The universally-applicable ISO 37101:2016 Standard sets out requirements and guidance to attain sustainability with the support of methods and tools including smartness and resilience. The Standard also aims to improve the contribution of communities to sustainable development outcomes.

The BSI states that ISO 37101:2016 “is intended to be implemented by an organisation designated by a community to establish the organisational framework and to provide the resources necessary to support the management of environmental, economic and social performance outcomes”.

The Standard is applicable to communities of all sizes, structures and types, in developed or developing countries, at local, regional or national levels, and in defined urban or rural areas, at their respective level of responsibility.

In practice, ISO 37101:2016 will help city CEOs, sustainability officers, smart city managers and compliance managers; policy advisors, NGOs and consultants plan their city’s long-term sustainability agendas.

ISO 37101:2016 is designed to help communities improve in a number of areas such as: –

  • Developing holistic and integrated approaches instead of working in silos (which can hinder sustainability).
  • Fostering social and environmental changes through collaboration of all stakeholders in a community.
  • Improving health and wellbeing for citizens encouraging responsible resource use
  • Achieving better governance to support cost effective investment decision.

BSI’s head of market development for sustainability David Fatscher said: “As societies grow and populations within a community increase in density, more thought has to be put into the sustainable development of those communities. This is not just about population size but also the economic, social and environmental issues that a community faces.

“Whilst previous guidance has enabled individuals to take control of their communities locally, from improving social and economic opportunities to protecting the local environment, this international standard takes a broader view.

“City leaders can be at the forefront of any decisions that impact their communities and now have the guidance they need to implement changes to benefit their environment in multiple ways.”

The UK has already developed similar guidance in the shape of the BS 8904:2011 Guidance for Community Sustainable Development, which is suited to local grass-roots organisations, with this Standard contributing towards the development of ISO 37101:2016.

George Ogleby

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