ISO 20121 – Auditor Competency

An integral part of an audit of your event or organisation's ISO 20121 sustainable event management system framework is for the auditor to have the skills and competencies to undertake an effective audit.
A 'technical specification' was developed, not long after ISO 20121 was published, which prescribes the subject matter competency auditors (or the certifying body's auditing team) must have.
By knowing the subject matter, we as an industry can be assured that the auditors have valuable insight into the sector, and can have conversations with the event production personnel who's systems they are auditing - which makes sense to both sides!
The technical specification is entitled:
ISO/IEC 17021: 2015 (Conformity assessment – Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems) and ISO/IEC TS 17021-4 (Competence requirements for auditing and certification of event sustainability management systems).
In summary, the subject areas identified that competency is required for, across the auditing team include:

  • Environmental terminology
  • Environmental metrics
  • Environmental monitoring techniques appropriate to the aspects and EMS technical area
  • Techniques for evaluation of environmental aspects and impacts and their environmental significance
  • Environmental aspect of design
  • Environmental performance evaluation
  • Legal and other requirements
  • Emergency preparedness and response
  • Operational control
  • Factors related to the site

Specific technical expertise in an auditing team must include competency in reviewing the following:

  • Emissions to air: Gases and particulate matter,
  • Releases to land: Liquid or solid releases
  • Releases to water: Surface and groundwater
  • Use of raw materials, energy and natural resources: Upstream management - Use of natural resources (e.g. fossil fuels, water flora and fauna, land), Downstream management (source reduction, minimization, reuse, recycling and treatment practises and processes)
  • Energy emitted (heat, light and ionising radiation, vibration, noise)
  • Waste: sources of waste