The end of the beginning – ISO 20400 is launched!


Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning” - Winston Churchill

OK, it’s not the Second World War but the past four years of developing a global standard for sustainable procurement has felt like a long hard slog. The good news is that ISO 20400, the first and only international standard for sustainable procurement practice is launched today 20th April 2017.

I led the UK delegation and was one of only nine people who attended every meeting in Paris, Foz do Iguacu (Brazil), Singapore, London, Sydney and Rio. It all sounds very glamorous but being stuck in a hotel room with 40+ people for a week, 10-12 hours per day debating endless details is not much fun. So I can feel a bit smug today and can enjoy a glass or two this evening to celebrate. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank my colleagues Cathy Berry from Action Sustainability and Colin McKerracher from BSI who supported me throughout.

Why the excitement?  

Firstly, the standard is incredibly well supported with 38 participating countries and 14 observing countries together representing 65% of the world’s population, 85% of the world’s GDP and 73% of the world’s carbon emissions. It also has the support of many international organisations such as UN, OECD, ITUC and many more. It is truly a standard for all nations and cultures and ideal for multinational businesses.

Secondly, the time is right. Despite some political developments around the world, societal expectations are rising; climate change threatens our long term existence as a human race, poor air quality threatens our health, the world is running out of resources, species are becoming extinct every day, there is an expectation that people in our supply chains are not held in slavery, are not corrupt or promoting conflict. The procurement profession needs to raise its game like never before and procurement professionals need help

Celebratory events will take place around the world. The UK will celebrate in London on 10th May 2017. Come and join us by registering here.

Shaun McCarthy OBE, Action Sustainability Director
Email: shaun@actionsustainability.com
Tel: 020 7697 1977


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