The Millennium Stadium has successfully achieved certification by BSI to BS 8901 making it the UK’s first certifiably sustainable event stadium.

The standard for Sustainability Management Systems for Events confirms the venue’s commitment to managing the social, economic and environmental impact of events at the Millennium Stadium.

Achieving BS 8901 is a major feat for Cardiff’s iconic stadium which was built in 1999 without many of the innovative design elements in new stadia. 

The certificate comes less than one year after the stadium bid to improve its sustainability credentials in line with the standard – which was launched in September 2010.

“The Millennium Stadium is leading the way in sustainability throughout the UK events industry and I am extremely proud to receive the British Standard,” said Millennium Stadium General Manager Gerry Toms.

“To attain the standard ahead of any other UK venue is a fantastic achievement and this is especially impressive when you consider the size and structure of our building, which was built over a decade ago.

“Sustainability has brought its challenges but with a lot of hard work we have proved that we can run our business more efficiently and build for the future.

“This sends a clear message to all our stakeholders, many of which have also stepped up their commitment to sustainability, and I look forward to the competitive edge the certification will afford us in the UK.”

Speaking about this success, Environment Minister, John Griffiths said: “Sustainable Development is all about making decisions that support the long term wellbeing of people and communities.

“I am delighted that Cardiff’s iconic Millennium Stadium is first UK stadium to achieve this sustainability certification and that the organisation’s hard work to attain high sustainability standards has been recognised. 

 “The stadium is also a signatory of the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Development Charter, an initiative that encourages organisations across Wales to put sustainable development at the heart of their work. 

“The success of the Millennium stadium reflects the Welsh Government’s own commitment to sustainable development as Wales is one of only three countries in the world with a statutory duty to promote sustainable development.

“I hope that other organisations in Wales will be inspired by the Millennium Stadium’s efforts to operate more sustainably and will be encouraged by the business benefits that sustainability invariably delivers.”

Stadium facilities manager Darren Crossman heads up the project which has introduced new  ways to incur savings through reduction of waste, lower energy use and re-use of equipment and infrastructure.

 “Sustainability is not just about being environmentally friendly it is the understanding that the way that we operate also has social and economic implications. As I like to put it, it is making sure that what we have today is here tomorrow,” said Darren.

The stadium’s unique palletised pitch system has played an important part, with rainwater harvesting below the grass beds, the re-use of root zone and the recycling of the 40mm rye grass turf in rugby clubs throughout South Wales such as Tondu RFC.

He added: “A visit to Tondu RFC is a great example of sustainability in action, where, like many neighbouring clubs, recycled Millennium Stadium turf is used to replenish the playing fields of the community game in Wales.”    

Tondu RFC Chairman John Evans said: “This initiative has proved a great benefit to the club as without the correct facilities our teams, from minis to seniors, could not play each week.”

At the Millennium Stadium, additional design elements include infra red controls fitted in the urinals to prevent unnecessary flushing, meters to monitor energy and water consumption, new LED lighting and lighting controls and alternative methods of water heating to allow boilers to be shut down in summer.

As well as the inbuilt design elements, sustainable operational initiatives are also important such as the promotion of public transport via the venue’s stakeholders on event day.

The Millennium Stadium Community Events initiative hosts 15 events per year to allow local charitable and community organisations to use the venue free of hire charge.

The Millennium Stadium Charitable Trust has distributed £3million worth of grants to more than 650 groups throughout Wales since it was formed in 2001.

Millennium Stadium caterers, Compass Group UK, ensure that all food on the Millennium Stadium’s menu is made from locally sourced ingredients.

Also, events at the Millennium Stadium have attracted more than one billion pounds into the south east Wales economy.

 “Sustainability is about much more than just being green,” says Viki Bell, Portfolio Manager Sustainability at BSI.

“Gaining certification to BS 8901 demonstrates that an organisation has taken into consideration its social and economic impacts such as community involvement and fair employment, is securing local investment and long term viability where possible as well as reducing carbon emissions and waste, as demonstrated by the Millennium Stadium.”