With sustainability as the key agenda for most of the organizations, organizations can now conduct sustainable events based on the international standard recently launched by ISO. As the impact of an event is most significant on the environment, organizers can follow implement this best practice and achieve sustainability. ISO 20121 – Event Sustainability Management System has been designed to help organizations improve the sustainability of their event related activities, products & services.
Before becoming an ISO standard, it was BS 8901 under the British Standard which was first launched in 2007 in the UK. Soon after its launch, the standard became so popular and of great interest for the event industries that it was decided to turn it into an international standard acceptable by universally.
One example of a sustainable event is the recently held London 2012 Olympics. London’s plans for organizing the Olympic Games this year came with a promise of legacy and sustainability. This commitment is made evident in all aspects of the games from the construction of game venues, waste and carbon management, promotion of sustainable transport to food sourcing. In fact, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is the first organizing committee certified to BS 8901 and their sustainability approach is built around five themes of Climate Change, Waste, Biodiversity, Inclusion, and Healthy Living.
Similarly, ISO 20121 will benefit organizations to be more financially successful and socially responsible, reducing their environmental footprint during the events. The standard is a collection of processes but not a checklist which needs to be implemented across the business for an event to be a sustainable. It does not set any performance requirement making it highly adaptable for organizations. ISO 20121 is applicable for all types of industries ranging from caterers, hoteliers, stage building, event organizing and other industries in event management.