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World Environment Day 2015 Encourages Governments, Communities to “Consume with Care”

ANSI Member-Developed Standards Support Sustainable Practices


The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) kicks off World Environment Day (WED) on June 5, reminding and encouraging governments and communities to improve consumption patterns to decrease the impact of environmental consumption, in honor of this year’s theme Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care.

The U.N. General Assembly established World Environment Day in 1972 as a platform to raise awareness about safeguarding the environment, and in the years following, “WED” has promoted themes which highlight a call-to-action measure intended to spread action to impact the planet in a positive way. The 2015 theme encourages global communities to “rethink their lifestyles” to decrease humanity’s impact on nature’s resources.

The population’s unsustainable consumption has massive environmental impact, with future forecasts that indicate even more substantial global effects. According to UNEP’s International Resource Panel (IRP), if unsustainable consumption patterns persist through 2050, “humanity could be devouring about 140 billion tonnes of minerals, ores, fossil fuels and biomass per year,” equivalent to three times its current consumption.

WED celebrations are being held in host country Italy this year at Expo Milano, which will feature more than 140 exhibiting countries from May 1 through October 31. The exhibition is expected to attract more than 20 million visitors.

The UNEP has designated the official hashtag #BillionDreams to represent this year’s campaign, and has debuted infographics for people to share ideas and inspirations for a better and more sustainable world. Actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio is also part of the effort, asking the global community to think about one thing they can do to fight over consumption and food waste and share their ideas on social media.

When it comes to preventing food waste, there are already a number of standards in use, both in the U.S. and worldwide. These standards, which have been developed by members and stakeholders of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), provide important assistance in reducing and effectively managing food-related waste.

For example, a standard developed by ASTM International, ANSI member and audited member, ASTM F1736-09, Standard Guide for Irradiation of Finfish and Aquatic Invertebrates Used as Food to Control Pathogens and Spoilage Microorganisms, provides procedures and operations for the safe irradiation of chilled or frozen fish and aquatic invertebrates, including bivalve shellfish and crustaceans, for the purposes of reducing spoilage and minimizing pathogens.

ASTM E2773-11, Standard Specification for Evaluation and Selection of Food and Beverage for Environmentally Sustainable Meetings, Events, Trade Shows, and Conferences, can help reduce food and beverage waste associated with business meetings, trade shows, and other events, and also addresses aspects of waste management, energy and water related practices, and associated training related to provision of food and beverage.

Packaging is also an integral part of global sustainability efforts. The International Standard for Organization’s (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 122, Packaging, Subcommittee (SC) 4, Packaging and environment, developed ISO 18606:2013, Packaging and the environment - Organic recycling, a standard that specifies requirements and procedures for the organic recycling of packaging material. ANSI member and accredited standards developer the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) serves as the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Administrator to both ISO TC 122 and SC 4.

For additional standards related to global sustainability, click here.

To get involved with World Environment Day, read more about the coverage and opportunities to help the reverse global consumption by clicking here.

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