How do ISO standards support the SDGs?

8 June, 2022

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposed by the United Nations (UN) focus on stressing the issue of the countries across the globe and are interconnected. The connection of the SDGs with ISO related terms to the business actions and decisions. ISOs are all about establishing international standards for business actions – making them an integral part not just of the corporations but also the society. 


What is the importance of the ISO? 


The ISO revolves around establishing a universal standard that circulates the economy, environment, and society. The SDGs have been planned in a way that targets to eradicate poverty, protect the planet and enforce peace and prosperity for everyone. The plan is laid down also to benefit the consumers and industrialists. Many areas of interest are covered, including life on land, water, and sanitation. 


The dangers of global warming are already on the rise and continue to disrupt life. It is there to question the decisions and economic growth disrupting the environment. However, here the focus is not just on identifying the damage to the environment but also on reversing the impact and implementing solutions that can create environmental balance. 


Here, ISO 14001 acts as a spotlight that highlights different areas of the businesses, based on the fact that small actionable changes can have the most significant impact on global warming, especially in policymaking. 


ISO 14001: 2015 – Environmental Management 



This standard helps businesses to focus on reducing the environmental impact of systems, actions, and related decisions. The guidance of ISO 14001 will help you achieve targets to reduce global warming. It is essential to minimize the negative impact of the business on the environment on land and sea by researching all the aspects of the company. 


Some of the areas covered by ISO 14001 standard that aligns with SDG include: 


  1. Reducing poverty 
  2. No hunger 
  3. Better health and well-being 
  4. Quality learning 
  5. Gender neutrality 
  6. Hygiene and sanitation
  7. Cleaner water for consumption 
  8. Economic growth and work 
  9. Innovation and smart infrastructure 
  10. Responsible for production, manufacturing, sourcing, and consumption 
  11. Climate-related decisions 
  12. Water and land ecosystem 


How do ISO standards contribute to achieving SDG?


Depending on the nature of the organisation, there are many standards in ISO that directly or indirectly contribute to the SDGs.


  1. ISO 14001: One of the most well-known ISO standards focuses on sustainability and environmental responsibility. 
  2. ISO 9001: This standard focuses on developing a quality management system (QMS) that ensures that the products and the services are in tune with the highest international standards. 
  3. ISO 27001: Since most businesses process personal information somehow, this standard lays a framework to protect the consumer’s sensitive data. 
  4. ISO 45001: This standard focuses on helping businesses create a better and healthy work environment for employees and other work-related areas. 


ISO 14001 Certification’s best practice 


There are many reasons why a strategic approach laid down by the ISO can help an organization improve its environmental performance.


  1. ISO 14001 helps the organisations demonstrate compliance and other regulatory requirements regarding the current and furniture functioning of the company. 
  2. There is also an improvement in the organization’s working and building relations with other stakeholders. 
  3. ISO 14001 also helps improve the company’s reputation by making the decisions more conscious and strategic. 
  4. It also encourages the other competitors and supply chain members to improve their environmental performance by integrating the standards in business systems.


Other relevant ISO standards:


ISO 50001:2018 – Energy Management System Standard 


The standard mainly focuses on establishing, implementing, and improving energy management systems (EnMS). The outcome obtained from the organization is to follow a systematic approach to achieving improvement in the use of energy performance of the company. ISO 50001:2018 standard addresses everything relating to energy use -like managing the impact, conserving the resources, improving the methods and technology relating to energy consumption, and developing a better energy management system.


  1. The standard helps the company improve its energy management, including improving efficiency and consumption. 
  2. Defining the energy policy proposed and the documentation process is essential. 
  3. Periodically, the methodology and the technique need to be reviewed that is implemented to achieve objectives and the targets.


In the United Kingdom, the SDGs are relevant and vital. There is a significant commercial possibility, albeit many businesses have yet to begin.


ISO 14001 is an organized strategy for managing environmental issues, expenses, and regulatory requirements. The SDGs are a good match for this. To begin, determine your goals. Review and update your EMS: Consider the scope, context, risks and possibilities, stakeholders, lifespan, and communication.


Ambition is admirable, but excellence is the opponent of accomplishment – start small. After all, ISO 14001 calls for continuous progress.


I believe that taking a straightforward approach and employing a formalized system like 14001 will increase your chances of successfully implementing the SDGs and realizing commercial advantages.

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