World Standards day 2022: European Standards support the Sustainable Development Goals

On 14 October 2022, CEN and CENELEC join the international standardization community in celebrating World Standards Day. Under the motto “Shared visions for a better world”, the event is an opportunity to showcase the many ways in which international standards can contribute to building a sustainable future.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the United Nations in 2015, provides a shared vision for how to achieve peace and prosperity for people and the planet. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an urgent call for action for a global partnership to address social imbalances, develop a sustainable economy, and fight against climate change.


The SDGs represent a historic opportunity to make real change. But to be achieved, they require the cooperation of all stakeholders, private and public, and the use of all available tools.


CEN and CENELEC, two of the official European Standardization Organizations (ESOs), believe that voluntary, consensus-based standards play a big role: they offer shared rules of behaviour, facilitate the dissemination of best practices, contribute to the fast transmission of innovation and foster global trade.


Thanks to their power, European standards support the European Union’s policy initiatives to achieve the twin green and digital transition: the EU Green Deal, the Circular Economy Action Plan, and the EU’s Digital Strategy, to name a few.


CEN and CENELEC’s commitment to sustainable development is reflected in the joint CEN and CENELEC Strategy 2030. In this strategy, they pledge for “International standardization to be a lever for sustainable development”.


European Standards for the SDGs: an ongoing commitment


These are not just lofty ambitions. Through the work done by many experts across different Technical Committees (TCs), CEN and CENELEC develop European Standards that contribute to the three pillars of economic, environmental and societal sustainability. Some examples:

  • SDG 5Gender equality. CEN and CENELEC signed in 2019 the UNECE declaration on Gender Responsive Standards, pledging to adopt a gender-aware approach to standardization, and established an ambitious implementation plan that is reviewed on an annual basis.
  • SDG 7Affordable and Clean Energy. Existing standards on energy management can be used as tools to help businesses gradually improve the energy efficiency of their products. For instance, in the field of Ecodesign and Energy Labelling, 25 CEN and CENELEC TCs produce European Standards on methods for measuring the performance of various energy-related products against the values set by the European legislation.
  • Another relevant area for the energy transition is transports. Standards help reduce the amount of energy used in the sector and shift to sustainable fuels. Existing standards cover means of transport, tools to monitor emissions in vehicles, and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in urban areas, among others.
  • SDG 13 Climate action. CEN and CENELEC adopt a horizontal approach to environmental protection, embedding it across all their actions. As an example, CEN TC 467 ‘Climate Change’ develops standards to mitigate and adapt to climate change, while CENELEC’s TC 111x ‘Environment’ focuses on reducing the negative impact of electrical and electronic products on the environment.

Mapping CEN and CENELEC’s contribution to the SDGs

To provide some evidence on the huge potential of standards, last May CEN and CENELEC presented a new dedicated webpage: “Standards for the SDGs”. This online tool provides a comprehensive and clear mapping of the standards that contribute significantly to the SDGs in the European context.


At the moment, the website accounts for 5587 standards, with more expected to be added in the coming months. The objective of the project is to develop a strategic approach to SDGs leading to the inclusion of sustainability considerations in standardization.


Elena Santiago Cid, CEN and CENELEC’s Director General, said: “CEN and CENELEC are committed to leveraging the power of European standards to address global challenges. We are strengthening our collaboration with all economic and social stakeholders and pooling their expertise and skills, in order to make sustainable development a reality for everyone.”



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