ISO 20121 (full name: ISO 20121: 2012, Event sustainability management systems ) is a voluntary international standard for sustainable event management , created by the International Organization for Standardization . The standard aims to help organizations improve sustainability throughout the entire event management cycle.


Every event – from a village to a major sporting event like the Olympics – will have economic, social and environmental impacts. Water and energy resources can be generated. Sometimes events can be done on local communities. By 2005, practitioners within the industry have become aware of the need for more sustainable practices.

Specifically, the Head of Sustainability at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, David Stubbs, was looking for a London-based bid. [1]

He raised the issue with the British Standards Institution (BSI) in the UK. This article is only available in the following languages: BS 8901: 2007 Specification for a sustainable event management system with guidance for use . [2]After a period of review, the second version of BS 8901 was published in 2009. [3]

BS 8901 was received very soon by the international event industry, and was soon being widely used. For example, COP15, United Nations Conference on Climate Change, was certified as compliant with BS 8901 in December 2009. [4] The Microsoft Corporation achieved certification at BS 8901 at its Microsoft Convergence® 2009 event in New Orleans, Louisiana, in March 2009. [5]

Development of ISO 20121

Responding to this international Enthusiasm for BS 8901, in May 2009 proposal for international year sustainable event management standard Was Jointly Submitted to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) by BSI Group and ABNT , the Brazilian national standards body. [6]

Delegations of experts of the national standards institutions of 25 countries developed the standard, with another 10 countries as observers. Eight stakeholder organizations from the industry, or with a strong interest in sustainability, also participated. [7] Members of the sustainability team of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games were among the stakeholders who provided input into the development of the standard. [8]

Subsequently, ISO 20121: 2012 Event sustainability management systems – Requirements with guidance for use was published in June 2012. [9]

How ISO 20121 works

ISO 20121 is responsible for all members of the supply chain industry including organizers, event managers, stand builders, caterers and logistics suppliers.

The standard takes a management systems approach to running more sustainable events. It provides a framework to help identify the negative social, economic and environmental impacts of events. Organizers can then remove or reduce negative impacts through improved planning and processes.

This project should be selected for the purpose of selecting, transporting, recycling or recycling, creating a sustainable food strategy, promoting healthy living and creating skills, employment and business legacies.

The standard can reduce costs, carbon emissions and waste; better manage the biodiversity of venus; and achieve a diverse and inclusive workforce.

ISO 20121 also includes practical guidance on communications, operational planning and control, stakeholder identification and commitment, supply chain management and procurement, and issue evaluation.

ISO 20121 is suitable for all sizes and types of events.

Organizations can comply with ISO 20121 by: first party self-declaration; second party confirmation of conformity by parties having an interest in the organization, such as clients; or by certification by an independent third party, eg certification body .

ISO 20121 and the London 2012 Olympics

The London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and the Olympic Delivery Authority have been highly influential in the creation of the standard ISO 20121 in June 2012. [10]

The Head of Sustainability, David Stubbs, commented: „London 2012 is proud to be a catalyst for ISO 20121. This is a piece of the world of environmental and social impacts.“

Sebastian Coe, Chair of LOCOG commented: „London 2012’s relentless pursuit of sustainability has been made in the development of Olympic Park and the staging of the Games.“ [11]

Another early adopter of ISO 2012 was the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) in the UK, which was the venue for the London 2012 sailing events.

WPNSA reported that they are a result of the standard they achieve cost savings of around 15 percent through better waste management and electricity optimization. They also enhanced their international reputation as a sport and corporate event, and reduced the risks of legislative breaches. Finally, they are demonstrably operating in accordance with the ‚One Planet Living‘ principles of sustainable development, which as an organization they aspire to do. [12]

Following an extensive systems assessment, Plaza Athenee Bangkok A Royal Meridien Hotel has become the first „ISO 20121 Event Sustainability Management System“ hotel in the world. Since the implementation of the system in 2012, the hotel has been reduced by 9.4%, water by 5.03%, and paper by 4.9% year-on-year. Carbon footprint profiling revealed a reduction of 25.0% in plastic bottle use.

See also

  • Sustainable Event Management
  • International Organization for Standardization
  • BSI Group


  1. Jump up^ Pelham, Fiona (18 Jun 2012). „The story of ISO 20121“ . Positive Impact. Archived from the original on 2013-05-05 . Retrieved 12 Nov 2012.
  2. Jump up^ Press release. „BSI British Standards launches new standard for managing a more sustainable event“ . BSI . Retrieved 10 November 2017 .
  3. Jump up^ Thorley, Chantelle (28 April 2009). „BS8901 made easier to understand“. Event . Retrieved 3 December 2012 .
  4. Jump up^ Tanner, Dylan. „The Sustainability Of The Cop15 Copenhagen Meeting“ . Article Dashboard . Retrieved 3 December 2012 .
  5. Jump up^ „Microsoft Eyes First Sustainable Events Management Certification“ . Environmental Leader. Feb 17, 2009 . Retrieved 3 December 2012 .
  6. Jump up^ „ISO to develop sustainable event in the run up to 2012 Olympics“ . Tourism Review . Retrieved 3 December 2012 .
  7. Jump up^ Pdf (June 2012). „Sustainable events with ISO 20121“ (PDF) . ISO Central Secretariat. p. 10 . Retrieved 12 November 2012 .
  8. Jump up^ Frost, Roger (20 June 2012). „New ISO 20121 standard for sustainable events management“ . ISO . Retrieved 12 November 2012 .
  9. Jump up^ Bull, Rachel (20 June 2012). „Locog launches new global sustainability standard“ . Event . Retrieved 3 December 2012 .
  10. Jump up^ Press Release (20 June 2012). „London 2012 new international standards for sustainable event management“ . London 2012 . Retrieved 12 November 2012 .
  11. Jump up^ „Delivering change, Pre-Games Sustainability Report“ (PDF) . LOCOG. April 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 September 2012 . Retrieved 12 November 2012 .
  12. Jump up^ Case study. „Olympic venue uses electricity and waste management“(PDF) . BSI . Retrieved 13 November 2012