Monday, 19 December 2005
The big events of 2005 have impacted millions of people and so has the work of the British Standards Institution (BSI). The Olympics, climate change, ID cards and natural disasters all featured heavily in the news throughout the year and behind the headlines standards have played an important role.
This year alone, BSI has published more than 1800 standards with the number of current British standards at around 25,000.
Mike Low, Director of BSI British Standards said, “Standards are an important part of every day life and business and they often exist without visibility or fanfare. They exist to make life safer, more efficient, more consistent, more productive and more competitive and 2005 has been no exception.
“Throughout the hosting of the G8 Summit, winning the Ashes, the London 2012 bid and even the terror attacks, standards have provided a sustainable framework for growth, quality and safety. Impacting every aspect of our lives, standards add value to business and the bottom line whilst improving products and services for consumers.” added Mr Low.
The eyes of the world were on the UK for the G8 Summit at Gleneagles and the Prime Minister’s commitment to environmental and sustainable development. To help business address this area BSI is currently finalising a British standard on managing sustainable development for organisations (BS 8900), and is involved with the development of international standards on: climate change (ISO 14064 and 14065); environmental communication (ISO 14063); life cycle assessment (ISO 14040 and ISO 14044); and environmental labelling (ISO 14025).
Natural disasters, IT failure, terrorism
This year fires, floods, terrorist attacks and instances of catastrophic IT failure have taken up pages of press coverage and many hours of broadcast programming. According to recent research commissioned by BSI at least 25% of FTSE 250 businesses are failing to prepare for such crises. These events have emphasised the need for companies to integrate business continuity and risk management into their corporate strategy and BSI launched two new committees in August to focus on these important areas and build on its existing guidance.
The onset of biometric passports and the possible introduction of ID cards have not only caused heated political debate but raised many questions about the practicality of implementing this new technology. BSI has recently published the world’s first international standards on biometrics, to be used for recording “biometric” data. The four new standards cover data structures to digitally record finger, face and iris images and fingerprint features. Some of these standards will be used for putting facial images on UK Passports as early as February 2006 and other biometric information on ID Cards should they go ahead.
Airbus A380 launch
The April launch of the biggest aircraft in history made headlines around the world. What many people don’t realise however was that when it took off there were more than 350 different European standards on board. They were used for over 10,000 standard parts in the Superjumbo such as rivets, screws and bolts, and also mechanical systems such as valves, doors and the landing gear.
London 2012 Olympics announcement
And the winner is…London! Arguably the biggest announcement of the year, the awarding of the 2012 Olympics to London, will greatly impact businesses and communities alike. In the building phase of the Olympics construction companies will be using more than 1,000 British standards to complete their projects. In addition, BSI is exploring a host of activities including developing a sustainable events management systems standard to serve as a benchmark for this and future events.
Cricket – the Ashes
England’s cricketers completed an historic victory over Australia breaking an 18 year drought to bring the Ashes home. Ensuring the game was played safely and consistently were six British standards ranging from specifications for the ball to protective equipment for the players.
As 2005 showed, issues in the supply chain can cripple even the most established businesses. A BSI committee launched in May this year is developing the UK’s first standard on relationship management (BS 11000) to examine these issues and provide a framework for businesses to manage their internal and external relationships effectively. It will help improve the competitiveness of companies and the efficiency of managing relationships within the supply chain and for other collaborative activities.
With the high levels public and press interest in healthy eating, product recall, bird flu, and genetically modified foods in 2005 the importance of managing the food chain has never been more evident. BSI has been actively involved with the development of an international standard for food safety management (ISO 22000) which covers all organisations in the food chain from farmers to catering and defines the requirements of a food safety management system. The improved processes strengthen productivity for businesses and provide greater consistency and traceability of products through the supply chain.
As ever thinner images of waif like celebrities dominated the catwalks and fashion pages this year most women would not be blamed for wondering how they would fare when trying to wear the collections being modelled. Due to the publication of three parts of a European standard (EN 13402 parts 1-3) on clothes sizing, the harmonisation of sizing across the continent should begin to take shape. Defining and measuring sizes should now be easier for pan-European manufacturers and it is intended that consumers will benefit too.
Supporting innovation and research and development has been a key focus for the Government in 2005. BSI has played an integral role in this with the development of standards in areas of emerging technology such as nanotechnology, biometrics and regenerative medicine (stem-cell research). On behalf of the UK BSI also hosted the inaugural international meeting of the nanotechnologies technical committee which is focusing on developing international standards to provide a foundation for its safe and sustainable growth.
Notes to editors
Research – BSI’s Business Barometer research interviewed a random sample of 100 senior decision makers in FTSE 250 companies by telephone between September 28 and 30 2005. Interviews were conducted across the country by Populus which is a member if the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
ID cards – biometric standards will be used for the development and implementation of ID cards if the Government’s proposal is passed into law.
European and international standards – BSI British Standards is responsible for managing UK involvement in the development of European and international standards. UK representatives and technical experts are appointed to participate in the relevant committees and report back on progress.
BSI – BSI British Standards is the UK’s national standards body, working with government, business and consumers to represent UK interests and facilitate the production of British, European and international standards to meet economic and social needs.
Further background notes – on the standards mentioned in this release can be obtained from Kristen Allen, see contact details below.
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