ISO 20121 Event Sustainability Management

In recent years the events industry has been trying to achieve a more environmentally friendly world. While the social and economic benefits associated with running large concerts and the like are beneficial, there is a lot of waste and other negative local environmental impacts.

ISO 20121

The ISO 20121 Management System Standard has been structured to implement sustainability into everyday management practices for organisations of all sizes. This standard was coincidentally launched around the same time as the 2012 Olympic Games.

The ISO 20121 is not a checklist, but a collection of processes and systems that your business needs to implement. It uses the management approach that thousands of organisations use around the world – like the standards set down by ISO 9001 (quality) and ISO 14001 (environmental). Some of these steps include identification of and evaluation of sustainable issues, operating measures, venue selection, supply chain management, communications and transport.

Businesses that become certified will not only help reduce social and environmental impact, but they will also increase potential business efficiency and help cut down on costs.

If your organisation becomes ISO 20121 certified, then it will hold onto this certification for three years. Each year it will be subject to a surveillance visit to make sure that it continually meets the requirements set out by the standard.

So what does Ĺ“sustainability mean in this context? It is how a business conducts its activities in a commercially successful way and provides a stronger society that’s having a reduced impact on our environment.

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The benefits are an organisation achieving ISO 20121 compliance are numerous. Internally it can bring the following benefits;

  • Clearer, simpler and more effective event planning and implementation.
  • It will clarify the strategy and purpose of the event, which will in turn result in a more creative and functional team of workers.
  • It will gel the management team and integrate combined thinking within the organisation, which will push efficiency capabilities.

Where smaller organisations are concerned, the standard is particularly beneficial, as it provides a flexible framework for both running a business as well as providing procedures that will help integrate new staff quickly into the system.

Social and Environmental Impact

Both social and environmental impacts have to be addressed, and this ISO standard can help by;

  • Decreasing carbon and emissions throughout the supply chain
  • Place the organisation in high regard within the community
  • Boost the motivation of employees, and attract the best possible talent to the organisation
  • Reduce the cost of materials, waste and energy
  • Enhance and strengthen the reputation with clients, partners and suppliers.

In time, ISO 20121 will become a requirement for any organisation that’s looking to operate in the events industry as sponsors, event clients, or local authorities. In Ireland it’s becoming more and more important as larger players in the chain are starting to demand it. It will allow enterprises to differentiate themselves in the market, and thus greatly improve their opportunity of creating more business.

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