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ISO standards "drive" innovation and sustainable development

by Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis on
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GA 2012 open session

“Innovation and the economics of sustainable development” was the theme addressed by high level panels of experts participating in an open session on 20 September at the 35th ISO General Assembly (19-21 September) in San Diego, USA.

The open session provided an opportunity for stakeholders from around the world – including business leaders – to discuss the current issues around innovation and the economics of sustainable development, what is being done and what needs to be done better, and how standards could assist.

The event, consisting of two panel sessions, addressed the expectations on international standardization in this area and highlighted a number of exemplary achievements around the world. Break-out sessions were designed to encourage plenty of interaction and the opportunity to get clear understanding and ideas, and to foster new avenues for the development of ISO standards.

The opening address was given by Dr. Torsten Bahke, Director of DIN, ISO member for Germany, who highlighted the importance of International Standards: “Global challenges need global solutions and ISO, through its national members and organizations in liaison, has a unique framework for bringing together the international expertise that can develop these solutions, and for disseminating them in an orderly and effective manner. ISO standards also ensure that innovative solutions can be transferred to developing countries so that the benefits are also available on a global basis”.

GA 2012 Open session morning panel
The panelists at the morning session, which addressed International Standards in support of sustainable development. From left: Declan Meally, Head of Department, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland; Chad Gilless, Practice Lead, Strategy Energy Management, EnerNOC (USA); Ms. Denise Naguib, Vice President, Sustainability and Supplier Diversity, Marriott International, Inc., (USA); Haroldo Mattos de Lemos, Vice Chair of ISO/TC 207, Chair Technical Council of ABNT (Brazil), and President of the Instituto Brasil PNUMA, and Dr. Torsten Bahke, Director of DIN, ISO member for Germany.

Ms. Denise Naguib, Vice President, Sustainability and Supplier Diversity, Marriott International, Inc., (USA), made the keynote address to the first panel. She described the Marriott sustainability strategy and its journey, as well as the development with industry partners of an aligned carbon footprint methodology.

Ms. Naguib pointed out that a systematic approach to sustainability has helped the company succeed and drive innovation throughout its 3 700+ hotels/properties around the globe.

"As an industry, we have worked together to align on the methodology which we can all use to move forward and give consistent communication to our customers on our carbon footprint.”

She went on to explain how sustainable hotels are not easily defined and the importance of standards. “The value of a standards approach is very important so we can better communicate to our customers, including on the use of ISO 14001 for environmental management.

“The standards approach is incredibly helpful in the hospitality industry to ensure that we are aligned and drive sustainable development.”

The keynote address to the second panel (on innovation) of the open session was delivered by Phil McKinney, an innovation consultant and former Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Hewlett-Packard’s Personal Systems Group, who spoke on the theme of, “Standardizing sustainable co-innovation.”

GA 2012 Open session after-noon panel
The panelists at the afternoon session, which addressed International Standards in support of innovation. From left: Mr. Patrick MacLeamy, Chief Executive Officer, HOK Architects (Norway); Phil McKinney, an innovation consultant and former Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Hewlett-Packard’s Personal Systems Group; Mr. Jacques Lair, Chair of ISO/TC 268; Mr. Rajan Rajeev, Senior Director, Product Management, Qualcomm Life Inc. (USA), and Dr. Torsten Bahke, Director of DIN.

He underlined the one competitive advantage that is driving every organization – speed, and how to shorten the overall development cycle, including the industry standards process, so that “the work we do today can have an impact now, and not five to 10 years from now.”

“Innovation is the engine that drives our economy,” he said, “I’m a believer in co-innovation."

Mr. McKinney underlined that success in standards is driven by bringing together more people to the table and bringing the best ideas forward.

“Scale has a huge benefit”, he said, “it can accelerate new standards and address the innovation gap and the innovation delay.”

The two keynote speeches were followed by two panel sessions. The presentations during these were made by eminent experts from Brazil, France, Ireland, Norway, and the USA.

The presentations, plus a summary of the proceedings, will be made available on ISO’s Website. In the meantime, the open session programme can be consulted on the Website.



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