FESPA achieves ISO certification for Sustainable Event Management

FESPA has announced it has achieved ISO 20121:2012 certification for Sustainable Event Management, an internationally recognised standard for implementing an effective and sustainable event management system.

FESPA’s 2025 events in Berlin will be the first in the speciality print sector to be run under the certification, which provides a comprehensive framework for organisers to prioritise sustainability without compromising on quality or success.

To achieve the ISO certification, FESPA implemented an extensive range of policies and procedures to address key, measurable objectives, including: waste reduction, energy efficiency, carbon emissions reduction and stakeholder engagement. These activities and the system were independently audited and verified by the British Standards Institute (BSI) certified awarding body under certificate number SEMS 799937, affirming FESPA’s demonstration of best-in-class sustainable event management services to its exhibitors and visitors.

FESPA has also measured its carbon footprint at its UK-based headquarters for three consecutive years without a regulatory obligation and is installing solar panels to generate renewable energy.

Neil Felton, FESPA CEO, said the accreditation proves FESPA’s dedication to delivering environmentally responsible events and championing the need for the sectors it represents to make continued progress on sustainability”.

“Our team recognises the importance of operating our events in a manner that delivers exceptional value to our attendees and exhibitors, while also prioritising environmental responsibility and community engagement,” said Felton.

“We look forward to delivering our 2025 events in accordance with the certified sustainable events management system, and we hope our example inspires our community to look at ways of optimising their sustainability performance.”

The following commitments form the basis of FESPA’s sustainability objectives, as well as targets for events within the scope of the certification:

  • Planning: Recognising that sustainability must play a key part in the process and should be considered throughout the decision-making activities in the event management cycle.
  • Environmental: Seeking to prevent negative impacts such as pollution by giving purchasing preference to products and services that have sound sustainable credentials, as well as implementing: reduce, reuse, recycle.
  • Transportation: Reducing, wherever possible, the need for transportation (of sourced products) or seeking to reduce the length of the journey.
  • Packaging: Committing to the reduction and elimination of packaging wherever possible, seeking to use reusable or recycled packaging where it is required.
  • Product criteria: Researching the origins and manufacturing processes of key products to identify any process, ingredient or part which has a negative environmental impact, in order to assess the necessity, find an alternative and ensure that it can be disposed of within sustainability guidelines.
  • Purchasing criteria: Committing to responsible, sustainable procurement practices and ensuring that all employees, whether permanent or freelance, are aware of and abide by specified purchasing criteria.
  • Social: Committing to only collaborating with companies that share FESPA’s values with regard to the treatment of their workforce. Also, considering the local community in the planning and implementation of any event.
  • Energy: Committing to improving energy use, consumption and efficiency and, whenever possible, using energy from renewable sources.
  • Hazardous products: Committing to avoiding the use of hazardous products wherever possible. Where this is unavoidable, following the guidelines laid out in the UK COSHH regulations and ensuring that use of hazardous products is monitored and used within a controlled environment.
  • Occupational health and safety: Taking a responsible attitude to all aspects of occupational health and safety.

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