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Stakeholder representation in international environmental standardisation - Joint Communiqué by ANEC, ECOS, and the Pacific Institute

Franz Fiala, Ralf Lottes, Jason Morrison and Nina Klemola

elni Review 2008, Issue 2,  pp. 93-96.

International standardisation in the field of the environment has long been considered an important tool in contributing to sustainable production and sustainable development policies at the global level. This has in particular been the aim of the ISO 14000 series of standards on environmental management, developed by ISO Technical Committee (hereinafter referred to as ‘TC’) 207 on Environmental Management. To help ensure that the International Standards developed by ISO enjoy a degree of credibility and legitimacy, the ISO Strategic Plan lists as one of its key objectives the need to ensure that interested and affected stakeholders are adequately involved in ISO’s work and processes. The importance of ensuring the participation of public interest groups is also echoed in the ISO Code of Ethics.
Despite the noble objectives of openness and transparency, consumer and environmental NGOs have long wrangled with the issue of business dominance and the marginalisation of public interests in standardisation. To help improve this imbalance in the particular case of ISO TC 207, a mixed group of NGO representatives and the TC leadership – the so-called NGO-CAG Task Force – was tasked in 2003 with developing a pair of operating procedures to improve the balance of stakeholder participation in the work of the TC. 
This paper reflects the long process of development of operational procedures for balanced stakeholder involvement in ISO TC 207 on Environmental Management, and highlights the need for a change in the way environmental standards, supporting broader public policies, are developed.

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  1. European Standardization Procedures: A Model for Reform by Martin Führ, elni review 2/1996, 22.
  2. ISO Strategic Plan 2005-2010 ‘Standards for a sustainable world’.
  3. ISO TMB WG SR ‘Operating procedure providing guidance on national input to the WG SR’.
  4. ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1 - Procedures for the technical work.
  5. ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2 - Rules for the structure and drafting of International Standards.
  6. NGO-CAG Task Force’s Guidance on Stakeholder Categories in ISO TC 207.