ISO 20400 – Sustainable Procurement: Purchasing Greener and More Sustainable Products from Greener and More Sustainable Companies

Philippine Procurement Today

The overall consumer expenditure in the Philippines increased to ₱ 1,342,297 Million in the fourth quarter of 2015 from ₱ 1,321,980 Million in the third quarter of 2015. Shifting that spending towards more sustainable goods and services can help drive markets in the direction of innovation and sustainability, thereby enabling transition to a green economy.

Traditional procurement focuses upon value-for-money considerations. Nowadays, procurement go beyond the traditional purchasing criteria of price, performance and quality, taking account also of the environmental and social impacts of your purchasing choices, reducing adverse impacts upon health, social conditions and the environment, thereby saving valuable costs for organizations and the community at large.

Society’s Receptiveness on Sustainable Procurement

Thinking about our purchasing decisions and making informed choices can significantly reduce our environmental and social impacts. Our purchasing power can be used to positively influence supply chains, promoting the productive use of resources and materials and the engagement of ethical and socially responsible suppliers.

price

According to 2014 Nielsen Report, 55% of global online consumers across 60 countries say they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact. Asian-Pacific region was the most willing to pay more for products with social-good benefits, surpassing the global average at 64%.

These sustainability-minded consumers based their choice of goods and services on:

considerations

Benefits of Responsible Purchasing

Consumers are not the only ones interested in purchasing greener, healthier products. Many organizations from large to small enterprise are looking to make more sustainable choices.

For many of these organizations, responsible purchasing is more than “doing the right thing.” Green purchasing priorities are frequently connected with specific business objectives like:

  • Enhanced Brand Image:An organization that has gone green is seen as a good corporate citizen. This increases its image in the eyes of the public.
  • Customer Satisfaction:An organization that goes green in response to customer concerns increases its levels of customer satisfaction, a key point in customer retention.
  • Reduced Risk:Not only is any company that does not go green risking a run in with the law by failing to comply with green regulations but it is also maintaining more liability than it needs to. Hazardous chemicals are just accidents, and lawsuits, waiting to happen. With green purchasing, you can offset financial and environmental risk, rather than just inheriting it from your suppliers.
  • Cost Reduction:Going green doesn’t cost more. Most of the time it actually saves money, especially when the new products use less energy, generate less waste, and last longer. Plus, sometimes green products work better than their lethal counterparts. Going green can reduce the following costs, among others:
    • hazardous material management costs
    • operational costs
    • repair and replacement costs
    • disposal costs
    • health & safety costs (which often come in the form of liability insurance and expensive settlements)
  • Increased Shareholder Value:A better brand with happy customers who keep coming back and drive up sales while costs keep falling results in significant ROI, interest more shareholders to invest in your company.

ISO 20400 – Sustainable Procurement: Purchasing from Greener and More Sustainable Companies

A purchasing entity, regardless of its location in the world, can now no longer exempt itself from accountability for what occurs at its suppliers. Now, given multiple levels of subcontractors and cross-border procurement, a globally accepted standard will be needed to regulate the best practices of responsible purchasing.

ISO 20400, a standard for Sustainable Procurement provides guidelines on purchasing greener, healthier and more sustainable products from greener and more sustainable companies. Its development started in 2013 with a proposal of France and Brazil. At the moment 33 countries are participating and 7 liaison organizations while 13 countries are observing.

The ISO 20400 Standard is based on several principles, many of which share the intent of SPLC’s Principles for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing and this includes:

Understanding – Understanding the relevant environmental, social, and economic impacts of its purchasing.

Commitment – Taking responsibility for the relevant environmental, social, and economic impacts of its purchasing by committing to an action plan.

Results – Delivering on its commitment to improve the relevant environmental, social, and economic impacts of its purchasing.

Innovation – Actively promoting internal and external innovation that advances a positive future.

Transparency – Soliciting and disclosing information that supports a marketplace of innovation..

The four main parts of the guidance standard consists of:

sus

Clause 4: Fundamentals

This clause is primarily written for use by top management of an organization to help define the strategy and policies in connection with sustainable procurement. As a result it considers what sustainable procurement is, what the main organizational sustainability issues and drivers are, and how sustainability should be integrated into procurement policies and strategies.

Clause 5: Integrating Sustainability into the Organization’s Procurement Policy and Strategy (Policy and Strategy)

This clause provides guidance about how sustainability considerations should be integrated at a strategic level within the procurement function of an organization to ensure that the intention, direction and key sustainability priorities of the organization are documented and understood by all parties involved in sustainable procurement. This clause is applicable to all but help top management define sustainable procurement policy and strategy.

Clause 6: Organizing the Procurement Function towards Sustainability (Enablers)

Clause 6 is primarily written for use by procurement management and describes the conditions that need to be created and management techniques that should be employed to enable sustainable procurement to be successfully implemented and continually improved. These conditions are key to successfully integrating sustainability considerations into the procurement process described in clause 6. Five enablers are discussed: priority setting, enabling people, governing procurement, engaging stakeholders and measuring performance.

Clause 7. Integrating Sustainability into the Procurement Process (Procurement Process)

This clause addresses the procurement process and is intended for individuals who are responsible for the actual procurement within their organization. This clause may also be of interest to those in associated functions.

When adopting sustainable procurement, it should be integrated into existing procurement process steps like: planning, specifications, supplier selection, contract management and contract review and lessons learnt.

Looking Ahead

Buying greener, healthier, more sustainable products is one way we can all improve our own lives while building a better world. To strengthen this initiative, ISO 20400 was created and launched for a consultation to a wider audience than the experts from the mirror committees of the involved countries. The vote terminates on 2nd of December, 2016 and the final version of the standard is expected to be released on the early 2017. 

References

http://www.triplepundit.com/special/setting-the-standard/sustainable-purchasing-101-tools-buying-greener-products/

https://www.ungm.org/Public/KnowledgeCentre/SustainableProcurement

http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2013/01/14/how-to-make-balanced-sustainable-purchasing-decisions

http://www.esourcingforum.com/archives/2011/11/29/five-benefits-of-green-procurement/

https://www.jisc.go.jp/international/PC277/E_ISO_DIS_20400.pdf

Paris Climate Agreement: A Turning Point on Climate Change

Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet Today

There is now little doubt that climate change is happening. It is seen as the biggest potential threat and environmental challenge of the 21st Century and it affects us all. The group of 1300 independent scientific experts from around the world concludes that there is more than 90% probability that greenhouse gases (GHG) such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, produced by human activity, have caused much of the observed escalation in Earth’s temperatures over the past 50 years. Scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate carrying out global warming research have recently predicted that average global temperatures could increase between 1.4 and 5.8 °C by the year 2100.

Adoption of Paris Climate Agreement to Roll Back Global Warming

The world needs “a global deal for climate” that keeps the rise of the global average temperature below 2°C.  At Annual Conference of Parties (COP21) held in Paris last December 7th and 8th of 2015, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) resolved to achieve for the first time, in over 20 years of UN negotiations, a legally binding universal agreement on climate from all nations of the world.

The Paris Agreement is intended to signal the beginning of the end of more than 100 years of fossil fuels serving as the prime engine of economic development and shows the governments from around the world take climate change seriously. The inclusion of both developed and developing countries, including those that depend on revenue from oil and gas production, demonstrate a unity never seen before on this issue.

The purpose is to hold global warming to below 2 °C degrees over pre-Industrial Revolution levels, and to strive for 1.5 °C if possible. Negotiators from nearly 200 countries reached the world’s most significant agreement to address climate change since the issue first emerged as a major political priority decades ago.

Paris Climate Agreement Key Elements

The Role of Business and Industry in COP21

Business has to play a part in the ongoing shift towards a carbon-clean global economic system.  Some companies have already started to do so, either by changing their global strategy, investing in carbon-free energies or through innovations.

Paris Agreement encouraged businesses to commit and to publicly announce actions aiming at reducing emission, overall. Commitments can, for instance, take the form of:

Individual mitigation targets:

  • GHG emission reduction
  • GHG emission reduction in line with the 2°C objective
  • Carbon neutrality
  • Improved energy efficiency target

Targets related to specific themes:

  • Increased produced renewable energy (low‐carbon energy)
  • Increase consumed renewable energy
  • Reduced deforestation
  • Reduced emission from own property/buildings
  • Reduced emission from own fleet
  • Material use reduction
  • Increase the share of recycling

Finance/Investors targets:

  • Carbon accounting implementation
  • Carbon/climate risks assessments & stress testing generalization
  • Green bounds development
  • Portfolio decarbonization

Resilience/adaptation targets:

  • Funding into public and open scientific risk modelling facilities
  • Efforts to adjust business models to minimize vulnerabilities and risks to climate hazards

After COP21: What Needs to Happen for the Paris Agreement to Take Effect?

What occurred on December 2015 at COP21 was the “adoption” of the Paris Agreement by the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Countries still need to take steps so that it takes effect.

timeline

Countries must now actually join the Paris Agreement and become Parties to it.  To do this, each country must now sign and indicate their consent to be bound by the Agreement. On April 22, 2016, all Heads of State can sign the Agreement at a high-level signing ceremony at the United Nations in New York.  The Agreement will then be open for signature for one year, until April 21, 2017. After the one-year signing period, the Agreement will be open for what is called “accession” – a country becomes a Party to an international agreement that other countries have already signed.

PARIS-03

Only after at least 55 Parties to the UNFCCC representing at least 55 percent of total global greenhouse gases sign on and indicate their consent to be bound will the Agreement “enter into force” and will come into effect and be legally binding.

 Pushing Forward

Our world is getting hotter, and we can see the evidence in loss of ice sea, accelerated sea level rises, warming oceans, more intense heat waves, and an increase in extreme events such as wildfires, drought, tropical storms and floods. The impact of global warming and climate change is already being felt across the planet.

Paris Agreement represents a huge leap forward in terms of reducing the effect of global warming. Taking the action needed to bring this deal into force is an essential next step for countries to build on the momentum from COP21. If they do so quickly, countries can ensure that the critically important provisions and requirements of the Paris Agreement are fully put into motion.

References

http://www.iso.org/iso/isofocus_114.pdf

http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/international/negotiations/future/index_en.htm

http://time.com/4146764/paris-agreement-climate-cop-21/

http://www.wri.org/blog/2016/01/after-cop21-what-needs-happen-paris-agreement-take-effect

http://climateaction.unfccc.int/assets/downloads/LPAA_-_Private_sector_engagement.pdf

 

ECCI becomes AA 1000AS (AccountAbility) licensed assurance services provider

Logo-AA100 Logo

In its continuing growth as the leading sustainability solutions provider across Southeast Asia (covering Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia), ECC International (ECCI) has been accredited and awarded the status of licensed AA 1000AS assurance service provider in the region by AccountAbility, UK – a leading global organisation providing innovative solutions to the most critical challenges in corporate responsibility and sustainable development.

 AccountAbility’s AA1000 series of standards have become the gold standard in the industry for performing assurance of non-financial reports, more popularly developed into sustainability reporting. The AA 1000 series are principles-based standards to help organisations become more accountable, responsible and sustainable. They address issues affecting governance, business models and organizational strategy, as well as providing operational guidance on sustainability assurance and stakeholder engagement. The AA1000 standards are designed for the integrated thinking required by the low carbon and green economy, and support integrated reporting and assurance.

 Having become a licensed assurance services provider, ECCI is now vested with the responsibility and privilege to carry our external third party assurance of sustainability reports (commonly called CSR reports and ESG reports) for organisations that are interested to get a credible statement as well as global recognition of their sustainability commitment.

 “With the unprecedented growth that the ASEAN market is experiencing there is an increasing interest among stakeholders (investment community, public sector, top management and consumers) for responsible profit and strong risk management in private sector. Practicing sustainability reporting to communicate one’s sustainability commitment and pursuing a credible third party to accredit this is seen as a good way to address such stakeholder needs. We are happy to be able to provide sustainability assurance services for companies in the region. Our 15 years of experience in this domain and geography will give us the right advantage of global expertise coupled with local knowledge!” said Karthik Subburaman, Country Manager, ECC International.

 ECCI is the leading sustainability solutions provider spanning assessment, strategy, training and assurance services with over 1000 customers in the last 15 years. Under the domain of Corporate Sustainability & Governance, ECCI works closely with its customers in the following areas – Energy Management, Sustainability Reporting, Corporate Responsibility & Governance, Carbon Neutrality & Climate Change. Some of the key management systems and best practices that ECCI helps its customers implement include ISO 14001, OHSAS 18000, ISO 26000, SA 8000, GRI G4, UNGC, ISO 50001, PAS 2050 and PAS 2060 amongst others.

GRI G4 – Quick Look on what’s hot and what’s not!

By Karthik Subburaman, Country Manager, ECCI Group

GR4 logoGRI guidelines has been the globally accepted gold standard in non-financial reporting over the last decade . But with several questions around the credibility of the basis for rating companies as superior vs otherwise using applicability levels and different types of assurance, improvement of the guidelines for sake of clarity and better hold of the sustainability context was imperative.

GRI G4 – the next generation guidelines was released last thursday (May 23) officially at the Global Reporting Initiative Conference held in Amsterdam between May 22-24 2013. A bi-annual affair, this year’s event attracted close to 1600 practitioners from over 60 countries – with exactly equal number of men and women registrations. The script for inclusiveness and equality could not have been written better…

The G4 guidelines was touted to be an enhancement of the G3.1 guidelines in many areas while several of the components have been retained. Largely, some key objectives the guidelines that this change aims to achieve include:

  • Simpler and clearer guidelines that leave not too much to interpretation (by convenience)
  • Grounded on principles that help companies focus on ‘material issues’ rather than go merely by number of indicators
  • Make it simple for new reporters to take on the responsibility of non-financial reporting and take transparency to the next level

How far these objectives will be achieved will be answered in time as companies start adopting G4 guidelines but as in any new focus area there is clamor from the other side for intentional omission of focus / clarity on ‘sustainability context’ making the guidelines still a difficult set of best practices from the perspective of true sustainability!

Leaving opinions for a different post, here is a list of

Whats HOT – New additions / changes to the guidelines
Whats NOT – Omissions from G3.1

Whats HOT!

  • New ‘in accordance‘ criteria – It consists of two options: “Core” and “Comprehensive.” Core reports will include majority of the standard disclosures and a minimum of one relevant indicator per material aspect. Comprehensive will include all the standard disclosures and all of the relevant indicators for each material aspect. The biggest change from G3.1!
  • Its ALL about ‘Materiality‘ – While materiality is not new, the G4 framework more explicitly requires reporting efforts to center on materiality — impacts, risks and opportunities. What used to be a bunch of protocols to determine report content, now forms the crux of G4 reporting!
  • Open up your ‘boundary‘ – There is an exemplified need to consider supply chain and downstream processes through customer use as part of reporting still in line with materiality!
  • DMAs a double! – There are two separate DMAs (Disclosures on Management Approach) – general standard disclosures and specific standard disclosures. The latter along with the indicators are clubbed under the 3 major categories (Social, Economic and Environmental)
  • Indicators & disclosures plus some more! – There are some new indicators added with very few deletions. Special focus on governance related standard disclosures leading to 10 new additions!
  • Increased focus on Ethics & Integrity – Special mention as a standard disclosure area which was not originally separate. Calls for specific attention to aspects such as remuneration, transparency etc. making it relevant in today’s scenario

Whats NOT!

  • No A,B,C application levels – Application levels have been removed to give way to ‘in accordance’ criteria and increased focus on materiality!
  • No assurance based on application levels – With the removal of application levels, external assurance leading to ‘+’ ratings of sustainability reports is also not part of the G4 guidelines. However, assurance as a potential value-added intervention for credibility still exists!
  • Value chain assessments are gone – Value chain reporting of the organization has been removed and there is a specific intent to include supply chain as mentioned before

Personal Highlights

  • Potentially shorter reports – With a clear trend towards considering materiality aspects before reporting, overall length of reports might become shorter (especially as companies figure to perform appropriate assessments and prioritization)
  • Probably lesser uptake for assurance – to begin with! – With lesser clarity around the types as well as intensity of assurers on the aspects of materiality, going for external assurance could remain a wait and watch game for many!
  • Guidelines and implementation manual – The what & how… connected! With the intent to keep the guidelines close to inputs on its usage, there is a sense of ease and connection which might make it reporter-friendly.

To learn more about the GRI G4 guidelines and the updates from G3.1, please attend our upcoming Friday Forum on 7 June 2013 organized by Apex Global.

About Apex Global & ECCI

ECCI is the leading process improvement solutions provider in Southeast Asia, focused on process consulting, automation solutions and learning outsourcing services. We help companies achieve performance excellence by assisting them implement management systems and international standards/best practices across multiple domains and industries. ECCI has helped several top companies in the region implement GRI guidelines and prepare externally assured sustainability reports!

APEX Global (The Academy for Professional Excellence) is the learning solutions arm of ECCI – the leading process improvement solutions provider in Southeast Asia. Our sole aim is to promote performance excellence among professionals. We help our customers achieve greater success through effective, experiential and results-oriented training delivery.

Another milestone in Sustainability Reporting for ECCI

ECCI helped Ayala Corporation in developing their 2011 Sustainability Report for at the conglomerate Level. The report focuses on the Environmental, Economic and Social performance of the group for the past year based on the GRI G3.1 Guidelines. The report was released during the recently held  Sustainability Summit at the Ayala Museum on Friday, October 5, 2012. The report was officially launched by its Chairman, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala. The event was organized by Ayala Corporation to strengthen the sustainability initiatives in the group. Lory Tan, WWF President, Philippines and Adam Brennan, Global Sustainability Manager for Puma where speakers in the event who shared their views on the Climate Adaption Project in the Philippines by WWF and implementing sustainability measure in their organizations respectively. At the end of the Sustainability Summit JAZA’s message was “We all have a big job to do”. This statement by the chairman clears out the vision and direction given by the Chairman to its subsidiaries.

Another milestone in Sustainability Reporting for ECCIIn their third conglomerate sustainability report, it reinforces the group’s commitment in creating shared value to the broader communities in which they operate. It highlights Ayala’s pledge to improve their sustainability impact through their operations, products and services, supply chains, human resources practices, community involvement and management approach.

After helping Globe Telecom’s 2011 Sustainability Report and helping them achieve a B+ level of external assurance, ECCI assisted Ayala Corp to attain GRI Application Level B Check for the report to strengthen the credibility of the report.

Being one of the leading training and consulting companies in Southeast Asia, ECCI has been taking active participation in helping companies developing their Sustainability initiatives and disclosing them through reporting. Some of the key areas where ECCI helps clients are in Energy Management, Carbon Footprint, Sustainability Reporting and CSR.

For more information on ECCI’s Corporate Sustainability & Governance services portfolio, please email info@eccigroup.com

On The Road to Sustainability

ISO’s current portfolio of nearly 19,000 standards provides solutions in all three dimensions of sustainable development – environmental, economic and societal.

Here are some examples of achievements by the international community, represented at Rio+20, working within the ISO system. The examples illustrate how ISO standards serve as tools in the three dimensions of sustainable development.

Environment

Environmental Management

One of the concrete results following on from the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, in Rio de Janeiro, in 1992, was the development by ISO of the ISO 14000 family of standards for environmental management which translates into action ISO’s commitment to support the objective of sustainable development discussed at the first Earth Summit. In essence, the ISO 14000 family provides a framework for organizations large and small, in manufacturing and services, in public and private sectors, in industrialized, developing and transition economies, to : Minimize harmful effects on the environment caused by their activities:

Meet regulatory requirements

Achieve continual improvement of their environmental performance

Improve business performance through more efficient use of resources.

Has the ISO 14000 family actually made a difference?

The increasing number of users is an important element in the answer. At the end of December 2010, 14 years after publication of the first edition of ISO 14001, which gives the requirements for environmental management systems, the standard was being implemented by users in 155 countries and economies. These include both public and private sector organizations, large and small, in manufacturing and services, in developed and developing economies. In addition to ISO 14001, the ISO 14000 family includes 25 other standards addressing specific challenges such as lifecycle analysis, environmental labelling and greenhouse gases (see next section).

Climate change

The ISO 14064:2006 series and the ISO 14065:2007 standard provide an internationally agreed framework for measuring greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and verifying claims made about them so that “ a tonne of

carbon is always a tonne of carbon ”. They support programmes to reduce GHG emissions as well as emissions trading programmes. Beyond their welcome by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, they are now being implemented on a day-today basis by users as varied as a New Zealand printer, a Norwegian shipping company, an Indian construction company and the Spanish organization that is one of the world’s largest transport infrastructure providers.

ISO and the Environment

The ISO 14000 family is the most visible part of ISO’s work for the environment. In naddition, however, ISO offers a wide-ranging portfolio of standardized sampling, testing and analytical methods to deal with specific environmental challenges. It has developed more than 650 International Standards for the monitoring of aspects such as the quality of air, water, soil and nuclear radiation. These standards are tools for providing business and government with scientifically valid data on the environmental effects of economic activity. They may also be used as the technical basis for environmental regulations. Other environment related work includes standards for designing buildings, or retrofitting existing ones, for improved energy efficiency.

Economy

ISO standards provide solutions and achieve benefits for almost all sectors of activity, including agriculture, construction, mechanical engineering, manufacturing, distribution, transport, healthcare, information and communication technologies, food, water, the environment, energy, quality management, conformity assessment and services.

Efficiency, Effectiveness, Innovation

These standards contribute to sustainable economic development by increasing efficiency, effectiveness and, therefore, conserving resources. They keep the wheels of industry turning by providing specifications, dimensions, requirements and testing and maintenance regimes for engineering, construction, production and distribution.

They ensure compatibility and interoperability of the information and communications technologies that have become the backbone of almost every sector. They speed up the time to market and diffusion of products and services derived from innovation, such as nanotechnologies and vehicles powered by electrical batteries or hydrogen. They facilitate trade, providing a basis for agreement between business partners and the technical support for regulation.

Economic Benefits

Several studies have found that the economic benefits of standardization represent about 1 % of gross domestic product. This shows that standards make an annual contribution of GBP 2.5 billion to the economy, and attribute 13 % of the growth in labour productivity. Standards and related conformity assessment (checking that products and services measure up to standards) have an impact on 80 % of the world’s trade in commodities.

Management Standards

ISO 14001, referred to above, is a management system standard like the pioneer in this field, ISO 9001 for quality management. These are among ISO’s best-known 14001 has since been followed by other standards for the needs of specific sectors, or to address specific issues.

They include:

Information security (ISO/IEC 27001)

Food safety (ISO 22000)

Supply chain security (ISO 28000)

Energy management (ISO 50001)

Road traffic safety management

(ISO 39001 – under development).

Although the ISO 31000 standard for risk management is not a management system standard, it shares with this category the attribute of being generic, providing benefits for any organization in the public or private sector.

 These benefits may be economic, environmental or societal, making it an important tool for sustainability.

Social Responsibility

1 November 2010 saw the publication of ISO 26000 which gives organizations guidance on social responsibility, with the objective of sustainability. The standard was eagerly awaited, as shown by the fact that a mere four months after its publication, a Google search resulted in nearly five million references to the standard. This indicates there is a global expectation for organizations in both public and private sectors to be responsible for their actions, to be transparent, and behave in an ethical manner. ISO 26000, developed with the engagement of experts from 99 countries, the majority from developing economies, and more than 40 international organizations, will help move from good intentions about social responsibility to effective action.

Health

ISO offers more than 1 400 standards for facilitating and improving healthcare. These are developed within 19 ISO technical committees addressing specific aspects of healthcare that bring together health practitioners and experts from government, industry and other stakeholder categories. Some of the topics addressed include health informatics, laboratory equipment and testing, medical devices and their evaluation, dentistry, sterilization of healthcare products, implants for surgery, biological evaluation, mechanical contraceptives, prosthetics and orthotics, quality management and protecting patient data. They provide benefits for researchers, manufacturers, regulators, healthcare professionals, and, most important of all, for patients. The World Health Organization is a major stakeholder in this work, holding liaison status with 61 of ISO’s health related technical committees (TCs) or subcommittees (SCs).

Food

There are some 1 000 ISO food-related standards benefitting producers and manufacturers, regulators and testing laboratories, packaging and transport companies, merchants and retailers, and the end consumer. In recent years, there has been strong emphasis on standards to ensure safe food supply chains. At the end of 2010, five years after the publication of ISO 22000, the standard was being implemented by users in 138 countries. At least 18 630 certificates of conformity attesting that food safety management systems were being implemented according to the requirements of the standard, had been issued by the end of 2010, an increase of 34 % over the previous year. The level of inter-governmental interest in ISO’s food standards is shown by the fact that the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organizations has liaison status with 41 ISO TCs or SCs.

Water

The goals of safe water and improved sanitation are ingrained in the UN Millennium Development Goals. ISO is contributing through the development of standards for both drinking water and wastewater services and for water quality. Related areas addressed by ISO include irrigation systems and plastic piping through which water flows. In all, ISO has developed more than 550 water-related standards. A major partner in standards for water quality is the United Nations Environment Programme.

*This article was originally published in ISO Focus Magazine. The text is based on the brochure, Rio+20 – Forging action from agreement – How ISO standards translate good intentions about sustainability into concrete results.

London 2012 Olympics closes with a legacy of ISO 20121 Sustainable Event Management

With sustainability as the key agenda for most of the organizations, organizations can now conduct sustainable events based on the international standard recently launched by ISO. As the impact of an event is most significant on the environment, organizers can follow implement this best practice and achieve sustainability. ISO 20121 – Event Sustainability Management System has been designed to help organizations improve the sustainability of their event related activities, products & services.

Before becoming an ISO standard, it was BS 8901 under the British Standard which was first launched in 2007 in the UK. Soon after its launch, the standard became so popular and of great interest for the event industries that it was decided to turn it into an international standard acceptable by universally.

One example of a sustainable event is the recently held London 2012 Olympics. London’s plans for organizing the Olympic Games this year came with a promise of legacy and sustainability. This commitment is made evident in all aspects of the games from the construction of game venues, waste and carbon management, promotion of sustainable transport to food sourcing. In fact, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is the first organizing committee certified to BS 8901 and their sustainability approach is built around five themes of Climate Change, Waste, Biodiversity, Inclusion, and Healthy Living.

Similarly, ISO 20121 will benefit organizations to be more financially successful and socially responsible, reducing their environmental footprint during the events. The standard is a collection of processes but not a checklist which needs to be implemented across the business for an event to be a sustainable. It does not set any performance requirement making it highly adaptable for organizations. ISO 20121 is applicable for all types of industries ranging from caterers, hoteliers, stage building, event organizing and other industries in event management.