How collaboration can drive the global climate agenda

No one can be left behind when it comes to protecting our planet. As it plays its part in setting standards for a better future, ISO is reinforcing its commitment to inclusivity. 

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The 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is being held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, on 6-18 November 2022. ISO and its members join ranks with world change makers to showcase how International Standards help transform climate commitments into action. Our coverage of COP27 provides an overview and greater insights of ISO’s work in this area, from in-depth features to thought-provoking think pieces. 

This is the title
Sergio Mujica
Secretary-General of ISO

The world is experiencing vast, interconnected threats. Climate change, the energy crisis and the digitalization of society present challenges the scale of which have never been seen. Our world is changing beyond recognition. If we don’t get a grip on the pace of these rolling revolutions, we are likely to face a volatile and uncertain future for generations to come. This calls for urgent and profound collaboration towards common goals. 

Collaboration is at the heart of what we do at ISO; we have always taken an inclusive approach to developing and drafting standards. Only by involving everyone – including those most vulnerable to these threats – can we help build a better future. We engage with a wide range of stakeholders to develop standards that are consensus-based and global in their reach. This results in an approach that transcends national borders while providing economic, environmental and social benefits. 

Towards common goals 

“Collaboration for good” was the theme of the recently held 2022 ISO Annual Meeting. During this event, it gave me great pleasure to bring together 5 000 participants from every part of the world, representing a breadth and scale of participation never seen in the realm of International Standards. 

This first-of-its-kind meeting gathered veteran standards setters from all countries, backgrounds and genders, as well as government representatives such as ministers of energy, climate, trade, industry and foreign affairs. We also welcomed newcomers curious to understand how standards might guide them into the future. Our primary goal was to encourage concrete and meaningful action. Interactive polls, live Q&As, on-demand video, live-streamed sessions and transcripts allowed for remote contributions and maximized participation. Almost 50 sessions spanning subjects such as achieving global collaboration and cleaner energy in Africa steered discussion towards solutions. 

As highlighted by our ISO President, Ulrika Francke: “In the spirit of collaboration that underpins everything ISO does, we come together this week to work toward solutions. I have seen first-hand how standards shape our world. It takes collaborative leadership, agreed standards and regulation, established policies, and great initiative to solve global problems.” It is with this sense of purpose that we will continue to collaborate with international partners to deliver on the outcomes of COP27. 

All in it together 

Collaboration starts with a common vision. By sharing information, resources, activities and capabilities, we can achieve things together that we could never achieve alone. The climate crisis can only be realized with strong global partnerships and cooperation. We have an opportunity to stave off our biggest existential threat to date through joint, concerted action. But for the future to work for everyone, everyone needs to be involved.  

Since COP26, ISO has been involved, together with our UK member BSI, in the UN-backed Race to Zero initiative. The programme is aimed at raising awareness amongst non-state actors of what climate standards are already available, identifying gaps that need to be urgently filled with new standards and using standards to accelerate technology innovation.  

Thanks to these collaborative efforts, the world is one step closer to Net Zero Guidelines, which will launch next month at COP27. Engaged in an extensive consultation process with a wide range of stakeholders, from more than 150 countries around the world, these guidelines represent a milestone in international collaborative efforts towards climate action and measurable progress. 

At ISO, we’re busy preparing for COP27. In addition to the launch of the Net Zero Guidelines, a particular priority for us now is the creation of the ISO National Climate Champions Network. Connecting 166 member countries will amplify the work being done at national level and ensure the exchange of good practices. The Network will also help ISO members find synergies and cross-benefits with other climate action activities taking place across the ISO system, to fulfil our climate goals.  

Our collaboration directly connects international efforts in shaping the climate agenda. ISO’s climate standards will ultimately create stronger mechanisms to support state and non-state actors in delivering on their commitments. These partnerships can unleash innovative solutions and bring real transformation. After all, only through our shared interests can we achieve the kind of world we all envisage. We can do this – a new and brighter future is within our reach. 

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