Representatives of the Australian event industry have participated in the development of recently launched international standard ISO 20121: Event Sustainability Management Systems.
These representative organisations, appointed by Standards Australia to the national committee, have recommended that the international standard be adopted and considered for an identical adoption as an Australian Standard.
Involvement in the sustainable event management movement is fast becoming expected of all event production and delivery. The committee believes the adoption of the International Standard by the Australian event industry will drive the change needed to see improved sustainability performance outcomes across the country.
By adopting the international standard as an Australian Standard, the committee believes that uptake and implementation of ISO 20121 by the domestic event industry will occur. “We are seeing many Australian events stand out as leaders in sustainability performance, particularly in the performing arts. They are addressing the social, environmental and economic impacts and benefits of their events and are not only leading in Australia but the world. We hope that this standard is adopted across all sectors of industry including big sport, and business events, with all events considering sustainability issues, impacts and opportunities in their event planning and delivery.” says Meegan Jones, from the Sustainable Event Alliance who also represented the Australian committee at several international working group meetings.
By embracing the international standard, it sends a message to the business, sports and tourism sectors. There is an increasing ‘demonstration of sustainability’ expectation within tenders and bids particularly within inbound congresses, symposiums, large corporate conferences and exhibitions and large sporting events. International organisations are already looking to ISO 20121 and how it is included, embraced or proposed by potential event destinations and organisations.
“Internationally, event organisers are increasingly including social, environmental and economic factors as a key factor in their decision making process. Australia’s adoption of ISO 20121 shows we are ready and able to deliver on these expectations” – says Australian committee chair Giselle Radulovic, who represents Business Events Sydney
The implementation of ISO 20121 requires a management system to be in place. This approach offers a strategic way to manage sustainability and ensures the inclusion of strategies, policies, processes, systems and actions that intertwine to support and manage event sustainability issues more efficiently, effectively and professionally.
With extensive global stakeholder engagement and involvement, the standard is something event organisers can follow to systematically address sustainability issues in the event planning cycle.
Integral to success is commitment by the organisation’s top management to sustainable development principles and that the team producing and running the event has skills and knowledge in sustainability and how it can be applied in action in event production.
Who can conform to the standard?
An event organiser, a single event, a venue or even the supply chain such as caterers and waste companies servicing the event industry can implement the standard.
Conformity Assessment and Certification?
Conformity with ISO 20121 means the organization has met the requirements of the standard in implementing an event sustainability management system. Assessing conformity and making claims can be in one of three ways:
- First Party: This is where an organization assesses its own system and makes a self-declaration of conformity with the requirements of the standard.
- Second Party: An external party (such as an individual or organization in the supply chain, consultant or industry association) assesses your conformity with requirements of the standard.
- Third Party: Certifying Bodies conduct conformity assessment audits. An accredited ‘scheme’ may be developed in the future and that is when ‘ISO 20121 Certified’ can be awarded.
Where Can to Find Out More:
Resources have been developed by Committee members to support industry to understand the standard and its implementation:
- Short Guide to Understanding ISO 20121
- Webcast on Implementing ISO 20121 by Sydney Festival
- Using the SEMS Tool to implement ISO 20121
- Frequently Asked Questions
Melbourne Information Session:
Members of industry associations that were part of the standard’s Australian committee are invited to attend an information session on ISO 20121 at no cost ($55 for non-members).
Monday 26th November 2012, 2pm to 4pm, Melbourne CBD.
Email with your name and member organisation.
Where to Buy a Copy of the Standard:
In Australia copies of the standard can be purchases through SAI Global. Search for ‘ISO 20121’ on their site or go directly to this link.