BSI, the UK’s National Standards Body has today launched standard BS 8900 Managing sustainable development of organizations to enable businesses to embed sustainable development management in everyday decision-making.

Initially published in 2006 to help organizations integrate sustainable development principles into business-as-usual in a cost-efficient and effective way. BS 8900 has now been fully revised and superseded by a two-part document:

  • BS 8900-1 Guide
  • BS 8900-2 Framework for assessment against BS 8900-1 – Specification

For the first time businesses no matter what size or sector, can be assessed. By using the requirements set out in BS 8900-2 companies can demonstrate that they have taken a genuine and effective approach to addressing sustainable development in line with the BS 8900-1.

BS 8900 reflects the latest practices in sustainability management and is designed to help organizations establish an approach to sustainable development that will enable them to evolve and adapt to meet new and continuing challenges and demands.

David Fatscher, Head of Market Development for Sustainability at BSI says, “The BS 8900 revision is a major development in the world of sustainability. It provides clear guidance for all organizations to embed sustainable development into their core business practices and an opportunity to demonstrate they are growing in a responsible manner.”

The committee working collaboratively on developing this revision includes organizations such as The Institute of Environmental Health, Loughborough University and the trade union Prospect, as well as sustainability experts from across multiple sectors including construction, event management and procurement.

As a result of implementing BS 8900 businesses can reduce the negative impacts and realize positive opportunities for the environment, society and the economy. For example, reduction in resource use and providing for local employment opportunities.

David Fatscher adds, “It is important to note that BS 8900-2 offers a strategically-based framework, the principles of which sit above existing management system specifications –  for example, quality, environmental and health and safety. It has not been designed to duplicate these standards; rather, it should optimize the value of existing approaches such as management systems and reporting.”

The standard is aimed at the consultants and managers responsible for sustainability within an organization (including the CEO and senior executives responsible for sustainability, compliance, corporate social responsibility, and environment). It requires them to take continued ownership of sustainable development driving it down into the operations of the business and supply chain.

Revisions of BS 8900-1:

  • The key principles of sustainable development: inclusivity, integrity, stewardship and transparency are now minimum principles.
  • Examples of a sustainable development maturity matrices for different types of organizations.

Some features of BS 8900-2:

  • Provision of a strategic framework to direct/lead the organization’s approach.
  • Sits above existing management systems such as ISO 14001 and leads/directs them.