Opinion

World Standards Day 2020

Today is World Standards Day.

Designed to pay tribute to the collaborative efforts of thousands of experts worldwide who develop the voluntary technical agreements that are published as International Standards, the theme this year caught our attention: ‘Protecting the planet with standards.’

Did you know that ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investing valued at more than $30 trillion dollars in 2018, is heading towards $50 trillion? Apart from simply being ethically the right thing to do, strategically, protecting the planet is profitable business.

The challenge is, that to most of us, standards are just not particularly interesting or exciting. Not on the surface at least. Let’s dig a little deeper.

We are in the midst of a pandemic, affecting everyone today. The world’s governments and brightest minds, rightly, are investing resources in controlling its spread and securing a vaccine. In a crisis less than a year old, the dreadful human and economic costs continue to rise in ever more dramatic reports.

Yet a crisis, the effects of which (please read this article from Harvard) dwarf anything offered by COVID-19, it’s been decades in the making, extensively broadcast and reported by the global scientific community, but continual procrastination and political failings has largely seen this topic brushed under the carpet.

Only now are we starting to understand the implications of this disregard, with many countries around the world stepping up to make climate emergency declarations, and setting priorities to mitigate climate change, of which many policies are likely to impact businesses and the way we work/do business.

Although the damage caused to our planet through activities of governments, industry and individuals is slowly being realised, what started as a movement of consciences is now gathering ever-increasing momentum as investors and consumers vote with their wallets. Our response, however, is currently too slow. The Paris Agreement set targets which include reducing greenhouse emissions by at least 40% by 2030 and limiting the rise of global temperatures to 1.5°C; as a global community, we are failing those targets.

We are however beginning to see more and more positive corporate actions.

Financial companies such as NatWest and Blackrock (the world’s largest asset manager) actively support companies with ESG strategies.

BP, one of the world’s leading oil companies has announced that it will be net zero by or before 2050.

BrewDog, a Scottish craft brewer, has announced that it has become the world’s first carbon negative beer business, removing twice as much carbon from the air than it emits.

Unglamorous as they may appear, only the application of global standards provides a basis upon which to measure and audit individual companies’ compliance; in this instance in sustainable environmental practices.

At Bray Leino Events we care passionately about sustainability and we hold ISO 14001:2019 and 20121:2012 accreditations. These accreditations support our commitment to sustainable audited processes ensuring that environmental practices are front and centre of everything we do, developing an impact beyond our immediate touch points.

Working from the established base of our ISO accreditations we appreciate we are still in transition, and there is so much more that we can do. We continue to develop and refine our processes, and as a team we remain passionate about learning and implementing innovative ways to support each other, our clients, partners, peers, and planet – developing today’s communities and tomorrow’s generations.

Right now in the UK there is great debate around what constitutes ‘viable’ job roles/industries; if we do not dramatically turn things around soon, we may be discussing ‘viable’ populations.

Whilst not the most glamorous of subjects, I’m sure we can agree that standards are a key step in bringing the world together. We support World Standards Day today, by celebrating what is being done and learning just how much more we can do.

Authors: Antonia Mitsis, Senior Event Manager at Bray Leino Events, and Jon Powell, Account Director at Bray Leino Events