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New ISO Standard for sustainable events management


New ISO Standard for sustainable events management – ISO 20121:2012

ISO 20121:2012 Event sustainability management systems – Requirements with guidance for use supports the organisers of events of all types – sporting, business, cultural, political – in ensuring sustainability in their activities. ISO 20121 will help ensure that events, ranging from local celebrations to 'mega events' such as the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, leave behind a positive legacy. The Standard is relevant to all members of the event industry, including organisers, event managers, stand builders, caterers, and logistics suppliers.

ISO 20121 has been created by the event industry for the event industry and over 30 countries and liaison bodies participated in the work. Members of the sustainability team for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games are among the stakeholders who provided input to the Standard. The Head of Sustainability, David Stubbs, says, 'London 2012 is proud to have been the catalyst for ISO 20121. This is a piece of legacy with the potential to transform how events around the world consider their economic, environmental, and social impacts.'

The London Olympic Organising Committee is using ISO 20121 to help make the 2012 Games the most sustainable in history. Phil Cumming, Corporate Sustainability Manager at London 2012, says, 'Through the implementation of a sustainability management system for events, London 2012 will truly have raised the bar for demonstrating what can be achieved with sustainability.'

Conferences, concerts, sporting events, exhibitions, and festivals can offer a wide range of public, local community, and economic benefits. However, staging an event can also generate negative economic, environmental, and social impacts, such as material waste, energy consumption, and strains on local communities.

ISO 20121 provides the framework to identify the potentially negative social, economic, and environmental impacts of events by removing or reducing these impacts, and to benefit from improved planning and processes. The Standard uses the management systems approach familiar to thousands of organisations worldwide through the success of Standards such as ISO 9001 (quality management) and ISO 14001 (environmental management). Using a recognised international framework will enable leaders in sustainability to demonstrate their actions in a credible and transparent way.

Order ISO 20121:2012 from or call 0800 782 632 during business hours, or email

Note: You can order ISO Standards from or call 0800 782 632 during business hours or email Members of Standards New Zealand receive a 20% discount on all NZS and AS/NZS Standards, and a 10% discount on all international Standards. Visit our membership page for more information.

Related Standards
AS/NZS ISO 9001:2008 Quality management systems – Requirements
AS/NZS ISO 14001:2004 Environmental management systems – Requirements with guidance for use
ISO 25639-1:2008 Exhibitions, shows, fairs and conventions – Part 1: Vocabulary
ISO 25639-2:2008 Exhibitions, shows, fairs and conventions – Part 2: Measurement procedures for statistical purposes
Related article
Event sustainability management – Standard in development, Touchstone June 2010

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