ISO 20121 Certification
ISO 20121 Certification - Event Sustainability Management System

ISO 20121 Certification - Event Sustainability Management System

Welcome to our ISO 20121 Certification Web Site

Sustainable Event Certification (SEC) provides certification to the international standard ISO 20121 which specifies the requirements for an Event Sustainability Management System to improve the sustainability of events. Certification (often mistakenly called 'accreditation') provides independent recognition that an organisation has successfully implemented the standard. 

SEC was involved in creating the original British Standard BS8901 from which ISO 20121 was developed; since 2008, we have been providing training, tools and certification to a range of organisations in the events industry in the UK and aboard. SEC is the only certification organisation dedicated solely to helping the events industry achieve ISO 20121.

Our mission is to help you understand ISO 20121 by taking the jargon out of the standard and to provide you with a low cost route to achieve ISO 20121 without the need to hire consultants or undertake expensive training courses.
Our focus is in helping you build your capability and knowledge to enable you to make the changes needed to you management system to achieve ISO 20121 certification.
Please contact if you would like to know how we can help you achieve ISO 20121 certification or visit isit to learn more about ISO 20121.
About ISO 20121

'ISO 20121 – Event Sustainability Management Systems' is a management system standard that has been designed to help organisations in the events industry improve the sustainability of their event-related activities, products and services. The standard encourages organisations to take greater consideration of environmental, social and economic issues within their strategy and operations and in the products and services that they provide.
The standard applies to all organisations in the events industry – not just event organisers. Venues, caterers, sound & lighting, security, staging, agencies can all achieve ISO 20121 certification – along with corporate and public sector event teams.
Through the adoption of ISO 20121, an organisation’s management system is geared towards making the organisation more economically successful whilst reducing its environmental footprint and enhancing its contribution to social prosperity and progress. Find out more about ISO 20121 by visiting
ISO 20121 Certification

In order to demonstrate that you are meeting the requirements of ISO 20121, you can be “certified”* to the standard. Certification (often mistakenly called 'Accreditation') is the process through which an independent and competent organisation will come and review your management system to see if it fulfils the requirements of ISO 20121, and will issue you with a certificate of conformance. (*People often mistakenly use the term “accredited” to ISO 20121 – the correct term however is “certified”.) 
The certification applies specifically to the management system that you are operating to deliver your event related activities, products and services.
One of the key benefits of ISO 20121 certification is that it will enable an organisation to differentiate itself in the marketplace and hence improve its chance of winning new business.   Major public sector and private sector clients are referencing ISO 20121 in their tender documents as they work to ensure that their own sustainability policies are being implemented.
Sustainable Event Certification (SEC) undertakes ISO 20121 certification assessments to verify that your system is designed in accordance with ISO 20121 and is operating effectively. The ISO 20121 certification process involves interviewing key personnel and reviewing key management system documentation. This usually requires a one or two day visit to your premises.

A key point is the degree of formality around your management system – in other words, the extent of the documentation and records that exist that illustrate how your management system is operating. For small organisations this may be challenging. However, documenting how your organisation operates can prove to be extremely beneficial in terms of standardising the way you operate to ensure quality is maintained and customer expectations are met and exceeded. Managing and maintaining records is also crucial, particularly to minimise risks and to ensure actions can be followed through and verified. 

Evidence needs to be sufficient to demonstrate that the event sustainability management system is an integral part of the event management process and not an additional 'add-on' component. Following the certification assessment, and as long as there are no major problems, then you will be issued with a Certificate of Conformance to ISO 20121.
Retaining the certificate will require annual checks to ensure the management system is continuing to work effectively.
It is expected that demonstrating compliance to ISO 20121 will become a minimum requirement for anyone wishing to operate in the events industry as event clients, sponsors, local authorities and other clients choose to work with organisations that have implemented the standard.

ISO 20121 Certification Process
The ISO 20121 Certification process involves the following steps:
1.    Self-assessment: this helps you decide whether you are ready for certification (contact us at for a free Self-assessment Checklist).

2.    Pre-Assessment Documentation Review: this involves providing key documentation to the certifier who will review the documentation and assess your readiness for certification. A Documentation Review report will be issued identifying strengths and weaknesses in your management system as well as those gaps that need to be addressed prior to progressing to the Certification Assessment.

3.    Certification Assessment: this usually involves a series of meetings with key personnel to discuss the management system and conduct a deeper dive into the management system to look for records and other evidence that demonstrates that the system is operating.

4.    Certification Assessment Report and Certificate: As long as there are no major problems (or non-conformities) then you will be issued with a certificate of conformance to ISO 20121.
The overall certification process can take between 4 to 12 weeks depending on how well the organisation has prepared for certification.
To retain certification, you will need to undergo annual re-assessments and be able to show that you are continually improving.
If you are looking to be certified to ISO 20121 then please contact us at and we will be able to provide you with a quote for ISO 20121 certification.
How can Sustainable Event Certification (SEC) help you?
SEC can assist you every step of the way on your journey to ISO 20121.
To get you going, we have created a simple ISO 20121 Checklist that will help you determine how well you are positioned against the ISO 20121 standard and where you main gaps are – email us for a copy at and begin your journey to ISO 20121.
We can provide a short 1 to 2 hour ISO 20121 Briefing to help you understand what the standard is about, what you need to do and what the benefits are.
We can provide in-house half and one day ISO 20121 Training to your teams to get them fully up to speed and engaged.
We can equip you with a range of ISO 20121 Tools and Templates from our toolkit to help you rapidly develop the elements of your management system that are required by ISO 20121.
And of course, we can undertake your ISO 201212 Certification Assessment to certify you to the standard.
So, if you want to take a quick test to see how well your management system currently compares to the requirements of ISO 20121 then drop us an email at and we will send you our checklist to get you going.
If you have any other questions about ISO 20121 then please do not hesitate to contact us at
Copies of ISO 20121 can be purchased from the ISO Store at
About Sustainable Event Certification (SEC)

SEC is the only certification organisation dedicated solely to supporting the events industry on ISO 20121. We have certified organisations from all across the events industry to ISO 20121 (previously BS8901) including venues, event organisers and event suppliers. 

Our goal is to help provide a low cost solution to help you on the road to ISO 20121 certification.  For more information either email us at or visit
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ISO 20121 Certification - Event Sustainability Management System