How ISO standards help with sustainable development goals

How ISO standards help with Sustainable Development Goals

October 12th, 2022 By Amywright

In our modern world, do businesses have a moral obligation to take sustainability seriously? Can ISO standards help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, increase ROI, and facilitate business growth and success?

An independent study commissioned by SmartestEnergy shows that “4 out of 5 consumers describe themselves as likely to choose a brand with a positive approach to environmental sustainability”. The study also outlines a change in consumer behaviour towards favouring companies that take sustainability seriously. A recent report from Deloitte on Sustainability & Consumer Behaviour tells us that “consumers are more likely to avoid single-use plastic and to choose brands that have environmentally sustainable and more ethical practices and values.”

What are the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, “provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action for all developed and developing countries in a global partnership.”

The 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to transform our world are:

  1. No poverty
  2. Zero hunger
  3. Good health and well-being
  4. Quality education
  5. Gender equality
  6. Clean water and sanitation
  7. Affordable and clean energy
  8. Decent work and economic growth
  9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  10. Reduced inequality
  11. Sustainable cities and communities
  12. Responsible consumption and production
  13. Climate action
  14. Life below water
  15. Life on land
  16. Peace, justice and strong institutions
  17. Partnerships to achieve the goal

Why should I be concerned about SDGs as a business?

Inspiring and informed leaders in business genuinely understand the importance of sustainability. Environmental and ethical responsibilities are essential to our civilisation. Business leaders can lead the way by ensuring that their business models reflect worldwide sustainability goals and evolve according to their customers’ consumer behaviour. Don’t take our word for it; check the Deloitte 2022 CxO Sustainability Report, which tells us that of the 2,000-plus leaders who responded to this survey, “two-thirds said their organisations are using more sustainable materials and increasing the efficiency of energy use. More than half have adopted energy-efficient or climate-friendly machinery, technologies, and equipment.”

What ISO Standards Can Help with SDGs and will these help my business?

Have you ever imagined that as a business, you could not only be leading the way in making the world a better place but simultaneously can:

  • Improve the quality of your products and services
  • Significantly decrease energy costs
  • Reduce expensive waste management and fulfil environmental legal requirements
  • Ensure the health and safety of your employees
  • Drive the business forward with a robust business continuity plan

Below are a selection of ISO standards that IMSM consult to that will help drive your business and reach your Sustainable Development Goals.

1. ISO 14001 Environmental Management System:

Eight out of 17 UN SDGs directly align with the focus of ISO 14001. These are clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work, and economic growth,  industry, innovation, and infrastructure, responsible consumption and production,  climate action, life below water, and life on land.

Are you aware of your business’ impact on the environment? Do you value sustainability and strive to protect the planet? Perhaps you are looking to reduce expensive waste management costs or meet legal obligations.

An ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS) could bring financial benefits for your organisation and ecological and health-orientated advantages.

2. ISO 50001 Energy Management System:

Four out of 17 UN SDGs directly align with the focus of ISO 50001. These are affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production and, climate action.

Energy is a critical constituent in most organisations, and its usage can have significant cost implications. This standard helps you take a structured approach to measure and monitor how much energy you use.

Investing in an ISO 50001 Energy Management System is an investment in improving our planet. We encourage companies who choose to take this step to reduce waste, costs, and risks while supporting the environment in the process.

3. ISO 9001 Quality Management System:

Five out of 17 UN SDGs directly align with the focus of ISO 9001. These are no poverty, gender equality, industry, innovations and infrastructure, responsible consumption and production, and life below water.

Are you searching for ways to improve the quality of your service, create more efficient systems and workflows, or increase employee morale? Perhaps you require an internationally recognised standard to win a new tender or to match a competitor.

ISO 9001 Quality Management System is the ultimate global benchmark for quality management and a critical tool for boosting your company’s success, profitability, and market potential.

4. ISO 22301 Business Continuity:

Five out of 17 UN SDGs directly align with the focus of ISO 22301. These are affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, sustainable cities and communities, peace, justice, and strong institutions.

If you’re looking for a framework to help you create a continuity plan and minimise potential disruptions in the coming months and years, ISO 22301 may be a viable option.

An ISO 22301 Business Continuity Management System helps you to understand and minimise the risks of challenging and unexpected disruptions, actively promoting to all that you are prepared thus protecting your business, staff, reputation and future.

5. ISO 45001 Occupational Health & Safety:

Six of the 17 UN SDGs align with the focus of ISO 45001. These are gender equality, decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities, and communities, peace, justice, and strong institutions.

An ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management System is suitable for your organisation’s well-being. It provides a framework for managing health and safety responsibilities. ISO 45001 ensures your organisation has a management system to reduce health and safety risks within the workplace – protecting workers from potential harm and increasing profitability simultaneously.

Where can I find out more about Sustainable Development Goals?

Get yourself a mug of ethically sourced and packaged coffee and set aside an hour or so to read more about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We are now almost at the halfway point, and to make the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development a reality, organisations’ SDGs must translate into a strong commitment by all stakeholders to implement these global goals.

I’m interested! How do I get on board?

If you are interested in implementing any of our ISO standards, we can schedule a free consultation with one of our experts. At IMSM, we have a transparent fixed fee and flexible approach, and we keep the process simple while helping you earn certification.

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