DALLAS — Audiovisual company Freeman has received the ISO 20121 Event Sustainability Management System certification, the first in its industry to do so on a global scale, it was announced Sept. 13.
The certification is an international standard designed to help organizations involved in the events and hospitality industries integrate sustainability into management practices and processes.
“Environmental and social responsibility has always been at the heart of Freeman and guides our business,” said Jeff Chase, vice-president of sustainability at Freeman, who oversees the company’s sustainability initiatives and led the certification effort.
First introduced at the 2012 London Olympic Games, ISO 20121 provides a management blueprint to address the “triple bottom line” of sustainability – the economic, environmental and social impacts of events. The standard helps organizations operate in a way that is financially viable for the company, its customers and suppliers; minimize the use of resources and reduce waste; and consider the needs and expectations of those affected by the event or business.
A key component is the development of a continual improvement plan, which is then implemented, analyzed and modified to achieve ever-increasing standards of performance.
Freeman’s plan to meet the ISO certification requirement focuses on adopting the Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX)/American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) green meeting standards for its major business locations and functions. To meet ISO’s continual improvement goal, Freeman plans to certify five major offices per year during the next several years to five APEX/ASTM standards – Exhibits, Audio Visual, Communications, Transportation and On-site Office.
The APEX/ASTM standards are a set of nine individual “sector” standards developed by the meetings, conventions, exhibits and events industry in partnership with ASTM International, a global standards-setting body. The standards outline specific performance criteria for staff management, communications, waste management, energy, air quality, water, procurement and community partners.
iCompli, a division of BPA Worldwide and a nonprofit international auditing organization headquartered in Shelton, Conn., performed the independent third-party certification of Freeman’s compliance with the ISO 20121 standard.
A family- and employee-owned company, Freeman produces more than 4,300 expositions annually and 12,500 other events worldwide.