Tuesday, 28 May 2013


I am currently in the process of writing an introduction, or guide, to help everyone understand why sustainability is important and how to go about implementing more sustainability plans in their neighbourhood or community. It is a challenge, not only to avoid jargon and use language that makes the subject interesting, but also to explain in some detail how to go about starting your own sustainability scheme.

It is to be published by the British Standards Institution (BSI), the official body in the UK which sets standards for everything from plugs and kettles to quality management and professional services. The idea is to encourage grass-roots action across neighbourhoods in towns and cities as well as in more rural areas, with the action not being driven by ‘top-down’ government measures or initiatives; a refreshing change, I hope you agree!

The planned guide supports a more detailed standard called Guidance for community Sustainable development, first written in 2011. This latter document can be obtained by anyone for a small fee; however, the new guide I am working on will be free and available to all.

All standards have numbers for ease of reference, with this one being BS8904; it follows as part of a wider family of standards on sustainability in the BS8900 series. I have chaired, authored and championed these key standards over the last 8 or 9 years; as such, I hope that some, or even many, people will go on to use them!

We have already had some big successes with various versions of these standards. One was used for the Olympics in London in 2012 and another for boosting sustainable UK film production, while a further standard is relevant to companies in managing their supply chains, and so on.

While these are called ‘British Standards’, they are used all over the world; I have seen BS8900 used in Hong Kong and India! This trend is going to increase as we move to make the sustainability scheme a certifiable standard rather than just a guidance framework. Also, many such schemes go on to become international standards, like the much-used ISO9001 standard for quality management, which started as a British standard. I am travelling to Denmark soon, to draft an ISO for the sustainable community scheme i.e. an international version of BS8904.

I hope green24 readers and users will want to use the introductory guide; I am hoping we can upload a .pdf version later this year. Then, once the outline is up, you can also obtain the more detailed standards from the BSI online shop: http://shop.bsigroup.com/en/.

David Jackman

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