This paper examines the ISO 20121:2012 standard setting process and its broad context. The standard, which provides a sustainable events management framework, was created during the preparation for the 2012 London Olympics. The London Organizers pursued two main goals: First, they wanted to establish a long lasting legacy by creating the first sustainable Olympics. Secondly, they wanted to build solid governance processes in order to prevent environmental disasters that would have inevitable led to public criticism and a devaluation of the Games. Since the London Olympics, ISO 20121 has been applied in numerous contexts stretching from the Eurovision Song Contest to the Danish Presidency of the EU Council. It is also currently employed in the preparation of future Olympic Games. In order to better understand and frame the multi-scalar, complex and fluid transnational governance interactions at stake in this case, this paper uses the insights elaborated in the Transnational Business Governance Interaction Project (TBGI): Particular focus will be set on the linkages between the micro and the macro level – between the ISO 20121 sustainability framework and the local context engaged in its creation, and later application. The paper will also critically examine whether the local level approach created entry points for weaker actors or actors pursuing an agenda to protect broader public goods into the ISO process.
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