Sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs
Brundtland Report
There is much confusion about what the term sustainability means. The important point to note is that sustainability is not just about being "green" and more environmentally responsible – it requires social and environmental issues to be addressed. The adoption of an effective event sustainability management process within an organization will have impacts in several areas:

Financial Benefits

Achieve costs savings concerning material consumption, waste, and energy;

Better employee productivity;

Companies spend $20 in labor to file a document, $120 in labor to find a misfiled document and $220 in labor to reproduce a lost document.

7.5% of all documents get lost, 3% of the remainder get misfiled.

Managers spend an average of 4 weeks a year searching for or waiting on misfiled, mislabeled, untracked, or lost information.

Boost employee motivation, attract the best talent and improve retention;

Business Benefits

Simpler, clearer and more effective systems and processes;

Greater integrated management and consolidated thinking resulting in improved efficiencies and stronger teamwork;

Enhance reputation and increases the confidence of key clients, business partners, suppliers, partners, and other external stakeholders when working with the organization that possesses ISO 20121;

Complies with national, regional, and international laws and regulations;

Marketing Benefits

Provides differentiation as a competitive advantage for the organization;

Strengthen the position of the organization within the community;

Environmental Benefits

Benchmarking, measuring, documenting, and reporting energy intensity improvements and their impact on greenhouse gas emissions;

Reduce carbon emissions over the entire event supply chain.

What is ISO 20121?
ISO 20121, published on 15 June 2012, was developed by the event industry for the event industry. Delegations of experts of the national standards institutions of 25 countries developed the standard, with another ten countries as observers.

ISO 20121 applies to any organization or individual – including clients, suppliers, and event managers – involved with all types of events, including exhibitions, sporting competitions, concerts, etc. It is as relevant for small conference meetings as large-scale sporting events.

In simple terms, ISO 20121 describes the building blocks of a management system that will help any event-related organization to:

Continue to be financially successful
Become more socially responsible
Reduce its environmental footprint
Why do companies need ISO 20121?
Events can be "just for a good time" (and there's nothing wrong with that), or they can provide the occasion to meet up with other professionals, show off the new developments and signing commercial contracts, achieving sporting records, or creating a dialog between different business communities, cultural or technological introduction.

However, there can be a downside to events. The "great time we had today" can leave an aftermath of problems for tomorrow. Events take a heavy toll on natural resources and the environment. They can generate significant waste, put a strain on local resources like water or energy, or even ignite tensions within a community. To demonstrate the reality, here are the figures for the typical conference attendee pollution outcome:

discards or waste per day
An added challenge is the number of different partners and suppliers involved in organizing and servicing an event. In response, individual event professionals and companies have begun developing tools to address one or several of these challenges. With ISO 20121, you can make your event sustainable, no matter its type or size.

ISO 20121 challenges "business as usual" and drives creativity and innovation, which in turn can provide organizations with a competitive edge and preserve the opportunities for future generations.

of the above is landfill waste
1.16 kg
of CO2e emissions per day
176 kg
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