October 14th marks the celebration of World Standards Day, 2020, with this year’s theme of “Protecting the World with Standards” centered on environmental management and sustainability to create a more prosperous yet environmentally-conscious future.
Each year on October 14th, World Standards Day recognises the importance of those responsible for creating the set of international standards, and how their efforts help organisations around the world improve the quality of service, safety, technical skills and environmental concerns in their operations.
In celebration of World Standards Day 2020, we’re going to run through a list of the five most significant environmental moments from organisations so far this year.
That last theme, environmental concerns, is of particular importance for the World Standards Day 2020, with the governing bodies of the IEC, ISO and ITU celebrating the importance of “protecting the planet with standards,” that help organisations reduce their environmental problems and risks, while looking to areas of improvement.
ISO writes in a letter co-signed by the IEC President, ISO President and Secretary-General of the ITU that earth is a “finite vessel of life in the vastness of our solar system” and that “over the last century, human and large-scale industrial activities of our modern civilization have added to the earth’s natural greenhouse gases.”
“They negatively impact our climate and with it all forms of life. At the same time, rapid population growth and broad urbanization call for the responsible use of limited resources.”
Economic growth has been, for a long time, tied to the consumption of natural resources and the depletion of potentially sensitive ecosystems, posing a significant threat to the Earth’s biodiversity. With Standards Day 2020, the governing bodies of ISO, IEC and ITU say that this growth no longer needs to be connected to environmental degradation- thanks to standards like ISO 14001 that are designed to reduce your environmental impact and impart risk-based thinking in the context of the environment.
ISO says that “to reduce the impact on our planet, we need the political will, concrete action and the right tools… International standards are one such tool. Their broad use helps reduce the environmental impact of industrial production and processes, facilities and reuse of limited resources and improve energy efficiency.”
World Standards Day was first created on October 14th, 1946, as the world was rebuilding after the stresses of World War II. Members of 25 countries met in London to organise an international organisation that was designed to create and implement standardisation for organisations, with the first World Standards Day celebrated in 1970 to showcase their product to consumers, industry bodies and regulators alike.
As we’ve reported previously, organisations are increasingly looking to more environmentally-friendly and sustainable means of operating. Consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious and demand that the provider of their products and services take environmental concerns into the production of their goods and services.
Five Noteworthy Shifts in Environmental Forward-Thinking From Organisations
- Last week, we saw an announcement from General Electric that it would no longer be manufacturing coal-fired electricity plants. GE’s Senior Vice President Russel Stokes said at the time that “with the continued transformation of GE, we are focused on power generation businesses that have attractive economics and a growth trajectory.”
- We’ve also seen the Chief Executive of one of the largest banks in Australia, the National Australia Bank (NAB) say that his institution believes investments in coal are too risky, while opting for long-term investments in renewable energy. The CEO said at the time that “we think about the long term, where we think the future value will be, and it will be towards renewable energy.”
- 2020 also saw a major move from oil giants around the globe who downgraded the value of their assets by $87 billion in a three-month period. BP cut its oil production by around 40%, while saying that it is looking to invest in renewable energy production, storage and distribution. In a statement, BP said that “demand for fossil fuels [is expected] to drop by as much as 75% in the next three decades.”
- Earlier this year the United Nations issued a statement saying that “coal has no place in COVID-19 recovery,” with Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres added that “some countries have used stimulus plans to prop up oil and gas companies that were already struggling financially. Others have chosen to jumpstart coal-fired power plants that don’t make financial or environmental sense.” Guterres concluded that “we can invest in fossil fuels whose markets are volatile and whose emissions lead to lethal air pollution, or we can invest in renewable energy which is reliable, clean and economically smart.”
- Finally, and perhaps most significantly, earlier this year we saw BlackRock, the world’s largest private asset manager announced that it would punish 53 companies for failing to take action on climate change in their operations. BlackRock said that 244 companies were ‘on watch’ and that it would take voting action against the boards of 53 companies for climate inaction, citing their complacency of environmental risks while operating.