Sustainable Events

ISO 20121

ISO 20121 is the International Standard for Event Sustainability Management Systems.

ISO 20121: Event Sustainability Management Systems

What is ISO 20121?

Events, whether big or small, can take their toll on the environment around us. ISO 20121 has been developed to support events in managing their sustainability and promoting more responsible consumption. The standard can be applied to both organisations and individuals of all types and sizes.

ISO 20121 is a specification relating to a management system of an event or group of events – an event alone cannot claim compliance. Claims of conformity will differ depending on the scope of the management system, this could cover all events within an organisation or be centred around a single event. This means that the standard can be easily integrated with other management system standards such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 for example.



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ISO 20121 aims to

  • Provide best practice for event sustainability management

  • Consider economic, environmental, and social factors for a balanced overarching sustainable approach

  • Promote continual improvement

  • Plan and address potential risks and opportunities

The standard talks of governing principles which cover a range of sustainability topics but predominantly focus on Environmental, Social and Economic.

Benefits of ISO 20121

  • Easily adapted and integrated with other management systems standards

  • Identify cost savings through improved performance

  • Transparency of performance

  • Identify areas of risk and mitigate these

  • Encourage continually improvement

  • Achieve improved environmental results

Steps to Certification

  1. Step 1

    Complete a Quote Request Form so we can understand you and your business. We will then use this to personally prepare a proposal for your certification and define what is known as your 'scope of assessment'.

  2. Step 2

    We will then contact you to book your assessment with an NQA assessor. It consists of two mandatory visits that form the Initial Certification Audit. Please note that you must be able to demonstrate that your management system has been operational for a minimum of three months and has been subject to a management review and a full cycle of internal audits.

  3. Step 3

    Following a successful stage two audit, a decision is made. If positive, your certification will be issued by NQA, with both a hard and soft copy of the certificate awarded. Certification is valid for three years and maintained through surveillance audits (years one and two) and a recertification audit in year three.

See more details

Sustainable Events Toolkit

ISO 20121 Factsheet

Related Sustainable Events Content

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