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U.S. Government Standards Chief Praises ISO's Sustainability Standards

New York, Sep 20, 2012

By Roger Frost, originally published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

In his opening address to the 35th General Assembly of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) on September 19, Dr. Patrick Gallagher, U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce and director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) praised ISO for its work to encourage sustainability worldwide through the use of voluntary consensus standards. “I applaud and celebrate ISO for taking the lead in sustainability standardization. In particular, ISO 14001 [Environmental management] and ISO 50001 [Energy management] are models for how to approach sustainability in practice and in management,” Dr. Gallagher said. "Sustainability is the right priority. Wisely managing a world of finite resources is one of the key societal challenges we face. As all of you know, standards play an essential role in how we assess the challenge.”

The ISO General Assembly is being held from September 17-21 in San Diego and includes more than 600 delegates and accompanying persons from ISO’s more than 160 member countries. The event is being hosted by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the coordinator of the U.S. voluntary standardization system and a founding member of ISO.

Jim Pauley, the chair of ANSI’s board of directors, told delegates at the General Assembly that “effective utilization of standards and conformance promotes technological interoperability and the global competitiveness of all businesses. And greater cooperation and information-sharing will improve cost savings and increase efficiencies – clearly a top priority in today’s economic landscape. When individual businesses do well, there is a corresponding improvement in our national economies.” He noted that the U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC) had found that standardization impacts more than 80% of global commodity trade, an amount totaling more than $13 trillion in 2011.

ISO president Dr. Boris Aleshin told delegates that ISO had a major opportunity in the coming years to achieve greater strategic recognition of the value of standardization to business, government, and consumers. However, he warned, “We at ISO need to ensure that customers know about ISO, that we are not just talking … amongst ourselves.” Dr. Aleshin stressed the importance of showing clearly how standards benefit individuals and groups who are not currently involved in or knowledgeable about international standardization.

ANSI Focus on Services Standards