International commitment pledges to accelerate transition to net zero

A game-changing moment for international standards will enable a real acceleration in government and industry transition to net zero. Led by BSI, and approved by the ISO members, the London Declaration is a commitment to ensure global standards will support climate action and advance international initiatives to achieve our global climate goals.

Following recent research that shows fewer than one in four of the world’s largest companies are on track to meet basic climate change targets and Europe will miss its 2030 climate goal by 21 years[1], the London Declaration commits signatories to embed key climate considerations into every new standard that is created. It will also retrospectively add these requirements to all existing standards as they are revised, a change on an unparalleled scale.

Susan Taylor Martin, Chief Executive of BSI, said: “There are an increasing number of corporate commitments and government targets around reaching net zero, but a lack of direction as to how these targets can be met. Governments and industry need clear, practical guidance to achieve net zero. Standards are a trusted, global methodology and framework which can be used by both governments and industry to deliver real change. BSI was the originator of the London Declaration. We are very pleased that this will be taken forward by ISO, its members and other standards bodies so that we can work together with other countries to ensure that standards become an enabler for organizations of all sizes to accelerate our transition to a more sustainable world.”

Scott Steedman, Director-General Standards at BSI, said: “Consensus-based standards are in a unique position to enable positive climate action. The sheer scale that standards operate at and the vital role they play for government and industry alike means they can accelerate the achievement of the goals in the Paris Agreement, the UN SDGs and the UN Call for Action on Adaptation and Resilience. BSI is proud to lead the development of the London Declaration and is fully committed to seeing it implemented across the 40,000 standards in our national portfolio. The Declaration will help ensure that climate-friendly standards become the norm across all industries.”

ISO President Eddy Njoroge echoed the commitment: “The ISO community has spoken. Together, we have made a historic declaration that reaffirms our commitment to climate action. As I took up my role as President, I came with a view that ISO standards can be a catalyst for development. Two years on, it has now become my deep-seated conviction. Let’s create a climate future that we, and all our future generations, want, need and deserve.”

Opening ISO Week London, Minister for International Trade, Ranil Jayawardena said:

“Today, almost 24,000 international standards developed by the ISO underpin every major

supply chain, from the clothes we wear, to the food we eat. The use of standards –

especially truly international ones – makes it easier to produce, sell, and buy products and

services, enabling the global trade that is key to driving growth, creating jobs and securing

value for consumers. Britain looks to galvanise global action on climate change during her

presidency of COP26 in Glasgow this November and we welcome the ISO’s London

Declaration, which will support our collective aim.”

Nigel Topping, UN High Level Climate Action Champion, said: “The London Declaration is a critical international commitment that will enable businesses and organisations across the global economy to accelerate their climate action by using trusted standards aligned with robust net zero targets. We are looking forward to working more closely with ISO, BSI and other national standards bodies to facilitate wider and faster climate action in this race to a zero carbon world.”

Gonzalo Muñoz, UN High Level Climate Action Champion, said: “We celebrate ISO’s London Declaration commitment as an important milestone in shifting the landscape of international standards to help non-state actors race to halving global emissions by 2030. This leadership is so welcome, and we are excited to continue working with ISO and its national standards bodies in the run up to COP and far beyond.”

As well as promising that ISO will work with all members, stakeholders, and partners to actively consider climate science in the development of new and revised standards and publications, the London Declaration also stipulates that it will facilitate the involvement of civil society and those who are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change in the development of all international standards and publications.

The Declaration is being formally signed at the BSI hosted ISO Week London 2021, a meeting of all 163 national standards bodies. Afterwards, an Action Plan will be developed which will detail tangible initiatives and reporting mechanisms associated with the Declaration.

Standards have already begun to enable the transition to net zero. BSI recently developed the Energy Smart Appliances (ESAs) standards in response to the UK government’s transformational energy plans. Smart appliances can make electricity demand more responsive to the availability of renewable energy, helping to reach net zero more quickly by enabling consumers to be involved in managing demand in the electricity system. The standards provide essential guidance and good practice for the fast-moving industry to roll out ESAs safely and responsibly, whilst also helping protect consumers from data and privacy risks.

Additionally, BSI developed a standardization program for the UK-government backed Faraday Battery Challenge in order to help the rapidly evolving battery production, recycling, and research sectors to work together in a more environmentally friendly and safe way. Standards are supporting the growth of the battery industry both in the UK and now they are now poised to do the same for many more sectors.

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