Sustainable development

ISO standards and sustainable development

Rio de Janeiro’s 1992 conference put sustainable development clearly on the political agenda. More than twenty years on, the issue is more relevant than ever. From carbon footprint to community infrastructures and the many environmental challenges that businesses face, ISO has a comprehensive range of standards that can help businesses and organizations all over the world make progress in the three pillars of sustainable development – the environment, economy and society.

Carbon footprint

The carbon (or environmental) footprint is increasingly used by governments and societies as the core indicator of our impact on the environment. But does one size fit all? ISO has produced a briefing note by environmental standards experts that sheds light on the importance of consistency in standards in this field and how they can break down barriers to trade and help to build a more sustainable future.

On this page you will also find topical information and news postings about how ISO standards support sustainable development.

Video: ISO and social responsibility

Related brochures and products

A guide on how to use the GRI G4 Guidelines and ISO 26000 in conjunction

The ISO 14000 family

A basic introduction to the ISO 14000 family of standards.

Online collection: ISO 14000 Environmental management

Improve your environmental performance with this online collection.

Articles on this topic

ISO opens contest for young professionals in developing countries

You are young, you live in a developing country and you have a story to tell about standards and a sustainable energy future. Then you have the profile to participate in the ISO/DIN essay contest!

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How does your city compare to others? New ISO standard to measure up

A landmark ISO standard outlining key measurements for evaluating a city’s service delivery and quality of life has just been published. Its use will help city managers, politicians, researchers, business leaders, planners, designers and other professionals to focus on key issues, and put in place policies for more livable, tolerant, sustainable, resilient, economically attractive and prosperous cities.

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Paint it green...with ISO standards!

by Clare Naden

6 ISO Standards you never imagined are making our world cleaner, greener and more sustainable.

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ISO goes green on sustainable forest management

Sustainable forest management has become a critical global issue, with consumers increasingly demanding wood products supplied from "well-managed" forests. Environmental concerns - particularly the effects of illegal and indiscriminate logging resulting in forest disappearance, degradation and carbon emissions - have prompted ISO to start work on a new standard for the traceability of wood products.

The world according to Jørgen Randers

shook the climate change world and became one of the best-selling environmental books of all time. In his latest work, 2052: A global forecast for the next forty years he argues that humankind is on a path to destruction. ISO Focus spoke to him about the future of our planet and what we can do about it.

ISO Store

  • ISO 14001:2004
    Environmental management systems -- Requirements with guidance for use
  • ISO 14004:2004
    Environmental management systems -- General guidelines on principles, systems and support techniques
  • ISO 26000:2010
    Guidance on social responsibility

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