As sustainability is pushed to the top of the agenda for the event industry, coupled with the launch of standards and certifications, more events will be submitting for auditing of management systems and/or performance.
ISO 20121 standard has been launched and in our role an event industry organisations specialising in sustainability, we wish to establish a collective voice on what the event industry believes are essential attributes of those auditing sustainability performance.
It is up to us as an industry to contribute to the creation of what those audit team (auditor/technical expert) competencies and experiences could be – this is based on sector specific knowledge, skills and experience, as well of course as auditing process competency.
The successful uptake and effective implementation of the standard may be influenced by the quality of audits or auditors. While the standard was not produced just for auditing, but primarily for implementation and improved performance, we recognise organisations will want to have their implementation of the standard independently assessed for conformity with the requirements of the standard.
Draft Auditor Competency Standard:
ISO 17021: Conformity assessment – Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems – Part 4: Competence requirements for auditing and certification of event sustainability management
ISO (through CASCO) has created a draft technical standard for the competence requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of conformity assessment against ISO 20121. This document specifies the knowledge that must exist within the Audit Team undertaking external audits for ISO 20121.
The Draft Technical Standard is currently available to read and comment on. Comments due by May 15, 2013
Submit Your Comments
- Non members please email us for information on how you can access a copy of the draft standard.
Certification by Accredited Certifying Bodies
It is likely that the IAF (International Accreditation Forum), will establish parameters around ‘third-party’ auditing of ISO 20121, and the relevant national accreditation body (eg JASANZ, UKAS) will accredit ‘certifying bodies’ to assess conformity with the standard (sometimes called certification). It will be a requirement that those accredited certification bodies must have an Audit Team which has the competencies set out in ISO/IEC 17021-4.
You may also be interested to read the parent standard on auditing standards ISO 17021 or related standard on conducting audits ISO 19011.
Other Certification and Independent Auditing
It is not essential that third party auditing be undertaken. In fact many events and organisation will not be able to justify the cost. Other options are available including ’second-party’ schemes. Ensure any independent/external audit and recognition program also has a rigorous audit process and that their teams have the appropriate event industry, sustainability and auditing expertise.
The technical standard proposed by CASCO will only ever dictate the knowledge that the audit team must possess. It does not specify experience or qualify how the knowledge of the audit team can be demonstrated. We have taken this one step further and expanded the suggested requirements to include:
- Event Experience
- Event Sustainability Experience
- Best Practice Implementation
- Sustainable Development Knowledge
- Legals and Regulations Knowledge
- Practical and Academic Experience
- Management System Implementation
- Audit Process Understanding
- Industry Recognition of Expertise
Specific skills and subject matter can be additionally read here.