How ISO's technical programme and standards contribute to a sustainable world

ISO has just published a new brochure providing a concise overview of how ISO's technical programme, which has so far produced more than 17 400 International Standards, contributes to a sustainable world.

ISO – a multi-sector, multi-stakeholder international organization – is the leader for the production of consensus-based International Standards. ISO's membership comprises the national standards bodies of 157 countries. This network is complemented by more than 600 international and regional partners and the participation of close to 100 000 experts.

The brochure is entitled How ISO’s technical programme and standards contribute to a sustainable world. It explains how International Standards of the type developed by ISO, based on a double level of consensus, between stakeholders and between countries, contribute to the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, environmental and social. They:

  • support the facilitation of global trade, the dissemination of new technologies, good business practices and the relations between economic actors
  • support good environmental practice and information, energy efficiency and the dissemination of new, eco-friendly and energy performance technologies
  • contribute to consumer protection, safety at work, healthcare, security and other social interests which may require technical or management standards for the related products and services.

ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden commented: "While the content of the majority of ISO standards is technical, their implementation goes beyond solving technical problems to delivering positive results in economic, environmental and societal spheres."

The new brochure is based on a survey launched in 2007 by the ISO Technical Management Board (TMB) of the technical committees that develop ISO standards.They were asked how they felt their standards contributed to sustainable development. The brochure gives a selection of examples provided by committees developing standards for energy, food, water, the environment, health, fire safety, building, transport, nanotechnologies, social responsibility and people with disabilities.

It also describes how ISO's standardization work benefits from strategic management and policy inputs that also contribute to sustainability. These inputs come from the TMB and ISO policy development committees for consumer affairs, developing countries and conformity assessment.

How ISO’s technical programme and standards contribute to a sustainable world, 20 pages, A5 landscape format, is available in English (ISBN 978-92-67-10484-3) and French (ISBN 978-92-67-20484-0) editions, free of charge from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details) and from ISO Central Secretariat through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing & Communication department. It can also be downloaded as a PDF file from the ISO Web site.