The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP) was held in Glasgow in November and resulted in a series of new pledges by world leaders to help prevent further global warming.
Landmark promises included the pledge to cut emissions of methane by 2030 by both the US and the EU, as well as the promise by more than 100 leaders to end deforestation.
With new promises made and deadlines for net zero greenhouse gas emissions creeping closer, it has never been more evident that significant change is needed to the way in which we live our lives if destructive global warming is to be halted.
To achieve this goal, businesses must work in alignment with shared objectives, which is where ISO Standards come in.
How can the principles of ISOs help?
ISOs are globally recognised guidelines of best practice and based on international collaboration. Experts from all over the globe help to form the Standards’ requirements, which means that organisations of all sizes, from all over the world, can implement the same processes to promote greater sustainability.
All ISO Standards draw on the same principles:
- Measurement: A key element of ISOs is the importance of measuring organisational activities and operations. By doing so, businesses can gain the insight they need to change their practices for reduced greenhouse emissions.
- Shared rules: ISO requirements are the same for every organisation, regardless of size or where in the world they operate. By implementing best practice, all compliant businesses ensure they are working to the same principles, which can make large-scale change possible.
- Evaluation: ISO Standards place emphasis on evaluating how well processes perform and ensuring that they are doing what they are meant to. By doing this, businesses can ensure that the sustainable processes they implement actually deliver what they promise in terms of greater sustainability.
- Continual improvement: ISO Standards do not want businesses to stand still. Instead, they ensure that organisations regularly check for new opportunities, which means that environmental goalposts are reset and improvement is woven into business practices.
Which ISOs can help to increase sustainability?
The ISO (International Organisation of Standardisation) has some particularly relevant Standards that organisations can implement if they want to ensure they are doing their bit in the Race to Zero.
ISO 14001 is the international Standard for environmental management. Its framework gives businesses practical tools with which they can manage the impact of their activities on the environment.
Firstly, it requires businesses to identify all of the environmental aspects of their operations. In other words, all of the ways in which the business interacts with the environment by producing waste, emissions or consuming natural resources.
The business must then determine how these aspects actually impact the environment, and whether this is positive or negative.
With this understanding, businesses can then implement controls that can either remove environmental impacts or minimise them as much as possible. These processes and the environmental impacts of the businesses must then be regularly monitored and assessed to ensure that environmental control is maintained as well as improved over time.
The efficient use of energy can make a huge difference to organisation’s carbon footprint and its contribution towards greenhouse emissions.
ISO 50001 can therefore be instrumental in shrinking the effects of energy use. As the Standard for energy management, it implements best practice for energy efficiency.
By examining energy use across the organisation, businesses can gain greater insight into how their activities use energy and where. With this information, organisations can implement effective energy saving strategies which cut their energy use and boost efficiency.
With ongoing monitoring and evaluation forming another key requirement of the Standard, organisations can ensure that they work towards continuous improvement and constantly seek out new ways to reduce their consumption and shrink their footprint.