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UBM Live, the leading global events organiser, has successfully achieved ISO 20121 for five European events with SGS United Kingdom Ltd. UBM Live’s certificated events include: CPhI Worldwide & Co-located events, Fi Europe, Hi Europe/Ni/NuW, Business4Better UK, and the Protection and Management Series (including IFSEC International, Facilities Show, Safety & Health Expo and Firex). Adding to this achievement, the UBM Live office in Amsterdam is also fully ISO 20121 certified.

 Every year UBM Live is responsible for organising a number of leading exhibitions, awards, websites/online products and publications in a variety of business industries. Through these, channels buyers, manufacturers, suppliers and users are able to meet customers, develop new business, launch new products or services and expand their markets.

Having achieved the British Standard BS 8901 certification in 2012, it was a natural step for UBM Live to become ISO 20121 certificated.

UBM Live Chief Executive Officer, Simon Foster, stated “I am so proud that we have achieved the renowned ISO 20121 certification. At UBM Live, supporting sustainability is fundamental to our business strategy and philosophy. We acknowledge that sustainability is about how we achieve success through long-term responsible management and stewardship of all aspects of our business. Achieving ISO certification proves that we are succeeding in meeting our commitments.”


UBM Live recognises the social and environmental impacts of its activities and how ISO 20121 certification can provide help to manage these impacts and meet the sustainability objectives. Being the leading sustainable business in the events industry is a key objective for them.

Allison Ozero, Sustainability Manager at UBM Live in Amsterdam says: “At UBM Live we want to create a sustainable business model that is deliverable in the long term and demonstrates a balanced approach to meeting our responsibilities towards the economy, the environment, and social progress.”

The starting point for UBM Live was the in-depth understanding that how it conducted its business, and the realisation that its business would need to undergo a fundamental shift to develop its long term sustainability. This was the key in allowing them to look forward to a more sustainable future.

“UBM Live has demonstrated an unusual understanding of what sustainability is and how to embed it in its organisation, considering all the sustainability pillars in a balanced and holistic way. A truly inspiring example for the events industry! The commitment towards sustainable development starts with the higher management level and reaches down to all employees. The engagement with stakeholders is taken very seriously as well, causing a positive resonance across the industry. The management system has improved immensely since the early days of BS 8901 and I’m looking forward to seeing how UBM Live will take the management system to different levels in the future,” says Ana Inacio, SGS Auditor.

WHY ISO 20121

With investors, stakeholders and customers increasingly looking to organisations to be more environmentally aware, the ISO 20121 achievement was an extension of its pledge for responsible business.

“Companies are being asked to demonstrate the sustainability of their activities; this is an important opportunity for UBM Live to respond to these demands and claim the position as leaders in sustainability, setting the pace for best practices in the industry,” says Ms. Ozero.


“With the increasing attention to sustainability in the industry, UBM Live is influencing and working with our suppliers and venues to look at cost-effective alternatives to the current norms in event planning. This has given UBM Live direction and a way to work in conjunction with suppliers towards sustainable development. It has improved relationships and understanding between UBM Live and its suppliers, helping define mutual expectations and goals to work towards,” says Ms. Ozero.

The benefits of sustainability include potential reduction in costs through energy saving, materials efficiency, more effective waste and risk management as well as the focus on developing processes to ensure we are delivering operationally sound, quality events.

“Since the ISO 20121 audit two months ago, we have been able to better focus our next steps and look towards increasing our sustainable procurement and responsibility as a business. Although it was only two months ago, we expect to see benefits in our stakeholder engagement in the coming few months and in the management of our sustainable event management system, applying new ideas to the events to further reduce our environmental impact and better our positive impact on the communities in which we work. We are positive that we can work towards improving the legacy of our events,” says Ms. Ozero.


The processes that have been developed to manage risk, create consistency in the planning and delivery of the events, and to focus on key sustainability issues are very important to UBM Live. The methodology which UBM Live has created for its five certificated events, while challenging, is what makes it possible for an organisation to develop processes to work towards goals of sustainable event management.

Ms. Ozero says: “The development of our processes for the certification and the assessment process itself, were very positive experiences for us and helped us see how we needed to improve our overall management system. SGS is very constructive and helpful in showing our strength and weakness.”

The company found the assessment itself to be a rewarding experience, allowing all staff and management to understand and focus on the key points of the system. Ana Inacio, SGS Auditor, helped them focus their efforts and increase the systems efficiency.

“I was impressed with the awareness, general employee engagement and the improvement in processes that all of the teams were involved in” says Ana.


SGS work thoroughly and continually give positive and constructive advice. UBM Live was able to build on the advice given and improve their processes.

“SGS were thorough and well organised. The practical advice and personable auditor made the process and assessment a positive experience for the whole organisation. Giving us the confidence in what we are doing and to continually work towards bettering our sustainable event management system,” says Ms. Ozero.


“We believe that sustainability should be integral to the overall commercial strategy allowing you to engage with all your stakeholders to ensure a greater impact on the industry. Be clear about what you can affect and what you can‘t. Set your processes to achieve measureable change when developing a sustainable process,” says Ms. Ozero.


UBM Live, a division of UBM plc, the global events-led marking and communications company, connects people and creates opportunities for companies across five continents to develop new business, meet customers, launch new products, promote their brands and expand their markets. Through premier brands such as Medtec, CPhI, IFSEC, Food Ingredients, TFM&A, Cruise Shipping Miami, the Concrete Show and many others, UBM Live’s exhibitions, conferences, awards programmes, publications, websites and training and certification programmes are an integral part of the marketing plans of companies across more than 20 industry sectors.


SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognised as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 75,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,500 offices and laboratories around the world.