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ISO 20121 Event Sustainability Steps to Certification

ISO 20121 Event Sustainability Steps to Certification Photo

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ISO 20121 Event sustainability Steps to Certification

Including ISO 20121 sustainability event management system is a substantial task for any event organisation but a very valuable one. We have developed a step by step guide to aid you in implementing the standard during your journey to certification by us.

Guidelines for implementing ISO 20121 ESMS certification

Know the standard

Initially you should read the ISO 20121:2012 Event Sustainability Management Systems pages on our website, and download the brochure which explain the standard in detail.Contact the Certification Europe team who can provide you with the information and support you need to make the choice for your company when selecting this standard.

Develop your sustainability policy

 Your event’s sustainability policy will affirm your commitment to complying with the legal and regulatory requirements of the standard, to continual organisational enhancements and improvement; and to the reduction and subsequent deterrence of pollution by your organisation.

We recommend that once you have developed your event’s sustainability policy that you share it with your suppliers, the media and the public attending your event as they will be active part in your achievement. Please contact the Certification Europe marketing team for further information on how you can promote your ISO 20121 certification and event’s sustainability policy.

Develop and review objectives

Once you have outlined an event’s sustainability policy you should now identify the aspect of your organisation and your event that impact on the environment. You should also ascertain the legal and regulatory requirements protruding to your organisation in the region. Finally we recommend that you develop objectives and targets for sustainable improvement within the organisation and a management programme to achieve them. The management programme should identify a team of staff members who will become owners of tasks for the organisation.


Once you have developed your processes and assembled a team of staff members to work on your journey to ISO20121 certification it is essential everyone understands the standard and what is involved in becoming certified. We offer a wide range of ISO 20121 training courses to meet the needs of your organisation, which can be tailored to your organisation’s needs. Please click on the training tab for further information.


As an accredited certification body we cannot implement an Event Sustainability Management Systems for you. However we can perform an ISO 20121 Gap Analysis Audit which will identify where your organisation meets the requirements of ISO 20121 and where gaps exist. In summary the assessment takes a snap shot of the organisation at a point in time, and assesses how it would match up to the main sections of the standard ISO20121. Following the assessment, the auditor/audit team will produce a documented report on any areas where existing practices may fall short of the requirements of the standard. This allows the organisation to have a clear understanding of the areas that need to be addressed in order to progress towards formal certification.


The ISO 20121 Certification assessment is a two stage process; Stage one: Pre-certification audit and Stage two: Certification audit.

The Stage one audit is an initial review of your event management system, the auditor will check that your company’s policies, manuals and procedures meet the minimum requirements of the standard.

The Stage 2 audit is an audit of the effectiveness of the system, the auditor will close out on any issues highlighted during stage one and will dig deeper into your management system to ensure best practice environmental management is being embraced by the organisation.

ISO 20121 ESMS Certification

Once you have successfully completed your last audit we will issue your company with a certificate of registration, clearly explaining the scope of your management system. The certificate is valid for three years. You are required to submit your management system for assessment post certification via the surveillance process. The first surveillance visit is due within six months of the recommendation of your certification. Thereafter frequency of surveillance will be agreed between you and your auditor but will at minimum be conducted annually.



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