Lessons learned from the ISO 20400 launching event in Sydney, Australia

On Wednesday 31 May 2017, the Australian Mirror Committee on the project of ISO 20400 organised a launching event at the New South Wales Parliament House, with the support of the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

The event was booked out with 148 participants representing a wide variety of:
- Sectors: 48 Public, 45 Private, 55 Enablers (consulting, NGO, etc.)
- Roles: 45 Procurement, 52 Sustainability and 51 Others (CEO, GM, etc.)

The event was called 'ISO 20400 on Sustainable Procurement is out! Learn from the early users!' and built around two distinct sessions.

The first session (30 minutes) consisted of two short speeches by Alice Cahill, Manager Strategic Delivery at NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and Jean-Louis Haie, Director of Action Sustainability and Chair of the ISO 20400 Australian Committee. Alice introduced the NSW Government Climate Change Policy and the role that sustainable procurement should play to implement this policy. Jean-Louis introduced ISO 20400: why it was created, who developed it and how, what it is and how organisations can use it.

The second session (60 minutes) was a panel and Q&A session with 5 individuals that are already implementing ISO 20400:
- Nicole Boyd, Development Manager at the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia;
- Matthew Brennan, Head of Sustainability at Transurban;
- Georgina Gillett, Procurement Manager at the Lake Macquarie City Council;
- Kirsten Armstrong, Director Knowledge and Innovation at the Fred Hollows Foundation; and
- Kate Harris, CEO at the Good Environmental Choice Australia.

We consider this event as a major success and have had a lot of extremely positive comments from a wide range of participants. Here are 3 things we learned from organising such an event.

1 - Promote the event through a wide variety of networks
Our first success was the level of attendance and the quality and variety of participants. This was achieved thanks to the active promotional work of the 20 Australian Committee member organisations and other supporters. ISO 20400 has the ability to federate different players, which sometimes compete, around the same goal. Try to use it to your advantage.

2 - Focus on sharing experiences
People want to hear practical lessons learned from those who are using the standard. They are not very interested in high level presentations and will be convinced to use ISO 20400 when they hear from their peers that it is working and providing great benefits. We asked each of our five panelists to introduce their experience in max 5 minutes. Then followed a 30-minute Q&A session which was very well received.

3 - Give participants some time to relax and network
Our event was from 6PM to 8:30PM. After a hard day of work, people want to have a good time. We started the event with 30-minute networking food and drinks so that they can relax, meet their friends and peers and initiate some conversations. After the conference, we had another 60-minute of cocktail. Most people stayed and the atmosphere was great.

See the event photos.