Standards are the way the world can halt and reverse nature loss, said leading biodiversity and standardization experts at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) side event, held in Montreal, Canada, on 14 December 2022.
Organized by ISO, the side event created synergies around what is needed to strengthen humanity’s roadmap towards a more nature-positive future, including ways standards can address the key drivers of nature loss. The session is part of ISO’s two-week participation at COP15 where standards are highlighted as solutions for the recovery of natural ecosystems.
The UN Convention on Biodiversity (COP15) continues this week in Montreal, Canada, where world leaders will be agreeing on a new ten-year Global Biodiversity Framework. It comes only a few weeks after COP27 which made international headlines for climate action.
It is time to take urgent measures to combat biodiversity loss and its devastating impacts with the use of standards. According to Committee Manager of ISO’s biodiversity committee (ISO/TC 331) Caroline Lhuillery: “We must develop rigorous and recognizable International Standards as signs and symbols of quality and trust. Now, while the standards are being developed, is the best time for experts and stakeholders from around the world to get involved and influence our common future.”
The current development of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework gives a great example of the importance of standards for biodiversity conservation and environmental sustainability, explains Laure Denos, Science Policy Expert, IUCN. “The Framework will need consistency and comparability across countries for reporting, between sectors for mainstreaming, and over time for monitoring. Standards are essential to supporting all three.”
Biodiversity is a fundamental component of long-term business survival. At the same time, business and industry can have major negative impacts on biodiversity resources. Yet, while the private sector is part of the problem, it is also part of the solution.
As with climate change, the resources and influence of the private sector offer important opportunities for innovative and effective contributions to conservation. “Companies need to include International Standards for biodiversity in their strategies now,” says Dr David Álvarez García, CEO and founder, ECOACSA, who believes the private sector can contribute its experience and expertise to International Standards for a better world.
To ensure a standard is broadly applied by companies worldwide, its development must take on board private-sector considerations. For Emilio Tejedor, Head of Environment and Quality, Iberdrola, companies benefit as contributors to the development of International Standards. “Once those standards are created, they also benefit us as users of those standards while contributing to global solutions and targets. I’d like to see that happen for biodiversity because we will all gain from that,” he said.
Yet while a biodiversity standard should appeal to the business world, it must also, most centrally, embrace local communities. The importance of their role in meeting biodiversity conservation targets cannot be underestimated. Take, for instance, India’s gold industry.
The importance of standards in assessing the purity of gold is well ingrained in Indian culture and ethos, explains Dr Vinod Mathur, Convenor of the ISO/TC 331 working group on restoration, conservation and protection. “The development of standards for local biodiversity action, and for enhancing a massive global impact must be built upon the same concept.” Only then, he said, can biodiversity action truly have meaningful and lasting impact.
Speakers at the official ISO side event called for more urgent action to revive damaged ecosystems. More than ever, the time is ripe for global collaboration to accelerate the conservation of our Earth and make it a planet that we can continue to live on for years to come. Standards will be the foundation on which concerted actions for biodiversity can be embedded into our strategies, decision making and initiatives moving forward.
Those interested in contributing to ISO/TC 331 should contact their
national ISO member.
- Caroline Lhuillery, Committee Manager, ISO/TC 331, Biodiversity
- Laure Denos, Science Policy Expert, IUCN
- Dr Vinod Mathur, Convenor of the ISO/TC 331 working group on restoration, conservation and protection
- Dr David Álvarez García, CEO and founder, ECOACSA
- Emilio Tejedor, Head of Environment and Quality, Iberdrola