What is the Best Venue Management System

Sustainable event management according to ISO 20121

Sustainability in the event industry has developed into a real competitive factor: The conversation about sustainable development and corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become an integral part of the event sector and so-called "live communication" and the demands of organizers and consumers in this regard have increased .

The best way to do this is by systematically tracking sustainable development with the help of a management system. Because if the essential elements from the areas of quality, environment, energy and occupational health and safety are included, efficiency is combined with cost reduction and compliance - and by the way, the organizer scores with an image gain.

For which events is sustainable event management relevant?

Each event is in itself a multiplier for messages, i.e. also for the increasingly important aspects of sustainable development. Regardless of whether sustainability is directly addressed or not - if the execution of the event itself is sustainable, a lot is gained through it

  • the large number of events taking place around the world every day with the corresponding number of participants
  • the strong network character between organizers and participants and among the suppliers of the many interface industries (e.g. event technology, catering, mobility, hospitality)
  • the role model: the event itself is its largest communicative platform

This creates a fruitful interaction between sustainable development and event management.

The ISO 20121

For ISO 20121 "Event sustainability management systems - Requirements with guidance for use", the type and size of the event play only a subordinate role: Whether sports competitions or trade fairs in an international context, music festivals or concerts, conferences, exhibitions, conventions or other formats - all can be certified according to ISO 20121.

The event itself, the organizer and its corporate environment as well as the key stakeholders of the event are checked. In addition to the event location, the entire value chain is targeted, including suppliers, customers and communication.

Why ISO 20121

The specialty of ISO 20121 is that it includes all three pillars of sustainability: protection of the environment, social impact and economic components. This facilitates the integration into an already existing management system. If, for example, a quality, environmental or occupational safety system already exists, existing structures can be expanded to include the event standard.

The holistic approach of sustainability management for the event industry offers many advantages and possibilities:

  • Sustainability goals are set up and communicated
  • Processes are systematized
  • Resources are used more efficiently and thus costs are reduced
  • a systematic, adaptable communication structure is established
  • Continuous further development and optimization as part of the organization's management system is encouraged
  • Sustainability efforts are objectively recorded, checked and compared

Field of action

Description and comments


Refers to the environment of the location, buildings, services provided including marketing, communication, etc.


Community impact of activities, including entering, operating, and leaving


Activities with a significant risk of non-compliance

  • the needs of consumers / participants in terms of security, information, freedom of choice, accessibility and usability (concept of universal design)
  • fair terms, availability of effective compensation to consumers and
  • Training on the implications of consumer choice

This may include aspects of minors' health and safety risks, including protection from alcohol and other drugs


Taking energy efficiency and sustainable energy supply into account

food and drinks

Catering services are available and offer choice and balance, are safe and hygienic

Health & safety
at work

Activities with a significant risk of affecting the health and safety of all types of workers

Personnel development and on-the-job training

Workforce by type of employment, contract and area, and skills management and support programs, continued employability of the workforce

Market presence

Practices for hiring and recruiting regionally based service providers


Emissions related to greenhouse gases, ozone-depleting substances, poisons (e.g. NO, SO and fine dust), waste water discharge and spills

Procuring products / services

Sustainability criteria for the search and procurement activities according to this list

Transport and logistics

Effects of the transport of people (disabled access to means of transport) and goods


  • Spatiality
  • Animal welfare
  • Anti-competitive behavior
  • Bribery, corruption
  • communication
  • State of labor and social protection
  • Discrimination and Vulnerable Groups
  • Economic performance
  • Choice of materials
  • Illegal drugs and anti-doping
  • Indirect economic impact
  • Biodiversity and environmental protection
  • Security Practices
  • Water and sanitation
  • waste
  • noise