Resource management standards help organizations manage industrial and natural resources and improve their environmental performance. The standards provide a toolkit of guidance, methodologies and management systems and cover a diverse range of topics, including water and air quality, energy generation, energy management, and water, soils and waste management
Resource management standards are voluntary and some offer certification options for organizations. Results achieved through the application of resource management standards can make an organization’s activities more resilient in meeting legal and customer requirements and industry pressures, such as resource scarcity.
Standards for resource management can be divided into the following categories: energy management, energy generation and distribution, water management, waste management, soil and land management and air quality management.
Trends and future work in Resource Management
Increased focus on energy management
The focus on energy management is increasing, including the EU Energy Efficiency Directive, published in 2012, mandating member countries to carry out a suite of energy efficiency measures. European and international standards in the pipeline include ISO 50004 on implementing energy management systems, ISO 50006 on Key Performance Indicators and benchmarking, ISO 50015 on measurement and verification, and the EN 16247 suite of standards on energy audits specifically for transport, buildings and processes.
Waste prevention and the shift to a circular economy
Linear 'Take, Make, Dispose' industrial processes and the lifestyles that feed on them deplete finite reserves to create products that end up in landfills or incinerators. The realization of this has triggered the redesign of products, components and systems to retain material within the economy over several cycles of use – 'closing the loop'. The related concept of ‘circular economy’ is grounded in the study of non-linear systems, and encompasses more than the production and consumption of goods and services, including a shift from fossil fuels to the use of renewable energy and the role of diversity as a characteristic of resilient and productive systems.
‘Closing the loop’ and the move to a ‘circular economy’ has been identified as a significant opportunity for UK business to contribute towards a resource efficient and low-carbon economy, to reduce their costs and supply risks, and to generate value. In such a context, HMG Review of Waste Policies recommends that government "work with standard setting organizations to encourage inclusion of more waste prevention requirements in ... product standards".
BSI has already developed a number of standards that support waste prevention and is exploring opportunities to scale-up this support and contribute further in the move to a 'circular economy'.
For more information see Waste Prevention and Circular Economy Project pages
CEN resource roadmap exercise
CEN are currently working on creating a resource efficiency roadmap. The aim of the exercise is to identify where current standards need to be updated or where new standards need to be created. The work will be completed in 2015.
Water quality – real-time monitoring
Risks to a water supply can come from many different areas, be they microbiological threats, chemical, biological or radiological. Anywhere there is water, real-time monitoring could be applied to the design and management of the water system, safeguarding it from exposure risks.
CEN are developing their environmental strategy for the future, discussing gaps in the standardization market that could be developed to support new and emerging environmental technologies, including instrumentation for real-time monitoring. The use of real-time monitoring represents a shift in focus away from using laboratories towards a more dynamic system of monitoring that could help save money, making organizations better able to respond to abnormal water quality episodes rapidly, thus helping to avoid pollution incidents.
Links to standards and other support materials related to Resource Management
These are listed within the sub-theme pages of resource management