In my meetings with other standards professionals, there’s a growing interest in standards that are being developed in “non-traditional” areas. And the ISO Guide 82 certainly falls in that category. Titled “Guidelines for addressing sustainability in standards,” the new document supports the goals of ISO Guide 64 (“Guide for Addressing Environmental Issues in Product Standards”) and ISO 26000 (“Guidance on Social Responsibility.”) The publication is intended to help standards developers take into consideration issues of sustainability, that is, the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
The document provides both a context for sustainability in standards and a methodology for developing an approach to including sustainability issues in the development process. It begins with the usual scope, referenced documents, and definition sections. Then it reviews sustainability as a concept, as a goal, and as a historical trend.
Next the publication tackles the hard question of the place of sustainability in standards themselves. This includes a process flow diagram that will be very helpful to the folks who actually write standards documents. Detailed information is then provided on planning a strategy for your committee, developing a strategic business plan (necessary for ISO Technical Committees) that includes sustainability issues, and content issues. To support this work, the Guide then covers the various approaches to sustainability (like life cycle and systemic), the principles related to sustainability (transparency and ethics), and the levels of concern (general, relevant and significant).
Finally, the Guide reviews the various types of standards (like process, product and management system standards) and the types of sustainability issues that might crop up in each. Further there are suggestions on how to deal with conflicting sustainability issues.
Three Annexes are provided in this document. Annex A includes a table that lists the various issues of social responsibility that are inherent in the development of sustainable standards. Annex B gives you an ISO resource website with guidance information and Q and A on this topic. Annex C provides you with some examples of how to include provisions on environmental issues, like the prevention of pollution or the efficient use of resources. The document finishes with a bibliography with 20 publications you will want to review.
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