Introduction to the ISO 20121 event sustainability management systems.
“Events are sometimes, by their nature, high profile and transient, with both positive and negative social, economic and environmental impacts. This International Standard has been drafted to help organizations and individuals improve the sustainability of their event-related activities.
This International Standard specifies the requirements of an event sustainability management system to improve the sustainability of events. It is applicable to all types and sizes of organizations involved in the design and delivery of events and accommodates diverse geographical, cultural and social conditions. At the same time it requires organizations to recognize their relationship with and impact on society and society’s expectations of events.
A management system standard challenges an organization to improve its process and thinking to lead to continual performance improvement and allows the organization the flexibility to be more creative about the delivery of event-related activities without detracting from the aim of the event. A management system standard is not a checklist or a reporting framework or a method of evaluating event sustainability performance.
This International Standard is intended to be applied flexibly and will allow organizations that have not formally addressed sustainable development to start to implement an event sustainability management system.
Organizations with existing management systems will be able to integrate the requirements of this International Standard into their existing systems. All organizations will benefit from the process of continual improvement over time.
The complexity of the system and the extent of documentation and the resources devoted to it will be proportional to its defined scope, the size of the organization and the nature of the organization’s activities, products and services. This is particularly the case for small and medium sized enterprises.
The success of the system depends on commitment from all levels and functions, especially from top
management. In addition, in order for such a management system to be successful, it needs to be flexible and integrated within the event management process and not just regarded as a component to be added on. For maximum effectiveness, its influence needs to extend throughout the supply chain, as well as the identified stakeholders. Figure 1 provides an overview of the event sustainability management system model for this International Standard.”