Calculating the value of the environment with new ISO Standard

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How does an organization value the dependencies it has on the environment? There’s a lot of information on what makes smarter sustainable strategies, but very little data. Now a new ISO standard provides the answers.

There is certainly no shortage of cost/benefit analyses that organizations can use to value environmental aspects and their impacts. But which ones should organizations use? The choice is immense and often confusing. To change that, ISO has just published ISO 14007, Environmental management – Guidelines for determining environmental costs and benefits

Organizations need to know which environmental measures and strategies are economically sound. For example, valuing natural resources and performing environmental cost-benefit analyses are both strategically and tactically important steps in sustainable development programmes.

ISO 14007 will enable organizations to determine and communicate the costs and benefits associated with their environmental aspects, impacts and dependencies on natural resources. It tells organizations how to carry out cost-benefit analyses for different environmental options.

Martin Baxter, Chair of ISO/TC 207’s subcommittee SC 1, Environmental management systems, explains. “There is a growing drive towards valuing natural capital, as well as a need to undertake a monetary assessment of an organization’s environmental aspects and impacts,” he says. “ISO 14007 helps in creating transparent and accurate data, which in turn may remove a hurdle for sustainable development – to understand the value of sustainability.”

The new standard complements ISO 14008Monetary valuation of environmental impacts and related environmental aspects, published in March 2019. It describes methods for valuing environmental aspects and impacts, providing the essential data that feeds into such cost-benefit analyses. Hence, the two standards dovetail with one another.

“Sustainability is about preserving human well-being for present and future generations. And well-being is closely linked to an economy where natural capital plays a critical role for the future,” concludes Baxter.

ISO 14007 was developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 207Environmental management, subcommittee SC 1, Environmental management systems, whose secretariat is held by SCC, ISO’s member for Canada. ISO 14007 is available from your national ISO member or through the ISO Store.

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