ISO 20121 Implementation Steps

In order to make an authentic self-assessed claim of conformity to ISO 20121 you need to ensure you have your processes in place. Here is a quick guide to the steps to take:


1. Buy a Copy of the Standard

If you are going to assess your conformity to the standard, you had best have a copy of the standard at hand!
You can buy a copy of the standard through your national standards body. Purchase the standard

2. Read the Standard & Annex Guidance

Ensure you read all the clauses in the standard and all the explanatory guidance in the annexes. Ensure you understand what is involved in implementing the standard before you try to audit it!

3. Get the skills and competency you need

Competency in implementing a sustainability management system comes in two forms. First of course is the knowledge and skills on the wide range of subjects related to sustainable event management. Review your own knowledge by looking at the questions in our Accredited Professional Programme and also in the skills and competency component of our website. Second is a detailed understanding of what a management system is and how to effectively implement it.  In partnership with GreenShoot Pacific and Sustainable Event Management: A Practical Guide, we have a course on implementing ISO 20121. View the course!

4. Define the Scope

Ensure you understand what is included and what is excluded in the scope or boundaries of your management system. If you have a multi-venue or multi-site event are all locations included? If you are an event organising company that does several types of events, is this just for a single type of event or will it encompass all event types? 

4. Sample Event or Activities

Rather than develop the sustainable event management system in a vacuum, choose a real event project to frame the development of your management system agains. This will give you insight into the practical application of various administrative oversight and operational implementation.

5. Documentation and housekeeping

A major part of the management system is the creation of process documentation and evidence keeping. Consider what will be required for your situation and develop the required documentation. Read the Documentation requirements as a starting point here.

6. Documentation and housekeeping

Of course the next step is to actually put your framework into action. This means the housekeeping side, including administration, document keeping etc, but it importantly means enacting what your management system documents, protocols, processes and procedures are prescribing!

7. Assess conformity against the standard's requirements

Most organisations will wish to claim conformity to ISO 20121. To do this you need to be confident that you are adequately meeting the requirements of the standard. You can check your conformity through doing an internal audit, which in itself it actually a requirement of the standard. You can use the Internal Audit Tool to help. Alternatively set up your own self assessment checklist to crosscheck your processes, procedures, systems and documentation address each of the requirements of the standard.

8. Undergo an external conformity assessment or audit

Those organisations that wish to have external validation of their ISO 20121 implementation will next undergo an audit by an external party. You can choose either a Second or Third party conformity assessment. Read about the difference between these conformity assessments.

8. Make Conformity Claims

Use the correct language to communicate publicly your conformity to ISO 20121. You should conduct internal audits annually.

Read the simple guide to implementing ISO 20121.

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Information in this guide supplied by:
Sustainable Event Management: A Practical Guide