Joining our efforts to improve inclusiveness in international standardisation, the European Commission organised on 29 May a meeting between the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on the one hand, and the Societal and SME stakeholders on the other, namely ECOS, ANEC, ETUC and SBS. The meeting was organised to discuss opportunities and challenges for civil society organisations willing to engage in the work of ISO and IEC.
ECOS is actively engaged in many committees with ISO and IEC, including ISO/TC 207 dealing with environmental management and labelling standards. While our collaboration with these organisations is rather satisfactory in the areas where ECOS has been involved for a time, there is still resistance to give us access to certain committees, including those developing standards in response to a standardisation request by the European Commission. Recently ECOS’ request to participate was rejected by two committees covering core areas in which ECOS works – the use of hazardous flame retardants, and the use of fluorinated greenhouse gases as refrigerants.
The meeting, organised by the European Commission, is therefore another positive step towards overcoming such persisting reluctance to engage with civil society at international level. ECOS will continue to push for improved participation in standardisation at the international level, especially as more and more standards are being developed internationally, and protection of the environment is a global issue that needs to take place at all levels.