Key Point 6: Performance evaluation

Key Message

Evaluating your performance will allow you to identify successes as well as areas that have not gone to plan, and to make changes to improve your ways of working.

What does performance evaluation mean?

It means that you review your measurements and data collected, see whether you have met your objectives and complied with the standard, and take the relevant learnings from your experience. 

Watch a video from Fiona Pelham, ISO 20121 Chair, who explains in more detail what the performance evaluation means.

Note: you can also read a transcript of her video below. 

For the performance evaluation part of ISO 20121 there are four sections: Performance against governing principles of sustainable development, Monitoring, Measuring, analysis and evaluation, internal audit and management review. So, firstly, performance against governing principles of sustainable development. Remember you created a statement of your purpose and values which includes performance against governing principles of sustainable development. Your principles should include transparency, integrity, leadership and stewardship. This part of the standard is all about explaining your approach to monitoring your journey towards these principles. How have you proved your way of working to consider more stewardship or consider more of integrity? Also how are you evaluating your current performance and the performance that you are hoping to reach in the future to make sure that you are continuing to progress from your starting point to an improved level of consideration for those values?

Next, monitoring, measurement, analysis and evaluation. So what are you monitoring and measuring, how are you monitoring and measuring it, where and how are you analysing it? It is important to keep documentation for this part of the standard so that you can show evidence that you are monitoring, measuring and evaluating and also show evidence that you are doing this in a robust way. You should also think about evaluating your whole way of working and the processes you have created within your management system standard. So, are you taking actions to address any new trends which may be happening which may affect your way of working? Are you documenting information on your measurements, tracking your performance and reviewing your performance so you can take the right decisions you need to, to operate as well as you can? Are you taking time to identify what lessons you are learning and what changes you should make based on those learnings?

Thirdly, internal audit. This is where somebody who is objective and has not been involved in the creation of your management system standard comes in and reviews and checks that you are doing everything that you need to meet the standard requirements. This is about making sure you have the right types of processes in place and that these processes are properly working. It’s about making sure you are maintaining all of your documentation and also that you are being effective in your ways of working to achieve your objectives. You should plan regular audits, set the scope for the audit and the criteria for the audit, identify the right person to do the audit. In other words, somebody who has the right experience to be able to do an audit.

Then, finally management review. Management review should be done at regular intervals; a lot of people do this annually. The management review is all about making sure that you are reviewing where you have come from, how you have got to where you are now and taking some learnings from that. Within your management review the standard gives you a list of areas that you should include, for example non conformities. Where have things not gone to plan and why? How will you make sure you’re continually improving so that over the next year or the next few years you will constantly be improving your implementation of sustainability. Following your management review you should have some clear documentation which explains what your journey has been, what your decisions are for the future and how you are going to make sure that you are constantly improving. The management review will help you understand what you need to change and why you need to change it and it is a good opportunity to involve everybody who has worked on your sustainability standard. This means your supply chain, your interested parties and your internal staff. 


Performance against governing principles of sustainable development

The organization should track and review its progress in relation to the principles of sustainable development identified in the context section. 

Monitoring and measurement

Determining the value or status of a system, a process or an activity. This may require checking or observation. 

Internal audit

A systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining evidence and evaluating it objectively to check for compliance with the management system requirements. 

Management review

A regular check that the management system is being implemented in the correct, appropriate and most effective way. The review can take place at regular intervals as decided by the organization based on the frequency of events, learning opportunities and any organizational changes. 


This presentation explains the areas relating to your performance evaluation in more detail. You can read a summary of the presentation below

Performance against principles of sustainable development

Once you have put your sustainability practice, what next? You can consider your performance against the principles of sustainable development. These were the ones that you identified as part of your sustainability policy and also when considering the context of your organisation.

How have you performed against the objectives that you set against these principles and your own purpose, values and mission? One way of establishing this is to use a maturity matrix, in which you list the principles of sustainable development and then at regular intervals assess how you are progressing against each one, and the actions that you are taking to progress you further. 

Monitoring and measuring

Linked to this is monitoring and measuring. This is very important in relation to sustainability, as if you don’t know what you are using or the impact that you are having, you won’t be able to reduce it or change it. In your first year, or first few months, monitoring and measuring may simply be establishing a baseline that you can then use to compare and analyse future measurements against.

For monitoring and measuring, consider who the most appropriate person is to collect the data – there may already be a person or department who is collecting this. You can also create new ways of monitoring and measuring, and they don’t always have to be traditional methods. For example, you could use social media to measure engagement or ask questions; you can use anecdotal evidence, quotes, pictures (for example before and after photos).  It is vital when you set your objectives in the planning stages to work out how you will monitor your progress, as there is no point in setting a key objective if you do not have the processes in place to know if you have achieved the objective.

Data that is gathered can also be shared with other people through case studies and reports. Sometimes when you collect measurements, you may find that some things have not gone to plan. Before you dismiss this as a “failure”, take the time to look into the possible reasons for any changes – for example, was different methodology used when two sets of measurements were taken? By finding the story behind the data, you can often see why discrepancies arise.

If you do realise that the methods were different, for example, then you should also make sure that you create or amend the existing process so that in future, all of the measuring is done in the same way, and therefore all of the data is as accurate as possible.

Analysis and evaluation

This is what you then do with the data you have collected. There is no set way of analysing in ISO 20121, but you could consider whether you have achieved your objectives, and to what extent. As with the data gathering, the methods used to analyse the data should be consistent so that you don’t get anomalous results

Internal audit

An internal audit is a systemised process for checking whether the requirements of ISO 20121 are being met. This can be done externally or by a third party, and is often an annual process, although it can be done at any time. If it is an internal person, it should be someone who hasn’t been directly involved with the management system so that they have a more objective approach.

It is a way of making sure that nothing has been missed or omitted in relation to the requirements of the standard, and if something is identified as not conforming to the standard, then a process will be put in place to ensure that this is addressed.

Whilst an internal audit is a way of checking the management system conforms to the standard, it is also important to be checking the system as you go along, otherwise you may find at the end of the year something which could have been identified much sooner.

Management review

A management review is a way to consider the management system is working as effectively as possible and how successful you have been in relation to objectives, and to plan for the future. ISO 20121 does not specify how regularly these meetings take place, but it should be often enough to identify any problems and correct them if needed, and to share any learnings from the review. They could take place on a monthly basis, an annual basis or a per-event basis.

The more often you have a management review, the more often you will be able to see (and communicate about) your successes, and identify areas for improvement. 


Monitoring and Measuring Tool

The Resource Management Plan (RMP) tool frrom WRAP can help organisations at every stage of the event supply chain understand where their opportunities exist for reducing waste leading up to, during and after an event including capturing site waste management plans. 


Sustainability Guideline

London 2012 have produced guidelines for event organisers which included top tips and case study examples. 

London 2012 Event Sustainability Guidelines


Activity 1

 Show the processes that you use when looking at your performance against objectives.

Activity 2

Decide who will conduct internal audits, how often they will be carried out, and the criteria for the audits. 

Activity 3

Plan how you will conduct these reviews and write where the relevant documentation will be stored. 

Katy Carlisle