Standards have been traditionally recognized for their technical and industrial benefits. But their role in promoting economic and social development, as well as environmental protection is now increasingly acknowledged.

By adopting internationally recognized standards, companies can gain competitive edge, increase their market share and maximize shareholders’ and stakeholders’ value. The major standards which are guiding enterprises worldwide towards application of environment concerns are:

B1: ISO 14000 Series of Environmental Standards

The ISO 14000 Series of environmental standards provide companies with a set of guidelines for implementation of an environmental management system. This system supports environmental protection and reduces negative impact of business activities on the environment.

More than 160,000 organisations have been certified to ISO 14001 in some 140 countries.

In Mauritius, 30 organisations have been certified to ISO 14001.

B2: ISO 14020 Environmental Labels and Declarations Standards

ISO 14020 standards on environmental labels and declarations relate to general principles and procedures as well as self declaration of environmental claims.

These standards are used to capture increasing demand for environment-friendly product.

B3: ISO 14040 – Life Cycle Assessment Standards

Life Cycle Assessment Standards is the assessment of the environmental impact of a given product throughout its lifespan. It examines the energy used in the extraction of raw materials and the pollution that results from manufacturing, distribution and use of the product.

The ISO 14040 series of standard provides a clear overview of the practice, applications and limitations of Life Cycle Assessment.

B4: ISO 14064 – Greenhouse Gases

The standard is in three parts and gives guidance for qualification and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and removals as well as validation and verification of greenhouse assertion.

B5: SA 80000 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Standards

In today’s socio-economic environment, CSR is assuming increasing importance to project an image that a company is socially responsible, operating in public interest and honouring the triple bottom line concept of “People, Planet and Profit”. Since 2001, the CSR is recognised as an international norm and currently the International Standard Organization is developing ISO 26000 on CSR. The adoption of CSR standard such as SA8000 by enterprises provides benefits for both the stakeholders and shareholders mainly in terms of:

Integration of environmental management tools into business plans, including life cycle assessment and costing, environmental management standards and eco-labelling.

Corporate involvement in community education, employment and welfare programmes.

Improved financial performance and being more attractive to investors.

B6: Other Certification Standards

B6.1: Wrap Certification

World Wide Responsible Apparel Production (WRAP) has been in operation since 2000 with the aim of promoting humane, lawful and ethical conditions in the textile industry.

B6.2: Reach Certification
Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) has been operational since 2007 in the EU market with the aim of promoting human health and environment.

B6.3: Fair Trade Labelling

Fair Trade Labelling founded in 1997 in Germany aims at providing better prices, descent working conditions and sustainability.

B6.4: European Ecolabel

The European Ecolabel identifies products which are less harmful to the environmental, encourages businesses to produce products which are environmentally friendly and helps consumers to easily identify the product.

B7: Organic Certification

Currently, there are no internationally recognized standards for organic products. Different countries have developed their standards for organic products. The most important regulations and standards for organic products are as follows:

The European Union with its regulation on organic production Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 and (EC) No 889/2008; former: (EEC) No. 2092/91.

The US organic market with its National Organic Program (NOP).

The Japanese organic market with its Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS).

Switzerland, Israel, Argentina, Australia have set up organic regulations that are considered equivalent to the Regulation (EC) No. 834/2007.

More and more countries world-wide set up their local organic regulations or standards.