Is bad about compliance with environmental standards

Climate change and ISO environmental standards

Climate change and environmental problems in general cannot be solved through government action alone. Non-governmental organizations also make significant contributions to maintaining the quality of our living space.

With the climate demonstrations in summer 2019 and the results of the 2019 federal elections, it became clear that the population is increasingly concerned about the state of the earth's ecosystem. It is obvious that when it comes to climate change, it's not just CO2 plays a role, but that many other factors have an influence on the climate and its changes. Holistic ways of thinking that focus on solutions for the ecosystem are therefore required.

At the moment there is a demand that the state through new legislation (with do's and don'ts) the CO2- Enforces requirements of Paris. It should be noted that the individual states can only enact laws for their territory. However, depending on the level of environmental awareness in the individual countries, very different concepts and measures result. The environmental problems cannot be solved by state action alone. In addition to the states, non-governmental organizations make important contributions to maintaining the quality of our living space.

"Environmental management"

One organization that knows how to develop internationally harmonized concepts and derive measures capable of receiving a majority is the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) with currently 164 countries as members and headquarters in Geneva. In 1993, for example, the ISO committee 207 "Environmental Management" was founded in Toronto with the task of developing relevant international standards for environmental management. The Swiss Association for Standardization (SNV) was one of the founding members. The environmental standards developed by practice for practice are applicable to all organizations, regardless of their size, type and field of activity.

Today there is a wide range of published ISO standards for environmental management available. They can be divided into three groups. Group 1: a standard for the management of organizations with the aim of continuously improving the environmental performance of the organization; Group 2: Standards for environmental labeling (labels) and environmental declaration of products; Group 3: Instructions (guidelines) on environmental management. These are methodical instructions for quantifying environmental performance and dealing with qualitative aspects.

Key standards

In order to enjoy a high level of public credibility, periodic controls of compliance with the requirements of key standards must be carried out by independent external bodies (certification and inspection bodies). To ensure that these also meet the requirements placed on them, national accreditation bodies - in Switzerland this is the SAS (Swiss accreditation body affiliated to Seco) - periodically review the work of these institutions. The central ISO certificates are widespread in Switzerland and at international level.

These statements show that the voluntary application of ISO standards in the environmental sector makes significant contributions to improving the quality of our environment (e.g. also with regard to reducing CO2Emissions) and state interventions are only justified where supplementary and generally binding measures have to be enforced.

Peter Gresch is the Swiss delegate in ISO-TC-207 environmental management.