ISO20121 international sustainability initiative

isoISO 20121 is an internationally recognised management system standard designed to help organisations in the events sector improve the sustainability of their event related activities, products and services. The Standard is based on an earlier British Standard called ‘BS 8901 Specification for a Sustainability Management System for Events’, which was first developed in 2007. Due to the high level interest in BS 8901, it was decided to create an international version of the standard to coincide with the London 2012 Olympics. The resulting Standard: ISO 20121: Event Sustainability Management Systems was launched globally in 2012 by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).

In short, ISO 20121 represents current best practice in documented management systems for events and festivals globally.

What are we doing about it?

earthcore has a goal of achieving certification to ISO 20121, and developed the earthcore Sustainability Policy back in 2012 as an initial step towards achieving this goal. This Policy contains a number of commitments, which are passed on to suppliers and contractors and are also used to guide decision making for the event. Examples of sustainability initiatives which have been guided by earthcore’s Sustainability Policy are shown below.

Showcase the region

Use the event to showcase and promote local and seasonal produce. Promote tourism by communicating accommodation options and local attractions. Partner with local farmers markets, food cooperatives or other food programs.

Encourage sustainable transport

Use the event to encourage uptake of sustainable transport by incentivising public transport, mass transit, bikes and walking. Offer a platform to promote local transport initiatives (e.g. bike hire/repair).

Buy, sell & promote sustainable products

Review procurement throughout the event life cycle giving preference to sustainable options (e.g. eco-labelled, non-toxic, fair trade, local, sustainable manufacturing, cruelty free, low carbon footprint, or low water footprint etc.).

Procure event suppliers and accommodation based on their sustainability credentials, giving preference to locally based suppliers. Involve sustainable stallholder options in the event.

Support local campaigns

Make the event relevant by promoting local causes, programs or initiatives such as; donate a portion of profit to aligned local charitable organisations, partner with community groups to raise awareness of their services/message and donate salvaged goods, materials or consumables to local charities after the event.

Embrace cultural and artistic diversity

Showcase local musical, artistic and creative talent and provide an environment for them to network and collaborate. Promote local creative or artistic talent by including them as stallholders, workshop providers, musicians or artists.

Over the last few years, earthcore’s management plans and internal procedures and processes have been progressively developed to be in line with the requirements of ISO 20121: Event Sustainability Management Systems and we are pleased to announce that we are now in a position to apply for formal certification to this Standard. A third party independent auditor has been enlisted to undertake the audit, and the process will commence next month. Should we be successful, earthcore will be one of only a handful of organisations in the events sector in Australia to have achieved this benchmark.