ISO 20121 Certification Mark

Event sustainability management systems

Event sustainability management systems

Certification: TÜV SÜD ISO 20121 Certification Mark sample

Management System Certification / Voluntary Certification with Accredia accreditation

Basis of certification: 

TÜV Italia S.r.l. 

Standard owner:

ISO - International Organization for Standardization

What does the ISO 20121 standard define?

  • ISO 20121 is a globally recognised Events Sustainability Management System standard, released by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 2012. The standard specifies the requirements of an event sustainability management system to improve the sustainability of events.
  • ISO 20121 Events Sustainability Management System applies 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.
  • ISO 20121 offers guidance and best practices to manage events and control their social, economic and environmental impact.
  • ISO 20121 has been developed to relieve the strain on local resources, reducing the potential for conflict in communities where an event is hosted.
  • There are 3 Categories of Organization involved in in the design and delivery of events:
    • A – Organization responsible of the Events Sustainability Management System. In this case it is possible to certify the Organization, which is responsible to organize Sustainable Events (cat. A1), or to certify only 1 event -single edition or periodic, e.g. annual event (cat. A2)
    • B – Organization of the supply chain, involved in sustainable events (e.g. Catering, security, stewardship, marketing, etc)
    • C – Location for sustainable events

What does “Certification” or the issue of a certification mark according to ISO 20121 by TÜV Italia S.r.l. mean?

  • The customer has submitted to voluntary certification audit, according to defined criteria (ISO 20121 standard).
  • A certificate and the authorisation to use a certification mark are only issued when all of the non-conformities from the certification audit are addressed and the Events Sustainability Management System of the organization meets all the requirements of the standard.
  • The validity of the certificates and/or certification marks is:
    • three years and maintained through the annual surveillance every 12 months and the complete review of the management system after three years – in case of Cat. A1, Cat. B, Cat. C
    • in case of Cat. A2 the validity of the certificates and/or certification marks is only during the Event.

How is the assessment / audit performed?

Independent and qualified experts (auditors) apply the following auditing techniques:
For Cat. A1, Cat. B, Cat. C, the process is the same applied for the certification of the other management systems.

  • Document review: 
    Before the audit (voluntary)
  • On-site audit:
    Certification Audit Stage 1 and stage 2
    Surveillance audits every 12 months (2 SA audits in the certification cycle)
    Recertification Audit after three years

Only for Cat. A2, the process is:

  • Document review: 
    Before the audit (voluntary)
  • On-site audit:
    Certification Audit Stage 1

Stage 2 Certification performed before (planning), during (implementation) and after (evaluation) the Event.

What is beyond the scope of certification according to the ISO 20121 standard?

  • Applies to all management-system certifications: This certification does not constitute product certification. Certification thus does not provide any direct statements on the quality of a product or service of the certified customer.
  • Certification according to ISO 20121 does not mean that the company manufactures products or provides services of higher quality.
  • Certification according to ISO 20121 does not guarantee that the organisation or its supply chain will have negligible/ very low social, economic and environmental impacts where an event is hosted.
  • Certification according to ISO 20121 does not guarantee that an organisation is equipped to mitigate the risks and costs associated with sustainable development choices related to event management.
  • A certification to ISO 20121 does not confirm that the technical and organizational measures taken by the company for managing events are sustainable irrespective of their size are functioning without errors during the design, operations and evaluation of these events.

Next Steps

Site Selector