BSI Business Information has just published the draft of a new British Standard - BS 8900 Guidance for managing sustainable development.

BS 8900 is designed to help organizations to develop an approach to sustainable development that will continue to evolve and adapt to meet new and continuing challenges and demands. It offers clear practical advice with which to make a meaningful contribution to sustainable development.

This new standard guides organizations towards effective management of their impact on society and the environment, along the route to enhanced organizational performance and success.

The British Standard is designed to:

  • Provide a framework so organizations can take a structured approach to sustainable development by considering the social, environmental and economic impacts of their organization’s activities
  • Be applicable to all organizations, in terms of size, type etc, including civil societies and trade unions
  • Make it easier for organizations to adjust to changing social expectations
  • Helps organizations to connect existing technical, social and environmental standards, both formal (e.g. ISO 14000 series of standards) and private standards (e.g. the GRI and the AA1000 standards)
  • Offer a maturity pathway for the development of the management of sustainable development issues and impacts
  • Provide organizations’ stakeholders with a useful tool to assess and engage in improving organizational performance
  • Contribute to international level dialogue in the international standard on social responsibility, currently under development.

Dr. Simon Zadek, CEO of Accountability and Co-Chairman of the Committee responsible for the development of the draft (SDS/1), encourages organizations and individuals to comment on the draft, “BS 8900 will help advance the cause of sustainable development by making it easier to integrate into organizational processes, decision-making and behaviour”.

Professor David Jackman of the Ethics Foundation and Co-Chairman of SDS/1 comments that “this standard represents a bold step forward for BSI. Sustainable development is positioned firmly at the cutting edge and is an important area affecting the future of all of us”.