Sustainable Development

Sustainable development standards help organizations improve their processes for more environmentally and socially responsible outcomes, whilst improving economic performance. The suite of sustainable development standards help inform a balanced, strategic approach to organizational management whatever the size or purpose of the organization.



Implementing sustainable development standards helps organizations identify relevant legislation, increase business efficiencies and reap the rewards of the associated cost savings. By adopting these standards organizations can also demonstrate their commitment to sustainable development, attract and retain customers and enter new markets.

Effective integration of sustainable development into an organization’s business model demands a tailored approach. The latest standards provide a flexible and strategic framework approach based on sustainable development principles. These standards are designed to support a sustainable development culture and encourage innovation. 

Standards for sustainable development have been developed in: sustainable events, responsible sourcing, sustainable procurement, sustainable communities, sustainable materials and sustainable film.


Trends and future work in Sustainable Development

Responsible sourcing

Consumers are increasingly concerned about how products are sourced, how they were made, what they are made of and the effect their production has on people and places. Standards and well-managed certification schemes can provide a meaningful methodology or benchmark for the sustainability of goods or services.

There are many ways in which standards can support organizations and help demonstrate that they have produced their goods and services responsibly, from setting criteria for acceptable processes in growing, mining or processing, to providing the framework for a responsible sourcing certification scheme, e.g. standards are currently being developed to support the responsible sourcing of cocoa and timber products.

Smart and sustainable communities

There is a considerable conceptual overlap between 'smart cities' and 'sustainable communities' (also referred to as Future cities, Intelligent cities, and Eco-cities). Most cities and other authorities are growing in population, with increasingly limited resources and a greater awareness of their impact on the environment. A strategic approach to these problems that considers the needs of citizens and other stakeholders, balancing social, environmental and economic issues, should create a 'sustainable community'. Use of integrated, intelligent infrastructure to deal with many issues should create a 'smart city'. Many cities and communities could therefore be described as both.

In order to assess the development of communities, indicators or metrics of service provision, quality of life, sustainability, resilience, infrastructure capacity and efficiency, and the operational state of infrastructure and services are needed. These form strategic Key Performance Indicators and operational data for the community.


Links to standards related to Sustainable Development framework

BS 8900-1

Managing sustainable development of organizations. Guide.

BS 8900-2

Managing sustainable development of organizations. Framework for assessment against BS 8900-1. Specification.

BS ISO 26000

Guidance on social responsibility

BS ISO 31000

Risk management. Principles and guidelines.

BS EN ISO 22301

Societal security. Business continuity management systems. Requirements. 

BS 76000

Human resource. Valuing people. Management system. Requirements and guidance.


Links to other related support materials

BIP 2135:2007

Smart community infrastructures – General principles and requirements for performance metrics.

BIP 2215

Understanding ISO 26000. Practical approach to social responsibility.


Note: All other standards and related support materials are listed under the sub-theme pages of sustainable development.