Environment and sustainability 

European standards contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda and help businesses in making the transition towards a circular, low carbon and climate resilient economy.

According to the Treaty that establishes the European Community "Environmental protection requirements must be integrated into the definition and implementation of the Community policies and activities, in particular with a view to promoting sustainable development". Standards are supporting the implementation of the EU policies and therefore are also a tool for supporting the protection of the environment.

CEN and CENELEC work closely together on finding the best ways to respond to the latest challenges of the environmental policy, business and societal needs. They continuously assess the needs and provide the necessary tools to support the work of the standard writers in all sectors in addressing the environmental and climate change related aspects in standards.

Standards, whether they are product standards, service standards, or process standards, all may have an impact on the environment. The environmental impact of a product standard, for example, will vary according to the different stages of the lifecycle that can be distinguished (production, distribution, use and end-of-life). Standardization can play a major role in reducing environmental impacts by influencing the choices that are made in connection with the design of products and processes.

  • CEN and CENELEC set up the CEN and CENELEC Strategic Advisory Body on Environment (SABE) to deal with the strategic issues related to the protection of the environment and climate change and to respond to the challenges posed by the developments within the various sectors as well as by the evolution of the legislation within the European Union.

  • The CEN Environmental Helpdesk (EHD) provides support to the CEN Technical Bodies on how to address environmental aspects in standards.

  • The European societal stakeholders’ organisations that are closely involved in the environmental issues within the standardization are the 'Environmental Coalition on Standards' (ECOS), and the 'European Association for the co-ordination of consumer representation in standardisation' (ANEC).

  • Climate Change Adaptation 
    The consequences of climate change are increasingly being felt in Europe and worldwide. In particular, the magnitude of extreme weather events has increased, with more frequent heat waves, forest fires and droughts, heavier precipitation and an increased risk of flooding and erosion. Despite ongoing attempts to limit the extent of climate change through mitigation efforts, the impacts of climate change are expected to grow more severe in the coming decades. Adaptation measures are therefore necessary to deal with the unavoidable impacts.

  • Workshop Agreement