In terms of sustainability, the breadth of ambition has grown and the urgency to deliver has increased sharply in recent years. The elegant simplicity of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) provides an essential common language for all.
It is easy to see their intent and then decide how you meet them. It doesn't matter what your focus is within those wide-ranging UNSDGs, the critical starting point must be collaboration.
BSI’s role is all about collaboration: with industry, academic, societal and government stakeholders in the UK, with partner national standards bodies all around the world and with the WTO-recognized international and European regional standards organizations that the UK helped to found and through which we deliver our aim of global consensus.
In embracing the UN's goals, we are focusing on the importance of collaboration to support and accelerate innovation and trade. Using common standards will accelerate progress. We have done this before; we collaborated with experts globally to develop the new international (ISO) standards for building information modelling (BIM), drawing on our experience in the UK of developing the PAS 1192 series.
Now our committees are working on other vital, emerging areas that will impact upon the built environment, such as the commercialization of graphene, the circular economy, digital twins, the Internet of Things and sustainable finance. All this work underpins efforts by industry to play its part in the UNSDGs.
Engineering is a way of thinking. The challenges that engineers are involved with are more exciting, more diverse and more urgent than any other career. It is all about delivering societal ambition – and that means delivering the UNSDGs.
So, we need change. We need to see consensus as a tool for delivering our ambitions, as a key part of the knowledge engine that sustains our corporate competitive advantage and our joint capability to deliver a safer, more sustainable and resilient world.
The solutions that we need to make a real impact on the UNSDGs require a global consensus. We will only show true leadership by coming together to agree what ‘good’ looks like through formal processes with national representation, through the international standards organizations, and then scaling that up within our own organizations and supply chains as rapidly as possible. It is a new mindset.