ISO Issues New Guide for Product Standards Writers

The International Organization for Standardization has published an updated edition of its ISO Guide 64:2008, Guide for Addressing Environmental Issues in Product Standards, written for anyone involved in the drafting of product standards. The publication notes that every product has an impact on the environment during all stages of its life-cycle, from extraction of resources to end-of-life treatment, and the need to reduce the potential adverse impacts on the environment of a product is recognized around the world. The new guide is designed as a practical tool for addressing these issues, as well as a contribution to sustainable international trade.

ISO says standards writers are not expected to become environmental experts, but by using this guide, they are encouraged to:

  • Identify and understand basic environmental aspects and impacts related to the product under consideration, and
  • Determine when it is possible and when it is not possible to deal with an environmental issue through a product standard.

However, as the guide notes, the identification of these aspects and the prediction of their impacts is a complex process. When writing a product standard, it is important to ensure that an evaluation as to how products can affect the environment at different stages of their life-cycle is carried out as early as possible in the process of developing the standard. ISO Guide 64:2008 proposes a step-by-step approach, based on the principle of life-cycle analysis, in order to promote a reduction of potential adverse environmental impacts caused by products.

ISO says it intends the implementation of the new guide to help make standards writers aware of how it is possible to make an effective contribution to environmental improvement through a product standard, and how to reduce potential adverse environmental impacts of products. For more information or to purchase a copy, visit www.iso.org/iso/iso_catalogue/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=41352.

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