ISO 20121 - Lead Auditor


This five-day intensive course enables participants to develop the necessary expertise to audit an Event Sustainability Management System (ESMS) as specified in ISO 20121:2012 and to manage a team of auditors by applying widely recognized audit principles, procedures and techniques. During this training, the participant will acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to proficiently plan and perform internal and external audits in compliance with the certification process of the ISO 19011 and ISO 17021 standards. Based on practical exercises, the participant will develop the skills (mastering audit techniques) and competencies (managing audit teams and audit program, communicating with customers, conflict resolution, etc.) necessary to efficiently conduct an audit.


Who should attend?

  • Internal auditors
  • Auditors wanting to perform and lead Event Sustainability Management System (ESMS) certification audits
  • Project managers or consultants wanting to master the Event Sustainability Management System
  • Managers working in the organization of the events or who implement the sustainable events or policies for companies
  • Members of an event sustainability team
  • Members of the event industry, supply chain including organizers, event managers, stand builders, caterers and logistics suppliers


Learning objectives

  • To acquire expertise to perform an ISO 20121 internal audit following ISO 19011 guidelines
  • To acquire expertise to perform an ISO 20121 certification audit following ISO 19011 guidelines and the specifications of ISO 17021
  • To acquire necessary expertise  to manage an ESMS audit team
  • To understand the operation of an ISO 20121 conformant event sustainability management system
  • To understand the relationship between an event sustainability management system, including controls and compliance with the requirements of different stakeholders of the organization
  • To improve the ability to analyze the internal and external environment of an organization and also to remove or reduce negative impacts through improved planning and processes.


Course Agenda

Day 1: Introduction to Event Sustainability Management System (ESMS) concepts as required by ISO 20121

  • Normative, regulatory and legal framework related to event sustainability
  • Standard and regulatory framework
  • Certification process
  • Fundamental principles of sustainability
  • Event Sustainability Management System (ESMS)
  • Detailed presentation of the clauses 4 to 10 of ISO 20121

Day 2: Audit principles, preparation and launching of an audit

  • Fundamental audit concepts and principles
  • Audit approach based on evidence and on risk
  • Preparation of an ISO 20121 certification audit
  • ESMS documentation audit
  • Conducting an opening meeting

Day 3: On-site audit activities

  • Communication during the audit
  • Audit procedures: observation, document review, interview, sampling techniques, technical verification, corroboration and evaluation
  • Audit test plans
  • Formulation of audit findings
  • Documenting nonconformities

Day 4: Closing the audit

  • Audit documentation
  • Quality review
  • Conducting a closing meeting and conclusion of an ISO 20121 audit
  • Evaluation of corrective action plans
  • ISO 20121 Surveillance audit
  • Internal audit management program

Day 5: Final exam




ISO 20121 Foundation Certification or basic knowledge of ISO 20121 is recommended

Educational approach

  • This training is based on both theory and practice:
    • Sessions of lectures illustrated with examples based on real cases
    • Practical exercises based on a full case study including role playing and oral presentations
    • Review exercises to assist the exam preparation
    • Practice test similar to the certification exam
  • Benefit from the practical exercises, the number of training participants is limited

Examination and Certification

  • The “Certified ISO 20121 Lead Auditor” exam fully meets the requirements of the PECB Examination and Certification Program (ECP). The exam covers the following competence domains:
    • Domain 1: Fundamental principles and concepts of Event Sustainability
    • Domain 2: Event Sustainability Management System (ESMS)
    • Domain 3: Fundamental Audit Concepts and Principles
    • Domain 4: Preparation of an ISO 20121 audit
    • Domain 5: Conducting  of an ISO 20121 audit
    • Domain 6: Closing an ISO 20121 audit
    • Domain 7: Managing an ISO 20121 audit program
  • The “Certified ISO 20121 Lead Auditor” exam is available in different languages (the complete list of languages can be found in the examination application form)
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • For more information about exam, refer to PECB section on ISO 20121 Lead Auditor Exams
  • After successfully completing the exam, participants can apply for the credentials of Certified ISO 20121 Provisional Auditor, Certified ISO 20121 Auditor or Certified ISO 20121 Lead Auditor depending on their level of experience. Those credentials are available for internal and external auditors.
  • A certificate will be issued to participants who successfully passed the exam and comply with all the other requirements related to the selected credential.
  • For more information about ISO 20121 certifications and PECB certification process, refer to PECB section on ISO 20121 Lead Auditor Certification.

General Information

  • Exam and certification fees are included in the training price
  • A student manual containing over 450 pages of information and practical examples will be distributed to participants
  • A participation certificate of 31 CPD (Continuing Professional Development) credits will be issued to participants
  • In case of failure of the exam, participants are allowed to retake the exam for free under certain conditions