The Green Room

I'm an ISO 2012-1 expert. AMA

I’m Ana Inácio and I implement Events Sustainability Management Systems, using ISO 20121 as a reference. I also deliver training courses and do certification audits with this standard. I started working with sustainable events when ISO 20121 didn’t exist, just the British standard BS 8901. I work with organisations of all shapes and sizes, from big players like the 2024 Paris Olympics and Formula E to caterers in dreamy places in France. Management systems provide a structure and a framework to integrate sustainability into the organisation’s strategy and operations. It doesn’t set performance levels, allowing for each organisation to define its journey.

I love developing teams, supporting people’s personal growth and see the transition of businesses to more sustainable models. With ISO 20121 you can do all of these, as well as inspire others to follow suit. Sustainability is my passion and I’m very lucky to do what I love as a job!

I’ll be here to answer your questions live on 2020-09-29T15:00:00Z2020-09-29T16:00:00Z.

You’ll need to sign up to the forum to take part.

Once you have signed up, feel free to add this to your calendar by clicking the three dots in the invitation above.

Talk soon!

HI Anna !
We could mette if you want :slight_smile:
Vous parlez français peut-être ?

Caroline Voyer
Conseil des événements écoresponsables

Bonjour, Caroline
Oui, je parle Français. :slight_smile:
Vous travaillez sur des événements écoresponsables?
C’est génial de pouvoir rencontrer de gens qui partagent les mêmes interêts et valeurs.
À bientôt,

1 Like

Hi Ana,
So happy you could join us for the AMA! How much does it typically cost for an organisation to achieve the ISO 2012-1 standard?

This is very variable, and it depends on organisation’s activities, number of sites, number of events, number of staff, etc. Let’s say a small caterer will need far less number of consultancy and audit days than a big sports event.

1 Like

Hey Ana, is there anything in the standard that you Think isn’t working and that you would change or improve?

1 Like

Hi Shelby,
I think the terminology of the standard is not very helpful in some chapters, e.g. issues. I would simplify the terminology. I would also reinforce the Supply Chain Management requirements, as I find them critical and not very robust in the standard text.

1 Like

Welcome everybody to this week’s AMA! Ana is here and ready to answer your questions.

Take it away Ana…

Thank you for inviting me! :slight_smile:

1 Like

In ISO 14001, the term “Issue” is only used to analyse Context, and then you have “environmental aspect” for the more technical stuff. I think this is far simpler for everyone.

1 Like

Hi Ana,
In our experience, smaller companies perceive the ISO20121 as being a lot of work. What should we say to them to reassure them that it is worthwhile?

Also, can you set out what types of organisations can be certified and what that means? i.e. can an AV supplier be certified? Does that mean that they can say every event they run is ISO 20121 certified?


Those are very good points!
Any supplier of the events industry can implement ISO 20121 and achieve certification. In this case, all the services provided by that supplier, in the events context, are certified. You don’t need to get a certification per event.

1 Like

The standard can be implemented in organisations of all sizes. If you already have some sort of management system, it will be easier, if not, there is a bit more to be done.
The complexity of the system should match the organisation size, i.e. a small company will have a simple system and a big one, a more comprehensive system.

1 Like

ISO 20121 doesn’t require a lot of documents; it’s more about demonstrating what you do and how you consider sustainability in your activities.

Hi Ana, I’ve just signed up to an intro to ISO2012-1. I set up a Sustainable Events Company this year and I’m looking at various training options to further my knowledge. I am keen to know how you actually apply ISO2012-1 in terms of event management and also if in the long run I would need to do the full course?

1 Like

Hi Lisa,
I think it would be beneficial to do a course that covers all the elements of ISO 20121 as they are all related to each other.
I’m starting a collaboration with Sustainable Events Alliance, to prepare some new materials.
If you have any burning questions about implementation, let me know and I’m happy to thelp.

1 Like

When managing events, I would say the supply chain management and indicators is a big part of ISO 20121 implementation.

1 Like

Thank you. Would you say in simple terms then that ISO2012-1 acts as a checklist that you can follow when planning an event - highlighting things to look out for?

1 Like

Not really, because ISO 20121 is a management system, it doesn’t tell you what sustainability actions you should put in place.
The standard gives you a framework to understand what is important to address in your event. And then you define the actions you should implement.

It also says you need to define Objectives so that you know how you can improve. So, let’s say reducing single-use plastic items is one of the things you find important to do, you would probably have an Objective “Zero Single Use Plastic Items in all events”.
Then, you need to find suppliers to provide plastic free solutions, and then measure if you were able to find alternatives to all uses or not.
If not, then, you can state that the objective will be 90% instead.
You can also communicate about this in your event or to the wider public.

All of this is considered in the standard.


Hi Ana,
Where is the best place to get training on ISO20121?