Public Can Now Access Draft ISO Standards

Public Can Now Access Draft ISO Standards
Landmark Agreement Improves Public Oversight of Draft Standards

February 1, 2005, Oakland, CA:  International standards used to be for photo film, and nuts and bolts. But now, organizations like the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) are creating new environmental and corporate social responsibility standards that directly affect the public. In an effort to improve access to such standards, the Pacific Institute has reached a formal agreement with ISO to make draft ISO standards publicly available on the Institute-hosted International NGO Network on ISO (INNI) website.

“This agreement is a landmark victory for public interest organizations and the general public,” said Jason Morrison, Director of the Pacific Institute’s Economic Globalization and the Environment Program and Secretary for the INNI. “It represents ISO’s first official recognition that as it moves into these new areas of social and environmental standards, it faces a higher bar in terms of transparency and public accountability.”

The broad goal of the one-year pilot project is to increase awareness of, and participation in, ISO’s development of environmental management standards. The pilot will conclude with a Pacific Institute report to ISO that tabulates downloads, evaluates lessons learned during the project, and provides recommendations for future action.

“This project is noteworthy from our perspective because it begins the conceptual separation of standards that directly impact the public from the technical standards ISO has historically developed,” noted Morrison. “It also lays the groundwork for a discussion about how to fundamentally change the way in which ISO’s social and environmental standards are developed and handled in the future.”

The pilot project comes on the heels of extensive discussions between the Pacific Institute and ISO on the issue of public access to draft ISO standards. Since late 2003, the Pacific Institute had been posting a number of sustainable development-related draft ISO standards on its INNI website. It was doing so to improve public understanding of how businesses use these standards to manage their environmental affairs, and in turn, how such standards can have a bearing on pollution levels, environmental reporting, and human health. The Pacific Institute is gratified that it was able to work with ISO, and its United States representative – the American National Standards Institute – to develop and implement the pilot project supporting the posting of these draft ISO standards.

Currently available on the INNI website are Draft International Standards relating to environmental management systems, environmental communications, and greenhouse gas quantification, reporting, and verification. In order to access the standards, users must register. The draft standards can be found online at: http://pacinst.org/inni/dis/

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The Pacific Institute is dedicated to protecting our natural world, encouraging sustainable development, and improving global security. Founded in 1987 and based in Oakland, California, we provide independent research and policy analysis on issues at the intersection of development, environment, and security.

For more information, contact Jason Morrison at: http://pacinst.org/contact