New ISO standard to combat land degradation

Our consumption of the earth’s natural reserves has doubled in the last 30 years and a third of the planet’s land is now severely degraded. There is an urgent need to find solutions for land management policy, planning and practices.

A new ISO standard will help land managers at global and national scales put in place best practices to combat land degradation. The recently published ISO 14055-1:2017,Environmental management – Guidelines for establishing good practices for combatting land degradation and desertification – Part 1: Good practices framework, provides guidelines for developing good practices to combat land degradation and desertification in arid and non-arid regions.

The standard refers to actions or interventions undertaken with the purpose of preventing or minimiz...

Revised IDMP standards to improve description of medicinal products worldwide

A series of standards called IDMP (Identification of Medicinal Products) is under revision and will bring a host of benefits to patients and the healthcare community. Implementing these standards should simplify the exchange of information between stakeholders and enhance the interoperability of systems in the medical field.

IDMP standards and technical specifications, comprising ISO 11616, ISO 11615, ISO/DIS 11238, ISO/TS 20451, ISO/TS 20443 and ISO/TS 19844, support the activities of medicines agencies worldwide. These cover a variety of regulatory activities related to the development, registration and life-cycle management of medicinal products, as well as pharmacovigilance and risk management.

Christian Hay, Senior Consultant Healthcare for GS1 Global Office and Convenor of ...

IEC, ISO and ITU receive Primetime Emmy Award for excellence in video engineering

The US Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has awarded an Emmy for outstanding achievement in engineering to the expert group responsible for “High Efficiency Video Coding”, the video compression standard that has emerged as the primary coding format for Ultra-High Definition (UHD) TV.

The Emmy honours the achievements of the ISO/IEC Moving Pictures Expert Group of ISO/IEC JTC1 subcommittee 29 and the Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding, a team of experts representing the ITU Video Coding Experts Group of ITU-T Study Group 16.

The award is the second Primetime Emmy to recognize the prestige of the video coding work driven in collaboration by IEC, ISO and ITU.

“ITU, ISO and IEC provide the technical foundations of the extraordinary innovation that we see in video,” said ITU...

New International Standard to reduce mining accidents

There’s no question that mining has been made safer over the years, but mines are still one of the most hazardous places to work. The causes can be numerous, from explosive dust and toxic gases to collapse of mine shafts, and the consequences severe, with thousands of fatalities each year.

When an incident does occur in a mine, it can be hard to understand precisely what’s happened. Because many factors are at play, a wide range of accidents can occur. A key step in preventing these accidents is to classify them by type and by cause, and that’s where ISO 19434 comes in.

Developed by the ISO technical committee on mining (ISO/TC 82), Seyed Reza Hosseini, Convenor of the working group on classification of mine accidents (WG 6), explains that the standard represents a new direction ...

How Microsoft is bursting the bribery bubble

A business tool designed to fight bribery is gaining traction. Published just last year, ISO 37001 is the first international anti-bribery management system standard designed to help organizations combat bribery risk in their own operations and throughout their global value chains. Its uptake is garnering followers from both governments and businesses. But is ISO 37001 working to improve anti-corruption practices? Microsoft seems to think so.

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced plans to adopt ISO 37001, the new international anti-­bribery standard, across its operations...

The new arsenal of risk management

A new version of ISO 31000 is due to be unveiled early next year. As the threat of risks grows for governments, organizations and the public alike, how can the new, streamlined standard help to make our future more secure?

Ten years ago, the boardrooms of banks and financial institutions around the world were rattled to hear the news of the collapse of prestigious and highly respected names, such as Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and Northern Rock. Alan Greenspan, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, described the shock waves that swept the world as a “credit tsunami”.

In family businesses, governments and industry, the aftermath of the global financial crisis is still being felt...

Keep calm – the first rule of business continuity

Some things are hard to predict. And others are unlikely. In business, as in life, both can happen at the same time, catching us off guard. The consequences can cause major disruption, which makes proper planning, through business continuity management, an essential tool for businesses that want to go the distance.

The Millennium brought two nice examples, both of the unpredictable and the improbable. For a start, it was a century leap year. This was entirely predictable (it occurs any time the year is cleanly divisible by 400). But it’s also very unlikely, from a probability perspective: in fact, it’s only happened once before (in 1600, less than 20 years after the Gregorian calendar was introduced).

A much less predictable event in 2000 happened in a second-hand bookstore in the f...

Buying for a better world

Picture a world where every product and appliance is environmentally friendly, where every supermarket item is fair trade, where corruption is an urban myth and poverty a long-distant memory. Hard to imagine? Technically, it is possible… if everyone adhered to sustainable procurement.

Every purchasing decision we make has an impact on the environment, economy and society, from the energy we use to power our computers to the conditions of the workers who made our clothes. What an organization purchases and who it purchases from can have far-reaching implications, not only on the supply chain and the end consumer, but on the wider community, affected by the different segments of that supply chain.

But what if we stopped to consider the effects of our purchasing decisions? If public- and...

Setting standards for good governance in the latest ISOfocus

Abuse of office for private gains. Trust undermined. Poor governance can have disastrous consequences. It can also threaten market integrity, distort competition and endanger economic development.

How can organizations improve good governance? In its November/December 2017 issue,ISOfocus gives an overview of the most interesting, important and complex changes needed to implement and sustain good governance. It looks at ways to improve business practices and policies and where ISO standards can contribute.

This edition offers coverage of key issues ranging from risk management and business continuity to sustainable procurement. It also provides a complete picture of ISO 37001 on anti-bribery management systems, particularly useful in today’s governance matters.

Updated throughout,...

Unearthing the potential of autonomous mining with ISO 17757

Every year, well over a million people are killed in road traffic accidents. In almost all cases, these deaths occur due to crashes where human error was a significant factor. And while technology has improved the safety of vehicles themselves, the sheer number of people on the roads today means that conventional approaches are being re-examined. How can autonomous vehicle technology help remove human mistakes from the equation?

The benefits of autonomous vehicle technology potentially reach far beyond public roads, to mine sites for example. These are places that few have ever seen, but all of us rely on. To find out more, I spoke to Dan Roley, the past Chair for the ISO technical committee on earth-moving machinery (ISO/TC 127)...

ISO 30500 to boost global health in places without sewers

In many places around the world, rural and urban populations have to use toilets that aren’t connected to mains sewers. In many cases, city planners are working hard to address this by investing in infrastructures. But for millions of people, non-sewered systems are the only option and with waterborne diseases posing major risks to human health, it’s important to get it right. That’s where an upcoming Draft International Standard comes in.

ISO 30500, Non-sewered sanitation systems – Prefabricated integrated treatment units – General safety and performance requirements for design and testing, seeks to provide general safety and performance requirements for the product design and performance testing of non-sewered sanitation systems for prefabricated integrated treatment units...

New draft of ISO 50001 energy management standard

Since 2011, organizations have been able to follow a systematic approach in achieving continual improvement of energy performance, including energy efficiency, energy use and consumption, thanks to ISO 50001.

Like all International Standards, ISO 50001 has come under periodic review to ensure that it continues to meet the rapidly changing needs of the energy sector. This work is being carried out by the ISO technical committee responsible for energy management and energy savings (ISO/TC 301), whose secretariat is held by ANSI, ISO’s member for the USA, in a twinning arrangement with the ISO member for China, SAC...

What role can International Standards play in the implementation of the Paris Agreement?

International Standards can be used as tools to help implement the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. This is the message of a side event organized by ISO and the IAF (International Accreditation Forum) as part of the 23rd Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP23) in Bonn, Germany.

COP23 has started with the aim of clarifying the enabling frameworks that will make the Paris Agreement fully operational and the support needed for all nations to achieve their climate change goals. For the many countries that have ratified the agreement, the time for implementation has begun.

“The devastating climatic events the world has recently had to face show us how urgent it is to act now and to take concrete measures to protect our ...

Mapping a new journey for poo on World Toilet Day

Time has come to rethink the toilet. For about 4.5 billion people around the world who do not have access to adequate sanitation, this is a matter of life and death. But even those of us lucky enough to have access to a flush toilet may benefit from the innovative work being done at ISO to reinvent sanitation systems.

Efficient sanitation for all is one of the targets of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By 2030, everyone’s poo should be effectively contained, transported, treated and disposed of in a safe and sustainable way.

This year’s World Toilet Day, organized on 19 November, focuses on wastewater and the importance of effluent treatment and reuse. Safely processed waste can be a valuable and sustainable source of nutrients, energy and water. The ISO ...

Keeping people at the centre of smart city initiatives

Developing smart city solutions that are citizen-centric and offer real value will be key to future success, according to experts at the World Smart City Forum held at Fira de Barcelona as part of the Smart City Expo World Congress.

Opening the Forum, Spain’s Secretary of State for the Information Society and Digital Agenda, José María Lassalle Ruiz, highlighted the importance of putting people’s needs at the centre of future urban development.

“Some believe that data and algorithms will soon be managing the contemporary world, but they must be used to combat inequality and poverty in our towns and cities. Today, our efforts must be focused on reconciling man and his environment,” he said...