ACCREDITATION: SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND ENVIRONMENT
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have provided clear objectives for the globe to focus on now and in the future. Two of the core elements of the SDGs are simultaneous economic growth and environmental performance, linked by a common desire for sustainable delivery of both objectives.
The collaboration of IAF and ILAC illustrates that seemingly differing focuses can be brought together to achieve positive action.
From some of the earliest testing laboratory accreditation activities supporting environmental regulations, to the more recent accreditation of certification bodies for ISO 14001, a sector specific standard focused on environmental performance, and the introduction of standards for validation and verification, IAF and ILAC are seeking to help organisations measure, manage and/or report sustainable economic growth and environmental performance.
As Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria has become an increasingly popular method for measuring organisational impact and basing sound investment decisions the accreditation community will continue to engage with a range of organisations, with different needs and priorities, to deliver the relevant accreditation and conformity assessment solutions. The phrase, ‘There is no Planet B’ highlights the ever more pressing need for simultaneous sustainability in economic growth and the environment.
World Accreditation Day 2022 enables the International Accreditation Forum (www.iaf.nu), the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (www.ilac.org) and their members to highlight how accreditation is delivering sustainability in economic development and the environment. IAF and ILAC provide a range of information to explain accreditation’s role in sustainability, economic growth and environment.
ACCREDITATION: Sustainability in Economic Growth and the Environment
The world economy relies heavily on natural resources provided by healthy ecosystems, and yet we continue to put these ecosystems through enormous stress and to consume resources at an alarming rate. The United Nations (UN) Environment’s Global Resources Outlook 2019 found that resource extraction and processing was the cause of 90% of biodiversity loss and water stress and contributed to approximately 50% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A considerable shift to more sustainable forms of production that are less resource-intensive and more focused on climate mitigation and carbon removal alongside biodiversity protection policies are essential for long-term economic growth. “Economic growth which comes at the expense of our planet is simply not sustainable. Our challenge is to meet the needs of all people within the means of our planet. Realizing this ambitious but critical vision calls on governments, business, civil society and people to reshape what we understand by progress and innovate to change people’s choices, lifestyles and behaviours.” — Joyce Msuya, Acting Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme.
ACCREDITATION: A ROUTE TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT BY ENSURING COMPLIANCE WITH STANDARDS
One of the major threats facing the planet today is loss of biodiversity, with most scientists agreeing that species are disappearing many times faster than the natural rate of extinction. The United Nations Environment Programme lists four main causes for biodiversity loss: pollution, habitat loss, climate change and overexploitation of resources.
ACCREDITATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
A variety of standards and schemes can help guide businesses, industry and regulators in implementing ecofriendly policies. Accredited conformity assessment to these standards provides assurance that they’re being competently and consistently applied.
ACCREDITATION CONTRIBUTING TO THE FIGHT AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate change poses a threat both to the environment and the world economy. Warmer temperatures, sea level rise and extreme weather events can damage infrastructure, impact human health, and negatively affect the agriculture and fishing industries. Long-term economic prosperity requires climate change mitigation and adaptation, which depend on the transformation of economic activities to become “climate friendly”, or “carbon neutral”. Using accredited tests, measurements and verification and validation services strengthens the global response to the threat of climate change by playing a central role in energy efficiency programmes, energy generation from renewable sources and public policies such as carbon pricing, financing for low carbon development projects, and by incentivizing the promotion of low-carbon solutions and carbon emission reduction schemes like ICAO CORSIA.
ACCREDITATION SUPPORTING THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY
To reduce the impact of economic activities on the environment and support long-term economic growth, countries worldwide are shifting from a linear to a circular economy. The circular economy is an economic model where production and consumption do not compromise the environment, as it focuses on repair, reuse, remanufacturing and recycling, thus reducing the production of waste and the use of resources.