Top 5 ISO Standards for eco-conscious travellers

More than 1.4 billion tourists went somewhere last year, and that number is due to grow by 3-4 % by the end of 20191), making tourism one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world.

That’s great for the tourism industry, but it also puts pressure on our planet’s resources. Well managed tourism, however, can help preserve the natural and cultural highlights of any destination, and make a positive impact on the community. Below are just a few of the many ISO standards that can help.

Read entire post Top 5 Standards for eco-conscious travellers | Clare Naden | ISO.org
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The impact of banning single-use plastics on the Canadian fast food industry

Once in a while, however, this change comes from government legislation, and usually ends up creating significant evolution in the foodservice landscape. Some readers may remember the upheaval of the front of house model when smoking bans began nearly two decades ago, redesigning dining rooms and removing smoking and non-smoking sections of the restaurant.

Industry analysts are watching as a newly announced potential single-use plastics ban in Canada may create similar changes, especially in the fast food segment. In early June, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the government will ban single-use plastics as early as 2021 and introduce standards and targets for manufacturers of plastic products or those companies that sell items with plastic packaging.

Some chains, like Tim Horton’s and A&W, have started making changes to their supply chains in preparation

For the fast food industry, plastic has traditionally played a large role in the take out order, from plastic bags to straws, cutlery, plates, and stir sticks. In recent years, in recognition of mounting consumer pressure and the ongoing shift away from plastic, some chains have started making changes to their supply chains in preparation.

Read entire post The impact of banning single-use plastics on the Canadian fast food industry | Lesli Wue | Forbes

How Washington DC boosts resilience through data

When Harrison Newton was running the branch of the Washington, D.C., Department of Energy and Environment that deals with indoor environmental health, he would sometimes get frustrated. His team would often become aware of problems like children becoming sick with asthma due to where they were living. But the power to do something about those problems frequently resided elsewhere within the city’s bureaucracy.

How Washington DC boosts resilience through data 1
The federal city was selected in 2016 by the Rockefeller Foundation to become part of its global network of 100 resilient cities around the world. Through its 100 Resilient Cities program, the foundation provides technical and financial support to the cities to develop and implement resilience strategies.

“The more connectivity between different parts of the city government there is around policy goals, the better the outcome for residents.”

“We, within the Department of Energy and Environment, were not the agency with the authorities to repair those conditions,” says Newton, D.C.’s deputy chief resiliency officer. “That could potentially rely on grants or programs from the Department of Housing and Community Development. It relied potentially on enforcement action by regulatory agencies.”

That need for cross-departmental action and coordination taught him a powerful lesson, Newton says: “The more connectivity between different parts of the city government there is around policy goals, the better the outcome for residents.”

Read entire post How Washington, D.C., Boosts Resilience Through Data | Shaun Waterman | StateTech

Connecting the dots in a circular economy: a new ISO technical committee just formed

The solution is a circular economy, where nothing is wasted, rather it gets reused or transformed. While standards and initiatives abound for components of this, such as recycling, there is no current agreed global vision on how an organization can complete the circle. A new ISO technical committee for the circular economy has just been formed to do just that.

G7 Plastics Charter Canada 20180611
See also: Canada to ban single-use plastics as early as 2021

It’s a well-known fact that the rise in consumerism and disposable products is choking our planet and exhausting it at the same time. Before we reach the day where there is more plastic in the sea than fish, something has to be done to ebb the flow. According to the World Economic Forum, moving towards a circular economy is the key, and a ‘trillion-dollar opportunity, with huge potential for innovation, job creation and economic growth’.

A circular economy is one where it is restorative or regenerative. Instead of buy, use, throw, the idea is that nothing, or little is ‘thrown’, rather it reused, or regenerated, thus reducing waste as well as the use of our resources.

Read entire post Connecting the dots in a circular economy: a new ISO technical committee just formed | Clare Naden | ISO.org

Canada to ban single-use plastics as early as 2021

The Trudeau government will ban single-use plastics as early as 2021, CBC News has learned from a government source.

Plastic straws, cotton swabs, drink stirrers, plates, cutlery and balloon sticks are just some of the single-use plastics that will be banned in Canada, according to the source.

A full list of banned items isn’t yet set in stone, but a government source told CBC News that list could also include items like cotton swabs, drink stirrers, plates and balloon sticks. Fast-food containers and cups made of expanded polystyrene, which is similar to white Styrofoam, will also be banned, said the source.

Read entire post Government to ban single-use plastics as early as 2021: Source | Hannah Thibedeau | CBC

How sustainable plantations help save Uganda’s decimated forests

One of the most densely populated countries in Africa, Uganda has seen its population double in 12 years. With 95% of the population dependent on toxic charcoal and wood fuel for cooking, the natural forests have shrunk to only 10% of their original cover. Sustainable plantation forestry might offer a solution. The plantation trees are cut down to be used as utility poles, which provide homes with electricity and limits the need for wood fuel. Income generated from the process is making it possible for families to give their children an education.

Filmmakers James Thomson and Thomas Hogben profile Ugandans who are forging a new path with this innovative approach.

New International Standard for measuring the performance of cities going “smart”

How can cities adapt and prepare to ensure they provide adequate resources and a sustainable future? They can’t improve what they can’t measure. The latest in the ISO series of standards for smart cities aims to help.

How ISO 37122, Sustainable cities and communities – Indicators for smart cities, gives cities a set of indicators for measuring their performance across a number of areas

The ISO 37100 range of International Standards helps communities adopt strategies to become more sustainable and resilient. The newest in the series and just published, ISO 37122, Sustainable cities and communities – Indicators for smart cities, gives cities a set of indicators for measuring their performance across a number of areas, allowing them to draw comparative lessons from other cities around the world and find innovative solutions to the challenges they face.

The standard will complement ISO 37120, Sustainable cities and communities – Indicators for city services and quality of life, which outlines key measurements for evaluating a city’s service delivery and quality of life. Together, they form a set of standardized indicators that provide a uniform approach to what is measured, and how that measurement is to be undertaken, that can be compared across city and country.

Read entire post New International Standard for measuring the performance of cities going “smart” | Clare naden | ISO.org

First International Standards for sustainable and traceable cocoa just published

What’s more, it is mostly grown on smallholder farms in regions of the world that lack adequate infrastructure and offer poor living conditions.

The sustainability of cocoa production, therefore, is a concern. The publication of the ISO 34101 series of standards on sustainable and traceable cocoa provides a valuable tool to support farmers in their journey towards prosperity and sustainability.

ISO 34101-1, Sustainable and traceable cocoa – Part 1: Requirements for cocoa sustainability management systems, aims to help users implement effective practices to allow them to continually improve their business.

Developed by stakeholders from all sectors of the cocoa industry, including representatives from both countries where the cocoa is grown and markets where it is consumed, the ISO 34101 series aims to encourage the professionalization of cocoa farming, thus contributing to farmer livelihoods and better working conditions. It covers the organizational, economic, social and environmental aspects of cocoa farming as well as featuring strict requirements for traceability, offering greater clarity about the sustainability of the cocoa that is used.

Read entire post First International Standards for sustainable and traceable cocoa just published | Clare Naden | ISO.org

Driving into a cleaner future

Perhaps an answer has come in the advent of “clean cars”. These can be defined as vehicles that are electrically propelled using either batteries or fuel cells that run on on-board hydrogen, and often a hybrid of the two. The idea of electrical cars has been mooted for years, but it is only now, with the proven effects of climate change, that enough is being done to make them a viable commercial prospect.

While only around 500 electric cars were registered per month during the first half of 2014, this has now risen to 5 000 per month during 2018)

Indeed, change is already upon us. Monthly figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders suggest that electric car sales in the United Kingdom have risen significantly over the past few years. While only around 500 electric cars were registered per month during the first half of 2014, this has now risen to an average of 5 000 per month during 2018).

Yet their production is not straightforward and many challenges face both producers and consumers before they can be considered mainstream. The first target, as Mr Yasuji Shibata, Toyota Motor Corporation’s General Manager of the Evaluation Department for Electrically Propelled Vehicles, makes clear, “is to develop the electrically propelled vehicle to the same level of performance and reliability as conventional vehicles within a reasonable budget”.

Read entire post Driving into a cleaner future | Robert Bartram | ISO.org

‘You did not act in time’: Greta Thunberg’s full speech to MPs

Greta Thunberg took her climate message to the Houses of Parliament in Westminster on Tuesday. The 16-year-old Swedish climate change activist told a packed room that her future and the futures of her fellow children had been ‘sold’.

My name is Greta Thunberg. I am 16 years old. I come from Sweden. And I speak on behalf of future generations.

I know many of you don’t want to listen to us – you say we are just children. But we’re only repeating the message of the united climate science.

Many of you appear concerned that we are wasting valuable lesson time, but I assure you we will go back to school the moment you start listening to science and give us a future. Is that really too much to ask?

In the year 2030 I will be 26 years old. My little sister Beata will be 23. Just like many of your own children or grandchildren. That is a great age, we have been told. When you have all of your life ahead of you. But I am not so sure it will be that great for us.

Read entire post ‘You did not act in time’: Greta Thunberg’s full speech to MPs | Greta Thunberg | The Guardian

We can talk about terrorists without glorifying them or their acts

We want to know more, not less, and we want to know it NOW. We want as many details as possible so we can develop an understanding of the event and figure out what is important and what is not.

When the event in question is an act of terrorism, as we saw last week in Christchurch, New Zealand, we want to know even more. We live in a post 9/11 world where we have been inundated with terrorist act after terrorist act after terrorist act: we could almost call the current period the ‘Age of Terrorism’ based on the frequency of such incidents and the media coverage they receive.

When the event in question is an act of terrorism, as we saw last week in Christchurch, New Zealand, we want to know even more.

News articles, op-eds, books, specialised journals, blogs and podcasts (including my own blogs and podcasts – An Intelligent Look at Terrorism) have sprung up to dissect this phenomenon, all with the purpose at getting a better handle on it (and perhaps helping to decide what to do about it).

In this search for more details about the who, where, what, why, how and when, however, there has been some push back of late. Some have called for a suppression of information on terrorist attacks. This way of thinking states that naming terrorists or showing footage of their attacks (the New Zealand livestreamed his massacre) only serves to glorify them and promotes their acts for others to follow. There is ample evidence that likeminded individuals cite previous attackers as part of a justification for their own actions (the New Zealand terrorist cited both Anders Breivik, the 2011 Norwegian shooter, as well as Canada’s Alexandre Bissonnette, the shooter of the Quebec City mosque in 2017). There are also some who say publishing the names of the perpetrators compounds the grief of the families of the dead.

In light of this what should we do?

No one wants to give fodder to future terrorists and no one wants to prolong the agony of the loved ones of the victims. But is the reporting of a name doing this? I cannot speak for the feelings of those who lost family members or friends to terrorists but it strikes me that there is a tension between reporting facts and being sensitive. Where is the line between the public’s right to know and the bereaved’s right to not suffer?

The question of whether to show the video is a different matter however

Besides I think it is not a good idea to equate reporting with glorification or giving undue attention to a terrorist seeking either. Facts are facts and should be objective and not emotion-laden. In addition, in a world of instant news and multiple platforms we cannot suppress information anyway: that horse has left the barn. The New Zealand shooter’s video and manifesto were already being praised by those who shared his warped views seconds after they appeared online. Whether or not the Ottawa Citizen, the Globe and Mail or The Hill Times opts to not publish the terrorist’s name makes no difference in the reach of his message.

The question of whether to show the video is a different matter however. That piece of information is nothing more than violence porn. We should not share that any more than we should share footage of snuff videos or violent rapes. There is simply some material that should not be posted out of a sense of basic human decency.

We can learn about terrorism and its motivations by sharing more information, not less. We can be both true to our need to acquire details and our need to be sensitive to others. It is something that has to be done carefully, but it can be done.

A standard for water reuse brings hope for water scarcity

By 2030, water scarcity will have displaced between 24 and 700 million people, according to UN Water, the United Nations coordinating body on water issues. World Water Day is focusing on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, which means ensuring access to water and sanitation for all by 2030. What is keeping us from getting there and how can ISO standards make a difference?

The current situation also means that 4.5 billion people still lack safely managed sanitation services, particularly in rural areas

Although water covers 70 % of the earth’s surface, only a fraction of it is freshwater. The available drinking water is unevenly distributed across the globe, polluted or disputed, which means billions of people don’t have access to clean water each day. The current situation also means that 4.5 billion people still lack safely managed sanitation services, particularly in rural areas.

Celebrated each year on 22 March, World Water Day puts the spotlight on the importance of freshwater. This year’s edition, “Leaving no one behind”, adapts the central promise of Agenda 2030 that progress achieved through sustainable development should be available to all.

Read entire post A standard for water reuse brings hope for water scarcity | Catherine Infante | ISO.org