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Management Standards and Their Role in Carbon Reduction

22 September 2021
You only have to watch the news or read a newspaper today to be constantly reminded that we are in a period of significant change in our climate.

Whilst the cause of this may be open to some interpretation, findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its latest report (August 2021) concludes that:

  • It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred.

  • Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe.

  • Continued global warming is projected to further intensify the global water cycle, including its variability, global monsoon precipitation and the severity of wet and dry events.

Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution

In its response to the current climate emergency, the UK Government back in November 2020 produced a Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution that would build back better, support green jobs and accelerate the UK’s path to net zero.

The statement covers a lot of ground, building on previous announcements on increased ambition for offshore wind deployment, to the accelerated timeline for the ban of new petrol and diesel cars sales from 2040 to 2030.

The plan sets out 10 points but in order to be able to effectively achieve the aims of the plan there needs to be better connection between the differing elements of the plan and allow the UK to take advantage of synergies where they exist. This will allow the UK to reap the economic and environmental benefits of looking at its energy system as a whole and the value of collaboration across sectors and stakeholders.

The key to achieving this and ensuring that the outcomes are greater than the sum of the individual parts is to work at using a systems-based methodology that, using a value chain approach will draw out the links and interdependencies between the players in the different strands.

In doing this the UK will reap the economic, social and above all environmental benefits of looking at its energy system as a whole and realise the value of collaboration across sectors and different stakeholders.

The last few years have seen an increase in management standards that have been published with the aim of facilitating continual improvement in the areas they cover. The all build on the original management standard ISO 9001 designed to be a powerful business improvement tool. Over time however, more specific standards began to emerge including ISO 14001 (environment), ISO 45001 (health and safety) and ISO 50001 (energy).

The most recent versions of all these, and other standards now include a much greater emphasis on improvements in value chain relationships. For example - ISO 14001 states that an organisation should “give consideration to the environmental performance and practices of suppliers”. Not only that, the standards also now require the examination, including determination of risks and opportunities, of relationships with other interested parties.

The Government are already leading the way in using elements of management standards to drive forward positive changes in business behaviour. As an example - UK Government Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 06/21 sets out how suppliers’ Carbon Reduction Plans and commitment to Net Zero will be taken into account in the procurement of in-scope central Government contracts.

Carbon Reduction Plans (CRPs) are to be completed on behalf of the bidding supplier and must meet the reporting requirements set out in this guidance, and include the supplier’s current carbon footprint and its commitment to reducing emissions to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050.

The use of such tools is entirely consistent with a management system approach and draws on elements from a number of management standards. PAS 2060 - the internationally recognised specification for carbon neutrality, has a formal requirement for the setting and achievement of Carbon Reduction plans and when tied in together with ISO 50001:2018 results in a co-ordinated drive to cut carbon through energy reduction and the use of renewable technology.

Many organisations make bold claims and overstate their eco-credentials, so it’s important to be able to prove any statements made. We have seen the recent launch of the Government’s Green Claims Code, developed in response to a CMA co-ordinated global review of businesses which has found that 40% of green claims made online could be misleading consumers.

As a UKAS accredited certification body, we are ideally placed to walk alongside you on the journey to a low carbon future through the use management systems and Standards that will ensure credibility and legitimacy to your business; from ISO 14001, through to PAS 2060 and ISO 50001.

Get in touch today to understand more about our sustainability solutions.