What is ISO 20121?

Event sustainability can be achieved via an ISO 20121 certification. It focuses on how an organisation continues to run its activities in a commercially successful way whilst contributing towards a stronger and more just society by reducing its impact on the environment. Due to the high-level interest in sustainable events in recent years, the launch of ISO 20121 was created and launched in coordination with the London Olympics 2012.

It was implemented in 2012 hoping that all businesses and every international organization would in time implement ISO 20121 and ISO standards as a social responsibility. Addressing sustainability impacts wasn’t easy but was a necessity and is even more so currently. The aim of ISO 20121 is to give organizations guidance on social responsibility relevant to event sustainability.

ISO 20121 specifies the requirements for an Event Sustainability Management System to improve the sustainability of events. The standard applies to all types and sizes of organisations involved in the events industry – from caterers, lighting and sound engineers, security companies, stage builders and venues to independent event organisers and corporate and public sector event teams.

To achieve certification, an organisation will need to demonstrate that it has considered within its management system all key financial, economic, social and environmental issues relevant to its operations; focusing solely on environmental issues will not be sufficient.

What are the benefits of ISO 20121?

By adopting an ISO 20121 certification and adopting event sustainability management systems within your organisation, you can bring a number of internal benefits to an organisation including:

  • Boost employee motivation, attract the best talent and improve retention.
  • Enhance reputation and strengthen relationships with key clients, suppliers, partners and other external stakeholders who hold similar values.
  • Achieve cost savings with respect to material consumption, waste and energy.
  • Reduce carbon emissions over the entire event supply chain.
  • Strengthen the position of the organisation within the community.
  • Challenges “business as usual” and drives creativity and innovation which in turn can provide organisations with a competitive edge.

Publicising your commitment to sustainable events will raise your company’s profile and also lead to better community awareness of environmental activities. It will also demonstrate your commitment to the environment and provide confidence and credibility to your customers and trade partners.

How we can help

Blackmores specialise in helping you to implement and maintain your ISO 20121 Event Sustainability Management System across London, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, and UK-wide. We can also assist with international locations, having experience of working in 27 other countries.

  • Conduct an ISO 20121 Gap Analysis – To help establish your strengths and weaknesses.
  • ISO 20121 E-learning – Learn at your own pace with our online courses via the isologyhub
  • ISO 20121 isologists® – We have a skilled team of consultants to help you implement a Sustainable Event Management System. From London to the UAE, we have experience working internationally across many sectors.
  • Internal Audits – We can help you to plan and conduct Internal Audits to verify your compliance with ISO 20121.
  • On-Site Support – We can provide support during External Audits carried out by Certification Bodies.
  • Request a quote for Certification – We can send a request for a quote to 3 UKAS-certified Certification Bodies on your behalf. This is done free of charge on request.

Need help with ISO 20121 consultancy? We’d be happy to help, simply Contact Us

How can ISO 20121 Certification help win more Tenders?

In a variety of industries, ISO 20121 certification is now a very common demand during the PQQ (Pre-Qualifying Questionnaire) stage of the tendering process.

It can be challenging to successfully structure, format, and communicate in your tendering application document how your company manages it’s environmental impact related to hosted events.

Achieving ISO 20121 Certification means your business will now have a well-documented management system that has been implemented and executed. Having these policies and procedures in place now means that the majority of the responses to tendering questions will be easily accessible.

ISO 20121 and the Sustainable Development Goals

The world is facing a crisis: poverty, hunger, inequality and climate change are just some of the issues we need to address.

In 2015, world leaders came together to create 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) which aim to tackle these issues, to build a better world by 2030.

ISO 20121 can be used to meet the following goals  

Further resources


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147 How Haymarket are leading the way in Sustainable Event Management with ISO 20121
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What is iso 20121

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