Who is it for? What additional expectations will my client have when this standard becomes integral to business practice?
If I am a CEO
CEO’s are defined in ISO 20121 as ‘Top Management’. It requires commitment from Top Management through a declaration of values and a statement of guiding principles of sustainable development. It requires Top Management to delegate roles, ensure there is competence in the team, and to provide the necessary resources (time, knowledge, resources, money) to implement the management system. It requires Top Management to do a management review and to be part of the process which reviews performance, feeds back and sets improvement goals for the future.
If I am the event owner
Event owners can be event production organisations or the clients of event production companies. The event owner is the entity ultimately responsible for causing the event into action. It is therefore incumbent on the event owner to instigate an event sustainability management system and ensure it is implemented. If the event owner contracts an event production agency to produce the event on their behalf, it would be the event owner that instructs the event producer to adhere to or implement a management system on their behalf.
If I am an event practitioner
Although event practitioners will usually be middle management within an organisation, it is often those on the coal face that will recommend to top management that an event sustainability management system be instigated. Either way, it is the event practitioner that will need to put the system into action. The event practitioner will work according to the sustainable development principles and policy set down by the organisation, they will engage with and communicate to interested parties, identify and manage sustainable development issues, implement the sustainable procurement policy, do the measurement and reporting of impacts and implement any programs or other initiatives to reduce negative impacts and enhance positive legacies. They will work with Top Management on a management review to understand performance and to set new goals for future ongoing improvements.
If I am a supplier
Suppliers to the event industry will find increasing requirements for sustainability performance by their clients that are implementing event sustainability management systems. Suppliers need to have their own sustainability management systems in place, and they can follow the ISO 20121 so that they are also compliant and the products and services they supply the event help to meet the events sustainability goals. By ‘having your house in order’ you are able to pre-emptively offer solutions to your clients. Additionally you will better understand any contractual requirements for performance and impact reporting.
If I am a venue
Venues are part of the supply chain but can also produce events in their own right. For this reason, venues should implement a sustainable event management system and become compliant with ISO 20121. In one sense, a venue is an event owner, and in another it is a supplier. Read above for context.
If I am an industry association
One of the remits of industry associations is to compile and disseminate relevant event industry information and developments to its constituents. The ISO 20121 is an important standard to enter our industry and as such it is incumbent on industry associations to inform their members of the standard, how it will affect them and how to engage with it.
If I am a participant or attendee
Participants and attendees of an event are what is described in the standard as an ‘interested party’. All interested parties have a role to play in the successful implementation of an event sustainability management system. Participants can include talent, speakers, performers, sporting competitors, sponsors and media. Attendees are generally audience or delegates. The event organisers will set up various communications and engagement programs for each group of interested parties to encourage their active participation. If you are a participant or attendee of an event and the event organiser shows no evidence of implementing an event sustainability management system, you can play your part to advance sustainable development by asking why not!