BS ISO 20121

BS 8900

BS ISO 20121:2012 is scheduled for release in June.

Register your interest now, or stay tuned to learn more about this standard.

Already implemented by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games to manage the sustainability of the delivery of the London Olympics, BS ISO 20121:2012 – Event sustainability management systems. Requirements with guidance for use is both based upon and supersedes BS 8901 – Specification for sustainability management system for events.

The methodology in this standard falls within ISO framework for management system standards, including:

  • Requirements to identify the events organization operational context
  • Identifying operational risks and opportunities
  • Guidance on issue identification and prioritization
  • Extensive guidance on implementation of the standard
  • Guidance on sustainable procurement/supply chain management
  • Also implements ISO Guide 83 – High level structure and identical text for management system standards and common core management system terms and definitions, making integration of multiple management systems easier

BS ISO 20121:2012 – Event sustainability management systems. Requirements with guidance for use helps events organizations, including suppliers and venues, save money by identifying unnecessary waste.

Whether reusing resources, to eliminating over-ordering, to reducing energy costs, BS ISO 20121 identifies those actions generally overlooked to promote efficiency, resourcefulness and sustainable ideals.

Standard specification goes beyond the technical to consider wider-reaching actions like how to better market to a more targeted audience, and how to promote mutual understanding with suppliers to get the most from your preparations.

What can BS ISO 20121 do for me?

Use of BS ISO 20121 should:

  • Ensure commitment to sustainable development from senior event management
  • Assist an events organization in stakeholder identification and engagement
  • Clarify the roles and responsibilities in making sustainable development happen
  • Provide a degree of authority to claims of improved sustainability
  • Encourage continuous improvement against sustainable development principles
  • Form the basis of management system certification

In a time when sustainability and environmental consideration climbs higher on the lists of those involved with business, incorporating BS ISO 20121 into your sustainability program makes your organization stand out as the most forward-thinking, cost-efficient and environmentally-minded among your competition.

Who should use BS ISO 20121?

BS ISO 20121’s diverse user base includes:

  • Organizations frequently organizing events
  • Events associations
  • Events planners
  • Venues and venue operators
  • Hotels
  • Caterers
  • Entertainment management
  • Schools
  • Sporting organizations
  • Events suppliers
  • Those already following BS 8901

How does the international standard differ from BS 8901?

Updated from its 2009 British Standard, this new ISO incorporates important and helpful changes to make integration and implementation more easily achieved.

BS ISO 20121 builds upon the benefits offered by its predecessor, making implementation straightforward for those already using BS 8901. BS ISO 20121 clarifies certain requirements, maintaining the benefits offered by BS 8901, while also offering a globally-recognized standard for managing events sustainably.

These changes include:

  • improved focus on the context in which the event organization exists;
  • explicit requirements to identify operational risks and opportunities;
  • more guidance on issue identification and prioritization;

To ease the implementation of BS ISO 20121, and to help you understand the benefits the methodology delivers, we have compiled some free material:

Smart Guide to BS ISO 20121:2012 – Event sustainability management systems. Requirements with guidance for use: Increasing the effectiveness of your event through sustainability

Our exclusive downloadable guide gives you all the information you need about BS ISO 20121:2012 in accessible language to highlight the uses of the new standard, illuminate the ease of transition between BS 8901 to the international standard, and explain the benefits of implementing ISO 20121 in your business’s events dealings.

Case Studies

Google Case StudyGoogle case study: Zeitgeist conference 2009, Zeitgeist – The general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era. The main objectives of the annual conference Zeitgeist hosted by Google, were to build and create stronger business relationships and to be seen as a thought leader.

The focus for the 2009 Zeitgeist conference was to examine the current state of the environmental world; and how businesses can work together to influence and facilitate change. Given this conference theme, it was natural for Google to run the event in a sustainable manner.

The Zeitgeist conference was used as a practical illustration for the implementation of BS 8901.


MPI Case StudyMPI case study: The European Meetings & Events Conference

The conference took place on 18-20 April 2008 and up to 750 delegates attended. It provided an exciting variety of educational and social events for meetings and events professionals to network and create new relationships, share knowledge and new ideas with an international audience.

The focus for this year’s conference was on sustainability. The event management system used by MPI for delivering this event was the first to go through a third party certification process for BS 8901. 

Manchester Festival

Case study: Manachester International Festival

Recognizing that sustainability is at once both an urgent issue of our time and an important requirement for the long-term success of the Festival, a series of links with sustainability experts were formed.

One of these links was with Organise This – a Manchester-based event management company which produces events designed to have a positive impact on the environment and the local community. Out of this arose the opportunity to trial an implementation of BS 8901 across four events during the 2007 Manchester International Festival. 

Visit our Case Studies page to access more free case studies surrounding BS 8901.

Press Releases

RELEASE: COP15 certified to British Standard for sustainable event management.

BS 8900:2006Guidance for managing sustainable development

BS 8900:2006 is designed to help organizations to develop an approach to sustainable development that will continue to evolve and adapt to meet new and continuing challenges and demands. It offers clear practical advice with which to make a meaningful contribution to sustainable development.

This standard guides organizations towards effective management of their impact on society and the environment, along the route to enhanced organizational performance and success.

This standard is also due for revision, and will be released in due course.


BS 8902:2009Responsible sourcing sector certification schemes for construction products. Specification

BS 8902:2009 provides a framework for the development of sector certification schemes for responsible sourcing of construction products, and BS 8902 includes specific requirements for audit and review, which are not to be found in BS 8900.

It gives requirements for the management, development, content and operation of sector certification schemes for responsible sourcing and supply of construction products. It does so in alignment with the guidance given in BS 8900:2006 – Guidance for managing sustainable development.


BS 8903:2010Principles and framework for procuring sustainably. Guide

BS 8903:2010 sets out a comprehensive framework to help management with sustainable and economic development.

Applicable to both private and public sector, following these guidelines helps you implement sustainable procurement processes across all supply chains. BS 8903 also helps you put the correct measures in place to test sustainability.


BS 8904:2011Guidance for community sustainable development

This standard follows is the latest in the BS 8900 series of sustainable development standards and continues in line with BS 8900: 2006. BS 8904:2011 offers guidance in defining what sustainable development means and the part it plays in your community.

BS 8904 assists community leaders in understanding and implementing sustainable development. This helps them strengthen communities and promote lasting economic and social stability and reduce their environmental impacts.


BS 8905:2011Framework for the assessment of the sustainable use of materials. Guidance

BS 8905:2011 provides a framework for the concepts, techniques, tools and methodologies that can be used to support decisions surrounding the sustainable use of materials.

BS 8905 can help your organization select materials that maximise positive social, environmental and economic contributions and minimize negative impacts. This will in turn help to boost your reputation, increase the resilience of your supply chain and reduce the risk of negative publicity.


Making Events More Sustainable: A Guide to BS 8901

Though it contains some information specific to BS 8901, this companion book for sustainable events contains invaluable information for those already using BS 8901 considering purchasing BS ISO 20121 or those who are simply curious about how standards could help them make the most of their events and their budgets.





 Your basket
Your basket is empty