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, sustainable events 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.

Articles on this topic

New ISO technical specification to green civil engineering works

by Sandrine Tranchard

With building projects such as roads, bridges, canals and dams, civil engineering works are a feature of our landscape, leaving a trail of woes behind them. Yet if the construction industry is responsible for a large amount of waste and general pollution, it is also well known as the largest industrial employer. That’s why, as a key driver in national economies, the building sector has the capacity to propose solutions that will contribute to sustainable development.

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International music festival goes green

by Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis

With up to 15 000 visitors a go, the Balélec Music Festival in Lausanne, Switzerland, was keen to keep sustainable. So it turned to ISO 20121 for solutions... and extraordinary results.

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A standard for improving communities reaches final stage

by Clare Naden

The future of sustainable communities just got closer as ISO 37101 moves to final stage of development

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News archive

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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