Today, as the world focuses on the great challenges of meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) and how to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and ‘build back better’, the role of consensus has never been more important.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the United Nations (UN). Such a milestone is a chance to reflect on what have we achieved to date and, perhaps more significantly, on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
One of the first achievements of the UN was to host a conference in October 1946 at the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in London, the aim of which was to debate the importance of agreeing common international standards to support the post-war recovery.
That meeting led directly to the foundation of the International Standards Organization (ISO) in 1947. It will be ISO’s 75th birthday next year, and BSI is planning to host the ISO General Assembly at the ICE to mark the occasion.
Standards have proved themselves over many years as a tool for bringing stakeholders together to agree what ‘good’ looks like. The UNSDGs are the greatest opportunity for standards to prove their true value to society since the idea of using stakeholder consensus as a tool for business advantage was conceived at the turn of the 20th century.
From BSI’s roots in the very first meeting of the Engineering Standards Committee, hosted at the ICE in 1901, through to the hosting of the UN conference in 1946, and up to the present day, we have sought to enable the development of standards as a consensus-built tool for accelerating innovation and economic development. We will continue to work tirelessly with industry, government, the professional institutions and associations in the built environment and the wider public to deliver our part.
Today’s business leaders should strive to do everything possible to meet the UNSDGs and play their part in shaping a better world. Standards are there to help them.