Sustainability standard in pipeline

You’ve had IS09000 and quality assurance, the ISO14000 series and environmental management. Now a consortium including the British Standards Institution and green lobby group Forum for the Future is working on the next stage – a standard on sustainability. It has funding from the Department of Trade and Industry, and is looking for around 20 […]

You’ve had IS09000 and quality assurance, the ISO14000 series and environmental management. Now a consortium including the British Standards Institution and green lobby group Forum for the Future is working on the next stage – a standard on sustainability.

It has funding from the Department of Trade and Industry, and is looking for around 20 businesses to take part in piloting the standard.

James Wilsdon, a senior researcher at the Forum for the Future, said the Sustainability: integrated guidelines for management (Sigma) project aims to add a social, ethical and economic dimension to ISO14001’s continuous improvement approach to environmental management.

Wilsdon said: `ISO 14001 will help you to do things right, but not how to do the right thing. It will help you to run a PVC factory at maximum efficiency but won’t suggest that making PVC might not be such a good idea.’

Sigma is going through a consultation exercise to define the scope of the standard. Starting in February, the consortium will develop and pilot the standard over the following two years.

Companies already signed up include the Eastern Group, Wessex Water and Northumbrian Water.

Wilsdon said: `We are targeting companies which already have some experience in these areas. It will be a two-way learning process.’