"ISO is making an important contribution to climate protection," says Richard Kinley, Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in an exclusive interview in the June issue of ISO Focus (www.iso.org/isofocus), the magazine of the International Organization for Standardization.

"Like standards in any other market, these ISO standards will provide frameworks for assessing and verifying greenhouse gases at different levels," Kinley tells ISO Focus. "Applied broadly, they lessen the transaction costs to companies. For example, for those operating in several countries, the costs of understanding different rules and regulations would vanish."

Kinley appreciates that ISO standards are associated to the development of emission trading activities. "The ISO standards provide guidelines for various market-based schemes," he says, "and thereby contribute to the integration of greenhouse gas reduction into the decision-making of economic actors. They may also provide a basis for facilitating connection of different trading schemes by ensuring that the commodity, in our case carbon, is considered equivalent."

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), one of the market-based mechanisms created by the Kyoto Protocol, offers certified emission credits in return for investment in sustainable development, emissions-reducing projects in developing countries.

The CDM infrastructure includes a process for the approval of methodologies and a scheme for accrediting entities which provide services for validation and verification of the CDM project activities.

"These, I believe, served as an example or reference point for the development of parts of more generic ISO standards and will be widely used in other schemes as guidance for organizations and companies to design and develop greenhouse gas emission inventories and carbon projects," says Kinley in the interview." I would also like to mention that the development of the CDM accreditation scheme, adopted several years ago, drew from relevant ISO standards and assessment practices at that time."

Environmental concerns are becoming essential components of sound business management and also key social and economic issues for governments, Kinley emphasizes: "ISO standards provide tools for businesses and governments to evaluate and enhance their environmental performance against certain acceptable criteria."