ISO has published standards that are highly relevant to the theme of this year's World Environment Day on 5 June, which is promoted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The theme for 2007 is “Melting Ice – a Hot Topic?", which focuses on the effects that climate change is having on polar ecosystems and communities, and the ensuing consequences around the world. Among ISO's most recent environmental standards are ISO 14064 and ISO 14065 for supporting greenhouse gas reduction schemes and emissions trading.
ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden has commented: "Claims made about reductions of the greenhouse gas emissions widely held responsible for climate change may have political and financial implications, in addition to environmental and technical ones. Ensuring the credibility of these claims is thus vital."
ISO 14064 and ISO 14065 are among the latest in the ISO 14000 family of standards for environmental management of which the best-known standard, ISO 14001, celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2006. In just a decade, ISO 14001 has become the international benchmark for environmental management systems. It is implemented in 138 countries and thoroughly integrated with the global economy.
Other standards in the ISO 14000 family are practical tools to address issues such as environmental labelling, environmental performance, life cycle analysis and environmental communication. The ISO 14000 family thus constitutes a holistic approach that can be implemented in any type of organization in either public or private sector, in organizations large or small, in manufacturing or services.
The ISO 14000 standards are the most visible part of ISO's work for the environment. However, ISO has in fact a multi-faceted approach to the environment, comprising some 570 standards.
For example, it offers a wide-ranging portfolio of standardized sampling, testing and analytical methods for the monitoring of such aspects as the quality of air, water and soil. These standards are a means of providing business and government with scientifically valid data on the environmental effects of economic activity.
Other aspects of ISO’s environment-related standardization work include the following:
integrating environmental aspects in product design and development
- treatment of waste
- sustainability in building construction
- quality of water supply and treatment services
- energy efficiency and renewable sources, including nuclear and hydrogen, and
- new work on ship recycling.
Alan Bryden commented: "These examples show how ISO provides practical tools for meeting the environmental challenges facing the international community, including climate change, which is highlighted by World Environment Day 2007. However, taken as a whole, ISO’s current portfolio of some 16 500 standards also has much to offer for the economic and societal dimensions of sustainable development, in addition to the environmental one."