Project to Provide Public Access to Draft ISO Standards

Project to Provide Public Access to Draft ISO Standards

Published: February 2005

Authors: Jason Morrison

Pages: N/A


CONTACT: Jason Morrison – jmorrison (at) or 510-251-1600
February 8, 2005

Project to Provide Public Access to Draft ISO Standards
Landmark Agreement Improves Public Oversight of Draft Standards

(Oakland, Calif.) 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:

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