We live in a world governed by invisible yet fundamental standards that guide individuals, businesses and governments daily. Globally, there are several clearly defined sets of universally understood reference data that help determine what to expect, and ensure that things like processes, materials, and services are held to a specific level of consistency and dependability.
Put simply, standards are “an agreed-upon norm used by people, industry, and government that outlines the best way to complete a task – whether it’s about developing a product, providing a service, controlling a process, or interacting with the world”, according to the IEEE Standards Association.
Like all industries, manufacturing isn’t immune from the need for standards to ensure that goods are produced to the right quality, and that processes adhere to guidelines that maintain optimal efficiency and sustainability.
While the industry already relies on several standards like Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), and International Organization for Standardization (ISO), having one unified and well-understood standard for sustainability would be more beneficial for the industry as a whole for a more accurate assessment, without question.
But how important are these standards for reaching sustainability targets? And is a universal standard the answer for real sustainability progress? Here are three reasons why universal sustainability standards for manufacturing are necessary for true transformation.
1. Universal sustainability standards can be globally understood
In essence, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) states that standards “support all three dimensions of sustainability” – economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection.
Developing the right sustainability standards will allow manufacturers to easily understand their progress and the areas they need to improve to cover these dimensions. By having sustainability standards that are universal, the industry will be able to align their sustainability goals with a commonly agreed upon benchmark.
Using a universal standard also minimises the chance of manufacturers misrepresenting their sustainability and transformation progress. Without this standard, differences in data interpretation and progress reporting will leading to inaccuracies, affecting real transformation progress.
2. Universal sustainability standards ensure consistency
Sustainability standards can also ensure that information is transparent, objective, and consistent. By adhering to a set of standards, manufacturers will be able to build consumer trust and confidence. This is highly important in today’s global climate where customers are adding increasing pressure against organisations regarding their sustainability practices.
However, too many standards can create varying disparities or even confusion within the sector. This is where a universal standard like the Consumer Sustainability Industry Readiness Index (COSIRI) comes into play and acts as a guiding compass, so that manufacturers can align their sustainability goals and continue on the right path.
3. Universal sustainability standards enable direct and fair comparison
Using universal sustainability standards allows manufacturers to directly and fairly compare their progress and accomplishments across the industry, regardless of scale or geography, and ensure that they’re on the right track in their transformation.
Without a universal standard, organisations may have differing styles of assessing their processes and operations, making it difficult to give an accurate appraisal of their sustainability efforts.
Achieve true sustainable manufacturing transformation today
There are many different sustainability standards that exist today that allow manufacturers to track, assess, and compare their progress as they embark on a journey towards a more sustainable manufacturing future. However, if organisations are not aligned when it comes to what standard to use, is real progress truly attainable?
That’s why a universal standard like COSIRI – a sustainability maturity index that evaluates tangible dimensions of sustainability – is vital for ascertaining the industry’s growth and commitment towards a greener future.