Newsroom Advocating sustainability through international standards: JCU academic headed Singapore's delegation in São Paulo

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Advocating sustainability through international standards: JCU academic headed Singapore's delegation in São Paulo

Media Releases

Fri, 3 Nov 2023
Advocating sustainability through international standards: JCU academic headed Singapore's delegation in São Paulo

International experts convened to establish important global standards for transitioning towards a circular economy — addressing critical environmental challenges and guiding organisations globally.

The International Standardisation Organization (ISO)/Technical Committee (TC) 323 Meeting was recently hosted by the Brazilian National Standards Organisation, Associacao Brasileira de Normas Tecnicas (ABNT) and was held 2-6 October 2023 in São Paulo, Brazil.

In our rapidly changing world, environmental challenges like resource depletion, biodiversity threats, over-production, and excessive consumerism call for collective action. A significant step towards addressing these issues is transitioning to a circular economy model, decoupling our global economy from the depletion of limited resources. This shift requires the development of international standards to guide organisations worldwide in adopting circular principles.

Currently, 71 countries are participating in the TC 323 Circular Economy at the ISO. A team of experts from each nation participated in the drafting and development of the set of standards, and Heads of Delegation — who represented the standard council of each country and a national expert — voted on these developments during the ISO's decision-making process.

“I am excited that three of the standards developed over the past 5 to 6 years are now ready to be tried by different sectors and countries next year,” said Dr Adrian Kuah, Associate Professor of Business at James Cook University (JCU) in Singapore, who led the Singapore delegation at the ISO/TC 323 Meeting. “The São Paulo meeting is indeed crucial for the alignment of standard development across three core standards amongst the Heads of Delegation from different continents. This meeting also brought back a face and personality to every expert as we celebrated a step closer towards transition to the circular economy.”

(International experts unite during the ISO/TC 323 Meeting in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to shape standards for a circular economy.

Image credit: Mr Hans Kröder)

The recently held ISO/TC 323 Meeting was the fifth since it was established in 2018, and it paved the way for experts across various countries to reach a final consensus on a set of three core standards (ISO 59004, 59010 and 59020) related to the principles, measurements, and transition toward the circular economy.

These standards fall under the ISO 59000 series on the Circular Economy, consisting of a total of seven essential standards. These three standards are now available as Draft International Standards, and they are scheduled to be tested by various industries in 2024.

Professor Chris Rudd, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Head of Campus at JCU in Singapore notes, “We are pleased to contribute to the continuous development of this important set of standards, with Associate Professor Adrian Kuah, who has headed the Singapore Delegation over the past two years. Creating and defining the circular economy standards play a crucial role in preserving and conserving resources for the future. His work in international standardisation has influenced the direction of industrial policy and is expected to pave the way for circular economy implementation by organisations around the world.”

Learn more about the ISO 59004: Circular Economy “Terminology, Principles, and Guidance for Implementation”, ISO 59010: Circular Economy “Guidance on the Transition of Business Models and Value Networks”, and ISO 59020: Circular Economy “Measurement and Assessing of Circularity”.

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Associate Professor Adrian Kuah [email protected]

Media: Ms Pinky Sibal [email protected]