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What is sustainability?
Sustainability Standards

Sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In addition to natural resources, we also need social and economic resources. Sustainability is not just environmentalism. Embedded in most definitions of sustainability we also find concerns for social equity and economic development.

Sustainability in business is not reducible to environmentalism. Harvard Business School lists two categories of sustainable business practices: the effect a business has on the environment, and the effect a business has on society, with the goal of sustainable practice being to have a positive impact on at least one of those areas.

To achieve and maintain sustainability for continued success, an organization should relentlessly follow certain management disciplines.

Other Certificates
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Sustainability Standards and Certification

Sustainability standards and certifications are voluntary guidelines used by producers, manufacturers, traders, retailers, and service providers to demonstrate their commitment to good environmental, social, ethical, and food safety practices.

Two types of ISO Standards are helpful for successful implementation of Sustainability practices: Certifiable standards and Guidance standards.

A. ISO Certifiable Standards:

Certain certifiable ISO standards have benefited the corrugated converting industry, such as:

  • ISO 9001: 2008 Quality Management System (QMS) – focuses on Disciplined Problem Solving, Continual Improvement and Enhancing Customer Satisfaction; allows top management to drive improvement through synchronizing quality management system results with business performance results

  • ISO 14001: 2004 Environmental Management System (EMS) – focuses on Pollution Prevention, Conservation of Energy and Natural Resources; promotes Continual Improvement and Environmental Sustainability

  • OHSAS 18001: 2007 Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) – focuses on Occupational Health & Safety risk assessments related to hazards with participation and consultation to drive Continual Improvement

 B. ISO Guidance Standards:

ISO has developed several guidance standards, some of which have been in cooperation with its partner, IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission). The following guidance standards have been useful in successful implementation of Sustainability:

  • ISO 9004:2009 – Managing for the sustained success of an organization: A quality management approach

    • Provides guidance to organizations for achievement of sustained success through a quality management approach. This standard can be used by any organization, regardless of size, type and activity.

  • ISO 31000:2009 – Risk management: Principles and guidelines

    • Identifies opportunities and minimizes threats related to environmental, financial and safety risks.  Risk is all about uncertainty and the effect of uncertainty in achieving set objectives related to safety and environment.

  • ISO/IEC 31010:2009 – Risk management: Risk assessment techniques

    • Provides organizations with guidance on: risks related to societal, environmental, technological, safety and security outcomes; commercial, financial and economic disciplines; and social, cultural and political reputation impacts. This standard can be used to treat particular risks and to select between options.

  • ISO 26000:2010 – Guidance on Social Responsibility

    • Emphasizes a transparent ethical behavior in all decisions related to society and the environment. This standard promotes sustainable development on health and safety and international norms of behavior, and it provides guidance to organizations of all sizes with regards to concepts, principles and practices related to social responsibility.

Here are several other notable professional certifications: 

Certified Sustainable
Fair Trade
Energy Star
Laos Organic
Canada Organic
Carbon Trust
Australian Organic
Green Seal
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