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UBM Live Amsterdam, a leading global live media and B2B communications, marketing service and data provider, has achieved certification to BS 8901 with SGS United Kingdom Ltd.

BS 8901 is a management system standard designed to help organisations in the events industry improve the sustainability of their event related activities, products and services. The standard defines the steps an event management organisation needs to take to remain financially successful, become increasingly socially responsible, and reduce its impact on the environment.

Each year, UBM Live Amsterdam organises events around the world in the food ingredients, manufacturing, R&D and packaging markets, as well as through its pharmaceutical portfolio.  Buyers, manufacturers, suppliers and users rely on these events to develop new business together, meet customers, launch new products, promote their brands and expand their markets.

Through this BS 8901 certification, UBM Live Amsterdam demonstrates its leadership in the industry and delivers confidence to its customers, vendors and partners that its events are planned and implemented in a sustainable manner.

UBM Live Amsterdam Business Objectives

“Our objective is to be the best events company,” says Nik Rudge, Managing Director. “And we want this reflected in all aspects of our business operations.”

Specifically, BS 8901 is a strong indication that UBM Live Amsterdam is delivering its business responsibly and sustainably by demonstrating:

  • How it engages, motivates and supports its people
  • How it manages its environmental impact
  • How it ensures good governance and manages risk
  • How it supports the communities in which it works

“Not only has BS 8901 helped to differentiate us,” says Nik Rudge. “It has guided us to set up a management system to streamline our processes, reflecting the growing importance of sustainability to all stakeholders, including the company’s shareholders. It has become integral to our business workflow and is a red thread connecting strategy and operational execution, planning and delivery.”

Route to certification

Work towards BS 8901 certification at UBM Live Amsterdam began in 2009 when management decided to re-evaluate some of its key procedures.  As a result of this exercise, the company defined specific targets to pursue, including the reduction of waste and energy consumption, and improvements to Health and Safety procedures.

UBM Live Amsterdam began the process by reviewing its existing systems.

“We brought in a consultant and built a team within UBM Live Amsterdam” says Natasja O’Connor, Operations Director. “Then we used the BS 8901 standard’s specifications as guidance to redesign our processes.”

As a result, the company implemented new procedures for streamlining health and safety, sustainability, risk profiling with the legal register, and defining non- conformities.

SGS were able to help by offering clear guidance on issues like non- conformities and by providing helpful suggestions on how to showcase sustainability better.

Widespread communication has been a key element of success.  Throughout the process, UBM Live Amsterdam involved staff, customers and stakeholders by organising briefings, creating a sustainability committee, running surveys, holding a stakeholder forum, and delivering training.  Newsletters continue to keep everyone informed.

Benefits of BS 8901

Certification has helped UBM Live Amsterdam clarify business objectives and demonstrate to clients and other key stakeholders that the company is committed to the sustainability agenda.

It provides an important competitive advantage as event customers, sponsors and other stakeholders increasingly prefer to work only with BS 8901-registered organisations.

“This process has also driven us to streamline our processes,” adds Natasja O’Connor. “Building on the sustainability audits, we are motivated to make improvements on each exhibition such as creating sustainability tips, adjusting exhibitor terms and conditions, introducing green awards, and starting a stakeholder forum.”

The standard also promises another key benefit to the business going forward. As sustainability becomes more important in the eyes of current and future employees, the standard improves the UBM Live Amsterdam employer value proposition.


According to Ana Inacio, Sustainability Consultant at SGS, “SGS was present at CPhI International in Frankfurt last October to observe how the company addressed sustainability in its activities. UBM Live Amsterdam’s commitment to delivering on the BS 8901 specifications was impressive so it is not surprising that today. UBM Live Amsterdam is one of the first event organisers to be internationally recognised for its sustainability credentials. The professionalism of the staff, the awareness of the company’s impact on the environment and the wide understanding of how sustainability can be embedded in the company strategy and culture were the strongest aspects that influenced the auditor’s decision.

UBM Live Amsterdam’s leadership in sustainability will have a positive impact on other organisations by raising the bar in this competitive market. SGS is proud to have played a role in this great achievement.”