All businesses with the 24 ISO standards will embed climate considerations into them, it was announced this week by a standards body.
The BSI (The British Standards Institution) says the move would enable “a real acceleration in government and industry transition to net zero”.
The so-called London Declaration commitment was led by BSI, and approved by the ISO members, and aims to “ensure global standards will support climate action and advance international initiatives to achieve our global climate goals”.
Recent research has shown that fewer than one in four of the world’s largest companies are on track to meet basic climate change targets and Europe will miss its 2030 climate goal by 21 years. The London Declaration commits signatories to embed key climate considerations into every new standard that is created. It will also retrospectively add these requirements to all existing standards as they are revised, a change on an unparalleled scale.
Susan Taylor Martin, chief executive of the BSI, said: “There are an increasing number of corporate commitments and government targets around reaching net zero, but a lack of direction as to how these targets can be met. Governments and industry need clear, practical guidance to achieve net zero. Standards are a trusted, global methodology and framework which can be used by both governments and industry to deliver real change. BSI was the originator of the London Declaration. We are very pleased that this will be taken forward by ISO, its members and other standards bodies so that we can work together with other countries to ensure that standards become an enabler for organisations of all sizes to accelerate our transition to a more sustainable world.”
Scott Steedman, director-general of standards at BSI, said: “Consensus-based standards are in a unique position to enable positive climate action. The sheer scale that standards operate at and the vital role they play for government and industry alike means they can accelerate the achievement of the goals in the Paris Agreement, the UN SDGs and the UN Call for Action on Adaptation and Resilience. BSI is proud to lead the development of the London Declaration and is fully committed to seeing it implemented across the 40,000 standards in our national portfolio. The declaration will help ensure that climate-friendly standards become the norm across all industries.”
Opening ISO Week London, Ranil Jayawardena, minister for international trade, said: “Today, almost 24,000 international standards developed by the ISO underpin every major supply chain, from the clothes we wear, to the food we eat. The use of standards – especially truly international ones – makes it easier to produce, sell, and buy products and services, enabling the global trade that is key to driving growth, creating jobs and securing value for consumers. Britain looks to galvanise global action on climate change during her presidency of COP26 in Glasgow this November and we welcome the ISO’s London Declaration, which will support our collective aim.”
Nigel Topping, UN High Level Climate Action Champion, said: “The London Declaration is a critical international commitment that will enable businesses and organisations across the global economy to accelerate their climate action by using trusted standards aligned with robust net zero targets. We are looking forward to working more closely with ISO, BSI and other national standards bodies to facilitate wider and faster climate action in this race to a zero carbon world."
As well as promising that ISO will work with all members, stakeholders, and partners to actively consider climate science in the development of new and revised standards and publications, the London Declaration also stipulates that it will facilitate the involvement of civil society and those who are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change in the development of all international standards and publications.
The declaration is being formally signed at the BSI hosted ISO Week London 2021, a meeting of all 163 national standards bodies. Afterwards, an action plan will be developed which will detail tangible initiatives and reporting mechanisms associated with the declaration.
Standards have already begun to enable the transition to net zero, says the BSI. The body has recently developed the Energy Smart Appliances (ESAs) standards in response to the UK government’s energy plans for example.