International organization for standardization (ISO) 20121 is a management system standard for the event industry to improve sustainability in the three-dimension manner, namely environmental, economic, and social impacts.
ISO 20121 is related to the British standard of BS 8901, which was first developed in 2007 for a sustainability management system for the events. Later, it was decided to create an international standard pattern to bring awareness across the world. So, in the London Olympics 2012, this model was visibly shown huge success in sustainability management systems by reducing the utility cost of 15% from better waste management and energy use.
Basically, this development initiative was taken by the members of the event industry from all over the world having ample experience in organizing events with sustainable leadership.
ISO 20121 is applicable to all organisations involved in the event industry, which may be small, medium, and large-sized entities. And it extends from caterers, sound engineers, stage builders, security companies, to independent event organizers.
In this contemporary world, our ecosystem is prone to a lot of environmental issues like air pollution, sound pollution, carbon-dioxide emissions, climate change, monsoon failure, etc. these ecological imbalances are to be tackled through innovative measures.
By implementing the ISO 20121 standard in the event organization, it makes sure customers and stakeholders are provided with energy-efficient, cost-effective, and a well-designed waste management system. According to the survey report published by UNFCCC, there will be an increase of 2% of global temperature in the year 2050. So the necessary measures should be taken to preserve the environment, and the appropriate steps to be followed to decrease the severity of the impact.
Endorsing the ISO 20121 will not only improve the environmental issues, but it will also benefit the event industry more profitable and competitive in the market. Starting from the domestic local festival to London Olympics 2012 and Paralympics games, it has shown a wide range of benefits by reducing the impact on local communities and cost savings through minimizing the waste generated and energy savings.
Similarly, there can be internal benefits of the organization they are
By acquiring the accreditation of ISO 20121, the organization shows that their contribution in protecting the environment and local communities, help in winning the tender in the market and provide a competitive edge over the other event organizers.
By acquiring this certification, it will help organisation immensely in the following areas;
Obtaining an ISO 20121 certification will make the organization for improved planning in arranging the events and this planning should not have any environmental impacts in the ecosystem.
The employees of the organization will get motivation in organizing the events in an eco-friendly manner, as they are involved in safeguarding the environment, it shows the uniqueness of the organization amidst the society. And it helps in achieving the goals of the organization with a reduced negative effect.
By applying the principles of sustainability, the organization will benefit from all perspectives like reduced wastages, energy conservation, procuring the local products, these all result in cost savings. Similarly, the efficient use of resources will fetch a long term financial benefit.
There will be a need for sustainable products for organizing a sustainable event. Therefore it eventually results in a harmless environment and creating awareness amidst the public regarding the measures taken by the organization to curb environmental degradation.
As there has been an increased sustainability issue, organizing an event in a sustainable manner will promote a positive image of the organization in front of the clients both locally and internationally. It marks a unique identity among the consumers and captivates the participants across the world.
As an ISO 20121 certified organization, it explicit the advantages over the other organization from the perspective of energy efficiency, cost-saving, recycling methods, minimum use of resources, non-depletion of water resources, eco-green approachment, etc. so, these organization will register a positive footprint in the event arrangements and eventually have an edge over competition than others in the events industry.
The organization’s vision or goal cannot be achieved because of internal or external issues. So, these should be sorted out by the following requirements, they are
The top administration is responsible for exhibiting initiative and duty, building up a sustainable development strategy and conveying ruled out jobs and duties inside the association.
One of the most important phases of event sustainability management system is the planning phase, it represents the action to be taken during risks, and state the objective of the sustainable event.
The planning and control of the association's activities and procedures will be resolved and actualized to address the ESMS execution, destinations, and targets. The association will likewise build up the significance of every one of these goals, targets and plans to service providers to illustrate their capacity to help destinations.
The organization should evaluate the steps for identifying non-conformities, and take appropriate preventive actions, with corrective measures. By eliminating the causes of non-conformities, the organization will attain sustained improvement.
In order to secure an accreditation of ISO 20121, the organization should make a self-assessment on required measures, to meet the prescribed standards and implement them accordingly. They are;
Before applying for ISO 20121 certification, ensure that the organization meets the prescribed standards, by referring to the manual copy of the ISO 20121.
Analyze the clauses, sub-clauses, and explanatory guidance present in the annexure and understand the particulars to be implemented, before conducting any audit.
The proficiency of the organization will be improved by acquiring a wide range of knowledge and skills related to the event sustainability management system. Similarly, having an eye on issues like greenhouse gas emissions, water depletion, biodiversity management, will contribute to achieving better sustainability of the organization.
Apart from acquiring the knowledge and skills with respect to event management, conduct sample events and observe the efficiency achieved by the organization and work on the flaws, which downgraded the performance of the entity.
The most important process is documentation, which states the framework of the functions carried out by the organization. Here, this framework should meet the standards mandated by the ISO 20121 and should be kept up to date to procedures, protocols, and processing of the event management.
This is the final body or third party audit conducted by the accreditation certifying authority, which carries out his/her independent audit and evaluates the sustainability management of the organization. Once the requirement of the ISO 20121 is met, the accreditation will be awarded to the respective organization by this final body
There are certain documents required to acquire the ISO 20121 accreditation.
Is ISO 20121 and BS8901 the same?
No, the ISO 20121 and BS 8901 are not the same document. It can be said that BS8901 is the pioneer for ISO 20121. The BS 8901 is a British based standard for a sustainable event management system. The ISO 20121 is an internationally recognized standard that evolved from the inspiration of BS 8901.
How should I know that this standard is applicable to me?
If you are related to the event industry management then it is applicable to you, similarly, this standard is provided to all event industry across the world, irrespective of the size of the organization. Even it can extend to an event supplier also.
What is the cost required for an ISO 20121 accreditation?
It can be obtained from the national standard body and the cost involved for the accreditation depends on the size of the event organizers, and the services involved in it. Mostly it will be budget-friendly for all types of event entities.
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