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On Earth Day 2020, ANSI Celebrates Standards that Support a Cleaner, More Sustainable World


On April 22, 2020, millions of people across the globe will forgo public gatherings and turn to digital devices at home to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day during the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of social distancing, Earth Day tributes this year will include virtual global conversations, calls to action, performances, video teach-ins, and more.

New Resources Show the State of the Environment on Earth Day

While this Earth Day reflects a challenging time, it also sheds light on how alternative, innovative measures to daily life can lead to greener and safer outcomes for the planet. With an estimated 3 billion people worldwide under coronavirus lockdowns and as social distancing safety measures continue, less gridlock on the roads and occupational closings equate to less pollution. In fact, NASA satellite data show a 30 percent drop in air pollution over the northeast U.S. region alone, when compared to the March mean of 2015-2019. The World Economic Forum offers a broader, global synopsis on how lockdowns have improved air quality around the world.

Another new report released this month by USAFacts, titled State of the Earth, provides the public with an overview of the current state of the environment and answers numerous questions related to energy, emissions, climate, air, water, and land. The report was sourced from data from the Environmental Protection Agency, FEMA, the U.S. National Park Service, USDA Forest Service Forest/Wildlife, the Energy Information Administration, and other government entities.

ANSI Supports Sustainability during Earth Day

To help achieve a more eco-friendly environment all year round, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the standardization community support broad sustainability efforts. These initiatives have a positive effect on businesses, consumers, and the general public, and span to various regions of the world.

Standards for Sustainable Business Practice

A recent standard by ANSI member and accredited standards developer NSF International guides sustainability for professional services providers, an industry characterized as those with high knowledge intensity, low capital intensity, and a professionalized workforce. The standard NSF 391.1-2019, General Sustainability Assessment Criteria for Professional Services, provides a holistic view of a professional services company's business practices, offering criteria for evaluating the impacts of these providers. Organizations can use the standard to improve the environmental, social, economic, and supply chain performance of their businesses in measured and documented ways. This could prove to be beneficial to business when research supports that poor sustainability performance, as measured in environmental and social impact, can slow a company's growth.

Furthermore, as seen prior to the pandemic, as consumers increasingly rely on e-commerce, there has been a movement toward sustainability in warehouses. This movement is supported by several standards from ANSI member ASTM International which also has published a standard terminology for sustainable manufacturing in addition to IEC, and several others. See ANSI's related article, and find other standards that support sustainability.

Standards Support Enhanced Sanitation

In a recent effort to educate the public about standards' impact on sanitation, ANSI recently released a new two-minute video to explain how two international standards can help improve global sanitation. These are ISO 30500, Non-sewered sanitation systems Prefabricated integrated treatment units General safety and performance requirements for design and testing, and ISO 24521, Activities relating to drinking water and wastewater services - Guidelines for the management of basic on-site domestic wastewater. The standards play an essential role in improving health for the world's population, as reports indicate a correlation between poor sanitation to transmission of potentially fatal diseases.

As the U.S. member body to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), ANSI celebrates these standards that support both societies across the globe that lack access to adequate sanitation, and societies that are implementing sustainable alternatives to every-day products.

View the videos, available in English, French and Mandarin, and find out more about How ISO 30500, IS0 24521 Support Safer, and Cleaner Sanitation.

How do Standards Support Sustainability?

Join the sustainability conversation by entering the ANSI 2020 Student Paper Competition, focused on the 2020 theme, Standards Supporting UN Sustainable Development Goals. The competition is part of a long-term effort to spread awareness among postsecondary students of the strategic significance of standards and conformance.

Visit to learn more about Earth Day.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


[email protected]