sections. These sections include Planning & Communications, Procurement, Resource Management, Access & Equity, and Community Legacy. Read the full CRS Certification Standard.


AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System
LEED: Green Venue Selection Guide
Live Earth: Greener Events Guide
Green Events Guide
The University of Vermont’s Certification for Sustainability Transportation
USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Certification
Green Sports Alliance Resource Center
Council for Responsible Sport Resources
Athletes For A Fit Planet Resources For Event Planners