Accredia / Standards and laws / Standards for the Sustainable Development Goals

Standards for the Sustainable Development Goals

20 December 2018

Adopted at the United Nations Summit in 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a broad and universal policy agenda, with 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 associated targets.

On 26 September 2018, Emanuele Riva (IAF Vice-Chair and Director of Accredia Certification and Inspection Department) and Chikako Makino (IAF liaison to ISO/TC 207, ISO/TC 301 and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) participated in ‘Standards for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’, an event held as a side session to the 41st International Organization for Standardization (ISO) General Assembly and jointly organised by ISO and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The event showcased how voluntary standards can aid in fulfilling the United Nations’ SDGs, focusing specifically on SDG6 (Clean water and sanitation), SDG 7 (Affordable and clean energy), SDG 11 (Sustainable cities and communities) and SDG 13 (Climate action).

Mr. Riva and Ms. Makino both made presentations under the category of SDG 13, profiling the role of standards in the category of climate action. Both presentations are available on the event website here.

Ms. Makino introduced ISO 14080:2018 Greenhouse gas management and related activities – Framework and principles for methodologies on climate actions as a tool to help meet long-term goals of the Paris Agreement, taking into account sustainable development elements, such as the UN SDGs. The potential application of block chain will support demand for renewable and low-carbon energy, quality of data infrastructure, simplify verification, and provide incentive for global climate action.

Mr. Riva provided a case study on Italian Legislative Decree 231/2001, which helps to protect companies from liability if the company has adopted voluntary standards. According to a research study carried out by the Symbola Foundation, environmental certification brings benefits in budgets, better relationships with providers, consumers, society and public administration. Analyzing a panel of certified companies compared to non-certified ones, in the period between 2009 and 2013, companies with environmental certification increased their revenues by 3.5% (around 1.5 percentage points more than non-certified ones). In addition, the number of employees in certified companies grew by 4%, compared to 0.2% in non-certified companies. Smaller companies gained the most advantages: small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with environmental certification recorded a spread compared to non-certified SMEs of +4 points in turnover and 1.2 points in number of employees.