LIVE: ISO at COP27
Breaking news from ISO’s attendance at the climate conference.
Driving climate action through cross-sector collaboration
Standards are the way the world can move from commitment to action for measurable impact, said leading climate and standardization experts at an official COP27 side event, held in Sharm El-Sheikh today.
Organized by ISO, the side event created synergies around what is needed to strengthen our commitments into action, including how to improve cross-sector collaboration and accelerate our transition to a low-carbon economy. The session closes off ISO’s two-week participation at COP27 where the landmark Net Zero Guidelines were launched.
Taking urgent action to combat climate change and its devastating impacts is an imperative of ISO and its members. There is already an abundance of standards and policies that can help. What’s lacking is the analysis and coordination of these, the identification of those that are working particularly well and where duplication lies.
Christoph Winterhalter, ISO Vice-President (policy), the session moderator, explained: “We have the foundation, resources and the industry experts to take global action,” he said. “There are already numerous policy tools and standards available that help address climate change mitigation, ensuring greater consistency and providing international benchmarks to increase the impact of any global effort. It is increasingly clear that we don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just realign it.”
Supporting global trade with standards
Trade plays an important role in climate change adaptation and mitigation. Conducted through global value chains that link producers in developing countries to consumers around the globe, trade is largely regulated through voluntary standards. Speaking at the ISO pavilion at COP27, Joe Wozniak, who manages the Trade for Sustainable Development Programme (T4SD) at the International Trade Centre (ITC), says voluntary standards, such as those produced by ISO, present a fabulous opportunity for companies to embed social and environmental sustainability into their processes.
In the context of climate change, however, the trend towards more robust legislation in the sphere of business and commerce is accelerating – with a push for mandatory regulations as soon as 2024. This comes at a time when many companies, particularly SMEs, are under a lot of economic pressures due to rising energy prices and inflation. And while most companies understand the need to go green, they often lack the technical know-how and financing to do so.
“The regulatory environment is changing,” says Wozniak, but having ISO standards that are aligned with the regulations being developed could help smooth that transition. When these legislations come into being, we need to provide solutions that will help suppliers to meet the standards, and do so in a way that reduces their costs. ISO and ITC can do a lot together to aid in this process. “At ITC, we stand ready to work with ISO in that area,” he concludes.
Enabling transformative innovation through standards
Innovation in the field of climate action is crucial when it comes to building much-needed climate and sustainability solutions. This was the key theme of today’s Global Innovation Hub, attended by ISO Deputy Secretary-General Silvio Dulinsky. Organized by the UNFCCC, the session discussed the importance of transformative solutions for climate action and how to boost the scale and effectiveness of innovation through standards.
A “moonshot mindset” is needed for transformative solutions to emerge, said Massamba Thioye, Project Executive at the UNFCCC Global Innovation Hub. Referring to ISO’s Net Zero Guidelines, launched at COP27 last week, he emphasized the importance of “setting bold goals to go beyond what already exists” and highlighted the crucial role of standardization in this process. “When developing standards, the starting point is the purpose,” he said, stating the importance of learning from experience.
Reaffirming ISO’s commitment to climate action, Silvio Dulinsky assured participants of the organization’s enduring efforts to place climate action at the heart of standards. ISO, he said, is also in the process of mapping its portfolio of standards to ensure it continues to have a “strong and positive impact” on climate. “Our short-term ambition is to bring concrete solutions to businesses and regulators around the world, prioritizing real human needs in different sectors such as mobility, health and more,” he said.
Collaborating on climate data
As floods and droughts become more severe through climate change impacts, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and partners aim to provide globally consistent weather information services to catalyse multilateral cooperation for climate action. This is why partnership with ISO is key, says Roberta Boscolo, Lead of Climate and Energy at the WMO.
Defining best practice for climate observations is critically important, she explains. Effective standards rely on science-based evidence while the meteorological community uses standards for quality control of its products and protocols. Equally, she believes “climate data will be useful for evaluating if these standards are actually working to close the gap”. These need to be well designed, easy to implement and instrumental in helping to achieve our climate targets.
“ISO can help us for our products, processes and protocols […], so that they can be globally recognized as high quality,” concludes Ms Boscolo. Science-based standards are fundamental to advise planners and policy makers. They are critical for making effective decisions and investments in all sectors.
WMO’s Roberta Boscolo will be speaking tomorrow at ISO’s official COP27 side event (16:45-18:15 UTC+2).
Partnerships to promote green transition
As COP27 heads into its second week, collaboration continues to top the agenda of the global climate conference. Organized by African energy leader Qalaa Holdings, partnerships was the key theme in a recently concluded session that brought together high-level representatives from the United Nations and the International Organisation of Employers, both organizations in liaisons with ISO.
Reiterating a pressing need for the green transition, the session’s moderator, Ghada Hammouda, Group Chief Sustainability & Marketing Officer, explained that partnerships are key. Furthermore, the presence of VIPs, most notably Her Excellency Rania A. Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation of Egypt, showcased the need for government backing of different projects and partnerships supporting the energy transition.
The session took place in the Green Zone, a platform where business community, youth, civil society and academia from all over the world can express themselves and make their voices heard. ISO has a pavilion in the Green Zone to foster meaningful collaborations with partners worldwide.
Making good on promises
As the clock ticks towards 2030, the world’s biggest companies are often accused of exaggerating their climate actions. This was the theme under discussion at the Marrakech Partnership Accountability and Implementation Dialogue organized by the UNFCCC at COP27 today. The multistakeholder dialogue explored various climate action initiatives to better understand their progress thus far and where gaps still remain.
Speaking at the event, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion Nigel Topping noted that although good practices of voluntary disclosure are widely implemented, the discretion in adopting them makes allocating accountability difficult. Hence the importance of moving towards tighter regulation. Citing ISO’s newly published Net Zero Guidelines as an example, he commented: “ISO is one step away from regulation, as regulators like to point to robust International Standards that are being built using robust consultation methods.”
To ensure full corporate accountability, the UN Climate Champion underscored the importance of multilateral collaboration across national governments, businesses, investors, cities and regions to drive increasing ambition and action. “We’re in a really great place to move them forward fast, to up the bar on accountability,” concluded Nigel Topping.
Under the leadership of the High-Level Champions, the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action supports implementation of the Paris Agreement by enabling collaboration between governments and the cities, regions, businesses and investors that must act on climate change.
ISO Net Zero Guidelines launched at COP27
ISO has launched the first globally agreed Net Zero Guidelines.
This landmark publication provides much-needed guidance and clarifies key concepts and terminology around net zero.
In little over a year, 1 200 organizations and experts from more than 100 countries have produced a document that provides clear, harmonized definitions and guidance, agreed through a collaborative and consensus-based process.
The new ISO Net Zero Guidelines, developed through ISO’s International Workshop Agreement process, define key concepts and lay the foundation for accountability and reporting.
Standards support Egypt’s “vision 2030”
The role of standards in facing the negative impacts of climate change and achieving sustainability was the theme of the COP27 side event hosted by the Egyptian Organization for Standardization and Quality (EOS), ISO member for Egypt.
The session highlighted Egypt’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and using standards to help “green” important government projects. Standards are providing the country with a stable framework for understanding and addressing the complexities necessary to achieving “Egypt Vision 2030”.
Speaking at the event, ISO Secretary-General Sergio Mujica commented: “ISO standards give grounds for a shared understanding and effective joined-up action. ISO standards underpin and catalyse green and sustainable finance by providing structure, transparency and credibility for investments in environmental projects and programmes.”
All speakers agreed that the ISO process is all about cooperation, respect, exchange and synergy. Its standards are globally developed and consensus-driven, providing a template to policymakers to create sound legislation in a time- and cost-efficient way.
Tracking progress of carbon credits
Carbon credits have grown in popularity as a tangible way for companies and governments to incentivize reducing carbon output. Achieving net-zero goals and ambitious decarbonization targets will require a conversion of words, intentions and commitments into much-needed carbon action.
This session featured diverse voices debating whether carbon credits and offsets are necessary to achieve net-zero emissions. ISO Secretary-General Sergio Mujica joined a panel of leading experts to share views and insights on this fundamental carbon trading market.
Standards can be a powerful policy instrument to drive the world’s decarbonization efforts. ISO standards are globally developed and consensus-driven, providing a template to policymakers to create sound legislation in a time- and cost-efficient way. The event follows on the heels of new initiatives announced at COP27 aimed at boosting private investment in clean energy projects in developing countries.
How business reaps the benefits of net zero
All countries and businesses can seize the opportunity to halve emissions by 2030. The We Mean Business Coalition organized today a session at COP27 on how businesses can accelerate net zero.
Speaking at the session, ISO Secretary-General Sergio Mujica highlighted ISO’s tried-and-tested collaborative process. “We brought together stakeholders from civil society, industry and the private sector through ISO’s transparent, inclusive and consensus-based process to create the Net Zero Guidelines in a record time of three months.” These will provide, he said, clarity on the terminology and definition around the concept of net zero, as well as recommendations for organizations to deliver on their climate commitments.
The Guidelines were developed by stakeholders from civil society, industry and the private sector following a call for clear and harmonized tools for accelerating net zero. A total of 1 200 organizations and experts from more than a hundred countries participated in a series of 12 workshops representing many hours of work to produce this reference text. This ground-breaking document provides a stepping stone for further standardization activities to accelerate global climate action.
Climate conversations: What’s in store for the green economy?
Finance Day at COP27 has become even more important as the conversation evolves from mitigation – reducing total greenhouse gas emissions – to adaptation and resilience. Speaking to us at the ISO pavilion in the Green Zone, Martin Baxter, Executive Director, Director of Policy & External Affairs, at IEMA, shared with us some thoughts on the green economy.
The green economy cannot happen without green talent, he explains. This means people will need everything from engineering skills to complex problem-solving capabilities. “Green jobs are those people who are working in core parts of the economy with a particular focus on environment, climate and sustainability.”
As the world becomes greener, millions of new jobs will be created as countries and companies pledge to become carbon-neutral. “And, therefore, we need to skill everybody up with an element of green they can weave into their day-to-day work. So whether they’re working in design, procurement or logistics, everybody needs to play their role; and they need to be armed with green skills.” Managing the transition to a low-carbon economy can only be realized by greening all aspects, from investment to people.
UN report highlights ISO’s key role
ISO’s position as an important non-state actor developing climate standards is recognized in the report Integrity Matters: Net Zero Commitments by Businesses, Financial Institutions, Cities and Regions, launched at COP27 on 8 November 2022. It is the result of consultations made over seven months by the UN’s High-Level Expert Group on the Net Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities.
The report makes reference to best-practice standards and norms, such as those developed by ISO. It states: “International Standards must continue to draw on these norms to lay out broadly agreed ground rules for mass adoption, particularly across borders (e.g. International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), ISO).”
Answering the call to climate action
The UN’s annual climate meeting attracts organizations that are active across every part of the climate space. For ISO, that makes the event much more than just an opportunity to tell the world about standards. It’s also a chance to connect, exchange and learn. So, when the ICC – the International Chamber of Commerce – invited ISO to talk about the ways in which we’re enabling climate action and empowering others, we jumped at the chance.
ISO’s Head of Sustainability, Noelia Garcia Nebra, joined the ICC’s “Make Climate Action Everyone’s Business Forum” where she talked to journalist Shiulie Ghosh about sustainability, the challenges for developing countries, and ISO’s brand-new Net Zero Guidelines.
Addressing the session’s central theme on transformation of [climate] commitments by standards, Noelia said that “International Standards lay a solid foundation for climate action. By setting common definitions, we bring coherence and transparency.”
Join us at COP27
Reporting to you live from Egypt. Read our exciting coverage of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) taking place in Sharm El-Sheikh on 6-18 November 2022. Our team on the ground will be mobilizing the world to combat climate change through standards, deliver on ambitious targets and adopt responsible practices for a transition to net zero.
ISO will be hosting multiple side events and thematic sessions in addition to being present at many other events and gatherings. Join us in person or virtually as we drive corporate action on climate change. Don’t miss our programme!
Be sure to drop by the ISO pavilion in the Green Zone at COP27. Led by ISO and its members, the space will accommodate a variety of sessions hosted by our representatives from across the globe.
Together, we’re making climate action possible.
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