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ISO standards lead action for COP22

by Sandrine Tranchard on
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The 22nd Conference of Parties (COP22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will take place in Marrakech, Morocco, from 7 to 18 November 2016.

Companies, organizations, investors and governments at the local and national levels have committed to implementing the Paris Climate Agreement, concluded in December 2015. To expedite its application and create a virtuous circle for climate-related action, public- and private-sector collaboration, guided by new International Standards and driven by innovation, will be essential.

Innovative solutions for all with ISO standards

Many ISO standards related to climate change help to reduce global energy consumption and increase the use of clean and renewable energy sources.

A number of companies, organizations and local authorities are already working to develop solutions based on International Standards. In fact, the 2015 ISO Survey reported around 12 000 certificates issued to ISO 50001 on energy management systems and more than 300 000 certificates to ISO 14001 on environmental management systems, across all sectors worldwide.

ISO offers a set of International Standards which have become the international benchmark in terms of managing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and helping organizations to report their GHG emissions or reductions in order to comply with applicable national regulatory requirements, participate in the carbon emissions trading market or demonstrate their commitment to corporate social responsibility.

These standards are essential tools to help organizations mitigate their impact on the environment, such as the three-part ISO 14064 series on the quantification, reporting and verification of GHG emissions.

In addition, the future ISO 14080, which is currently under development, will give organizations involved in climate action a framework for the development of consistent, comparable and improved methodologies that provide guidance for effective mitigation and adaptation activities, and also improve access to, and availability of, climate finance and other resources.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution will also impact positively on population health. For example, in many countries, food is still cooked using solid fuels (wood, coal, etc.) on inadequate cookstoves that emit toxic fumes, leading to serious respiratory disorders, especially in women and young children. Use of this type of stove also impacts local natural resources, such as forests, and contributes to climate change on a regional and global scale.

In light of these observations, technical committee ISO/TC 285, Clean cookstoves and clean cooking solutions, has begun work on a set of guidelines for the evaluation of cookstove performance.

“Standards play a significant role in the development of concrete actions and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. They are applicable to all organizations, from large groups to SMEs, to local authorities, in developed and developing countries, and are a source of opportunity for the smallest and weakest countries. They constitute solutions for implementing actions effectively,” states Kevin McKinley, Acting Secretary-General of ISO.

ISO, CDP and Climate-KIC joint side events

Various side events are organized alongside COP22, to foster wider discussion and present practical tools.

On 12 November, ISO and its partners, CDP Worldwide and Climate-KIC, will hold a side event on the theme “Unlocking ambition: How non-party stakeholders are contributing to the low-carbon transition”.

The speakers, Mr Michael Thomas Baumann for ISO, Ms Shirin Reuvers for CDP Worldwide and Ms Andrea Karpati for the Association Climate-KIC, will present their initiatives and share best practices.

Joint side event : 12 November 11:30 to 13:00 in Observer Room 8 (Arabian Room)

A “mini side event” will also be held on 11 November. It will bring together speakers from the entire climate finance community to discuss best practices and the recent initiatives taken to harmonize such practices in climate finance standards.

These representatives from several high-profile organizations, including the UNFCCC Secretariat, the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance, UNEP FI, CDP and ISO, strongly support the proposed new ISO standard for climate finance.

Mini side event: 11 November 11:00 to 12:00 in the Climate Change Hall

Laurence Tubiana, who was appointed “Climate Champion” following the Paris Climate Agreement, will also speak at these two side events.

Standards: vital tools for Morocco

Presented by the Kingdom of Morocco as “a conference for action, innovation and sharing of solutions”, COP22 must help implement the decisions adopted by all parties at the Paris Climate Agreement to combat climate change, by defining their commitments for 2020 and beyond. African countries have contributed little to climate change, but they are suffering the consequences.

Abderrahim Taibi, Director of IMANOR, the Moroccan Standards Institute and ISO member for the country, explains: “IMANOR is conscious of the importance of standards to economic development, and the solutions they offer in terms of mitigating the effects of technological development on the climate and the environment in a broad sense – particularly in Africa, which does not have the tools to protect it from the negative effects of this evolution. As Morocco’s representative in the International Standards community, IMANOR encourages its counterparts in African countries to seize the opportunities offered by these international meetings. This demonstrates how standards can be used to advance sustainable development and how their consensual and inclusive nature can ensure that the characteristics specific to Africa are taken into account in the conventions and agreements arising from these international meetings.” 

He further adds: “This is also an opportunity for IMANOR to confirm its willingness to make available to African standards bodies, and their public and private partners, all the expertise it has acquired on sustainable development standards in the context of cooperation projects led by ISO for countries in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. I refer, in particular, to projects relating to corporate social responsibility and to energy, water and the environment. The pooling of knowledge and experience related to standardization in the field of sustainable development should enable African countries to act and react rather more quickly than they do today.”

IMANOR will be present at COP22 with a stand located in the pavilion of the Moroccan Ministry of Industry and Commerce, which oversees the Institute. Films and slides on sustainability standards will be shown throughout the event. The IMANOR stand will also feature two presentations on Moroccan and international standardization in the area of sustainable development as well as on standards ISO 14001, ISO 50001 and ISO 26000. IMANOR will also be attending as a panellist at a side event in the Blue Zone, organized by the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM), on the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) for Africa. The objective is to identify difficulties and opportunities in order to coordinate CSR actions among African enterprises and institutions.

At the Marrakesh conference, governments will work on defining measures to be put in place with a view to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and accelerating the transition to a green economy. To achieve this long-term goal, alongside the non-governmental players (private sector, financial institutions, etc.), they will need tools such as International Standards to support their strategies and actions.

IMANOR communication contact: Nadia BENSMAINE