The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) – the nongovernmental body that comprises standards, published new Net Zero Guidelines for all actors and organizations working to deliver zero-emissions pledges.
The new guidelines are intended to bring alignment to what is net zero and its credibility. They will act as a “single core reference text” that provides standards for a raft of sectors, from automotive and oil and gas to aerospace and telecommunication.
According to the president of ISO, Ulrika Francke, the publication of the standards marked a “historic milestone in bringing the international community closer to deliver on climate commitments”.
The new Net Zero Guidelines had been developed through the International Organization for Standardization’s International Workshop Agreement (IWA) process after a series of virtual workshops intended to produce final guidelines. More than 1,200 organizations and experts contributed to the text over a period of three months, according to ISO.
They also come as a response to the United Nations’ call earlier this week for the creation of clearer guidelines to support net zero pledges and draw from the existing landscape of climate target standards and initiatives.
“We need clear, consistent and harmonized global standards on net zero if we are to effectively and rapidly unlock the regulatory environment needed to help Governments meet the goals of the Paris Agreement… These Net Zero Guidelines helpfully build on the Race to Zero voluntary criteria and can be used as a core reference text on net zero to bring global actors into alignment, ratchet up ambition and address greenwashing,” said Nigel Topping, a UN climate change high-level champion.
According to some early opinions, the new standards could reignite criticism from some investors and corporates that they are being asked to adhere to overlapping climate-related standards and guidelines. That could result in confusion and duplication of effort among organizations pursuing net zero pledges.
Still, some statements claim the standards bring much-needed alignment on net zero and could prevent some greenwashing practices that are currently undergoing.