The relentless commitment of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and its Local Organising Committee to establish new benchmarks for sustainability has resulted in the prestigious ISO 20121 certification being awarded to the ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships Finals Busan 2024 Presented by BNK Busan Bank (Busan 2024).
This marks the first occasion that an ITTF event has earned this esteemed certification.
“We take immense pride in achieving the ISO 20121 certification,” expressed ITTF President Petra Sörling. “This certification acknowledges our continuous efforts in responsibly managing the social, economic, and environmental impact of our events. The unveiling of ITTF’s Sustainability Action Plan last year marked a historic moment in our commitment to fostering a more sustainable future for table tennis. Moving forward, we remain steadfast in implementing our comprehensive plans, demonstrating an unwavering dedication to enhance the sustainability of every facet of our sport.”
Furthermore, Busan 2024 marks a historic achievement as the first non-multisport World Championships hosted in Korea Republic to receive ISO 20121 certification. This notable recognition follows the footsteps of major events like the Asian Games Incheon 2014 and the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Pyeongchang 2018.
The certification also holds special significance for Ryu Seung-min, Co-Chair of the Local Organising Committee, ITTF Executive Board Member, and member of the IOC Sustainability and Legacy Commission, “This certification reflects our commitment to not only hosting a world-class table tennis event but also shaping a more sustainable future in Korea Republic. As we count down to Busan 2024, we are poised to deliver an exceptional event and contribute meaningfully to the legacy of our country’s sports industry.”
ISO 20121 is an international standard offering guidance and best practices to manage events sustainably. To achieve certification, the ITTF and the Organising Committee developed a comprehensive event operation plan considering all relevant financial, economic, social, and environmental issues. This effort led to the planned reduction of costs, carbon emissions, and waste, as well as the effective management of venue biodiversity, along with the achievement of a diverse and inclusive workforce. The certification was awarded by the Korean Standards Association after an evaluation conducted in January 2024.
The pursuit of ISO 20121 certification inspired an innovative approach aimed at minimizing waste. The ITTF and the organisers are planning a second life for table tennis equipment utilised during the event through donation to local clubs and institutions. Even the accreditation badges and lanyards are not exempt, as they will be upcycled to create personalised luggage tags for all participants, ensuring a sustainable and thoughtful legacy beyond the competition.
Busan 2024 is scheduled to take place from February 16-25, 2024, at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Centre (BEXCO). This marks the Republic of Korea’s first-ever hosting of the ITTF World Championships Finals, a long-awaited milestone promising a unique experience for all. Forty men’s teams and forty women’s teams will compete for glory. The event also serves as a qualifier for the Olympic Games Paris 2024.
Sustainability in table tennis refers to the practice of ensuring ITTF and its stakeholders meet its needs without compromising the ability of future generations to do so. Taking the necessary steps to lead by example as an organisation, the ITTF became a signatory of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Sport for Climate Action Framework in 2022. This commitment is supported by striving goals, including a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and achieving Net Zero GHG emissions by 2040 – a resolute stride towards the Paris Agreement’s aim of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. Last year, ITTF unveiled its Planet Action Plan 2025 as a strategic roadmap outlining key goals to build a sustainable future for the sport. Find out more about the ITTF initiatives here.