31.08.2020 // New standards and products

New ISO standardization committee for biodiversity

Become active in the standards committee «Environment and Sustainability» now

Biodiversity is essential to human life. Much like the mechanisms inside a clock, the entire system cannot work properly even without the seemingly tiniest, least significant little gear. The role biodiversity plays in sustaining the ecosystem is essential for humans’ economic activity and welfare – and nature places it at our disposal free of charge. Paying heed to this fact, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) founded a new technical standardization committee to address matters relating to standardization in the area of biodiversity.

Commentary on biodiversity by René Wasmer
«Biodiversity is undoubtedly one of the most pressing sustainability issues facing society today. Biodiversity affects Switzerland and every country on the planet, because it involves the resources that are essential to life and several other things, including how everyone – including the economy – handles it. The issue is still – and perhaps unjustly – often overshadowed by the climate change debate and the economy’s other environmental priorities, because it requires a greater level of commitment.

Industrialization, economic growth, population growth, consumer habits and factors impacting the environment are in many places leading to ever-dwindling terrestrial and marine habitats. However, healthy biodiversity requires ensuring there are adequately protected habitats.

More and more, we are confronted with the shocking dangers of irreversible declines in biodiversity and increased risks to ecosystems. We see this in scientific studies, expert publications and greater media coverage, as well as the attention being paid to it by established international conventions, policy goals and programmes for protecting biodiversity.
Sustainable action requires foresight or, in other words, tackling relevant problems promptly and before their damaging effects have a major impact on society and before they can no longer be controlled or incur untold costs.

Although a lot has been done in the areas of policy and economy in Switzerland and elsewhere in recent decades, it is still imperative that society become much more sustainable. In addition to biodiversity, there are other interrelated areas that support this goal, such as resource efficiency, resource conservation, consumer habits, the need to improve circular economic models in businesses, and fighting climate change and its effects. It will, in fact, take a lot of hard work with unfailing intensity. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals summarize the requirements in the form of 17 key goals.»

René Wasmer, chairman of the national standards committee INB/NK 174 «Environment & Sustainability»

ISO standards committee programme of work
As a first step, a definition and terminology standard is planned. This terminology standard will help to establish a common understanding of concepts.
A framework standard will define methods for screening biodiversity-related issues and be used to propose methods for the impact analysis as well as to help define and monitor strategic measures and plans of action. The monitoring instruments may include new as well as existing instruments, such as indicators, inventory procedures, standards for bio-monitoring the environment or reporting on biodiversity. The standard is intended for organizations of all kinds and spheres of activity and is designed to help deal with the issue of biodiversity along the entire value chain.

Commentary on the standardization and programme of work for the proposed biodiversity committee by René Wasmer
«International standardization makes it possible for organizations and stakeholders to establish official resources that allow goals to be achieved more efficiently while improving the fulfilment of biodiversity standards. In the scope of biodiversity, this can include areas such as:

  • relevant principles underpinning the management of biodiversity goals;
  • recommendations and requirements for business organizations to manage risks and opportunities;
  • eco-engineering – to protect and develop natural habitats;
  • case studies on best practices;
  • biodiversity data and success metrics.


International ISO standards

  • support the systematic and coordinated implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals;
  • promote proactive, responsible action on the part of stakeholders and a voluntary commitment to do more;
  • ensure global recognition of documented achievements;
  • promote collaboration between stakeholders through the implementation of well-proven practices and methods.»

Commentary on the founding of a biodiversity committee by René Wasmer
«Establishing a technical committee will allow the interested stakeholders to monitor and actively participate in the developments and to help achieve goals. For companies and organizations, standards are a useful tool to help meet requirements, implement innovative technologies and increase the level of success. Your interest and cooperation with the Swiss Association for Standardization (SNV) are important, valuable and appreciated.»

Your contact person for further information:
Lea Leibundgut, , Tel: +41 52 224 54 21

How can Swiss stakeholders get involved?
Would you like to participate in the international development of standards? By participating in the national standardization committee INB/NK 174 “Environment and sustainability”, you will always be up to date. As a committee member you will meet other national industry experts and can discuss new draft standards with them. You also have the opportunity to make international contacts.

Further benefits of an SNV membership: Find out more!

Your contact person for a SNV-Membership:
Birgit Kupferschmid, , Tel: +41 52 224 54 18

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