With the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) fast approaching, the International Standards Organization (ISO) and its members are getting ready to showcase how international standards can help transform climate commitments into action.
COP27 to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is being held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, on 6-18 November 2022. Regarded as one of the largest gatherings on climate change, a year of unprecedented weather shocks has amplified the urgency of climate and how important it is to build on the outcomes of COP26 to show how ambitious pledges have led to tangible actions.
Though some governments have used the climate urgency to step up the pace of decarbonization and energy efficiency efforts, there is still a long way to go to meet the targets of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13 (Climate Action). COP27 will be a decisive moment to foster collaboration, with its strapline “Together for Implementation”. According to its organizers, this next action-oriented phase needs to happen “on time and at scale”, and be “specific, measurable, and impactful”.
The ways in which this change will happen were explored at the recent ISO Annual Meeting held in September, where members discussed how standards can significantly shape the future of the climate. Attendees committed to scale up action and engage with governments, regulators and other major players in the climate space to promote standards as steps towards measurable progress. And, rightly so. ISO’s portfolio of standards offers solutions from mitigation to adaptation, to finance and more.
Climate change is an uphill battle requiring decisive action to reduce and stabilize the levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and achieve the world’s net-zero targets by 2030. But what does “net zero” actually mean? According to ISO, it depends on who you ask. There’s a large and rapidly growing landscape of actors in the “net-zero” space and clarity is urgently needed. ISO’s Net Zero Guidelines will be a giant step toward harmonizing the maze of voluntary efforts, potentially linking them more closely to hard rules.
Greater consistency and clarity surrounding net zero will ultimately increase the impact of any global efforts. Reiterating the pressing need to reinforce climate commitments and objectives, ISO President Ulrika Francke said: “Net zero became a phrase and we have to put substance into that.”
ISO’s development of guidelines that clarify the concept of net zero will further enhance the unprecedented momentum for taking climate action. Essentially, this will lay the foundation for accountability mechanisms and consistent reporting. The Net Zero Guidelines will be important because a growing number of countries, regions, cities and states – along with hundreds of companies – have pledged to go net zero.
A Game-Changing Moment
ISO will be a key player at COP27, participating in key discussions and sharing insights to continue to offer its cutting-edge portfolio of climate-aligned standards. It describes the launch of its much-anticipated Net Zero Guidelines on 11 November – the designated COP27 “decarbonization” day – as a game-changer for the world community.
Because ISO standards are used in so many industries, international policies and national regulations, the Net Zero Guidelines open a major new front in the push to translate climate science into binding outcomes. To drive that vision, ISO will have a dedicated space to meet with delegates within the Blue and Green Zone pavilions to showcase how its Net Zero Guidelines, together with other International Standards, support and contribute to accelerating climate action.
The COP27 theme of “Together for Implementation” also applies to standards, as governments often import the substance of such rules into new regulations and rulings. Evidently, ISO standards are global solutions to enable countries worldwide to scale up efforts and deliver an immediate response to the climate emergency. As the start of COP27 gets closer, ISO states that we must all work together to keep the pressure on governments to make the most of standards if we are to significantly shape the future. A future where we can all thrive in a healthy, resilient, zero-carbon world and work towards a healthier planet.