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The G7 – standards set a path for positive change

We exist in a time when standardisation has a critical role to play in uniting the world to tackle some of the biggest threats to our ways of life.

Earlier this month leaders of the Group of Seven – those with advanced economies from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Italy, Germany and France - met in the United Kingdom to determine a way to ‘build back better’ following COVID-19, tackle climate change and address inequalities across the world. United by their principle ‘shared beliefs and shared responsibilities are the bedrock of leadership and prosperity,’ these principles could not be more true of standards, developed by consensus to do things better, for better outcomes. Standards were widely acknowledged throughout their full declaration.

Standards rebuild bridges

Tackling the global pandemic requires international collaboration for all countries to be on the same page. The global leaders welcome the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) commitment to work with experts and countries based on a common framework including standards and rules for sharing data. They recognise a need for common standards for travel including interoperability and mutual recognition of digital applications, testing requirements and recognition of vaccination status.

The pandemic has forced an adoption of digital technologies and need for digital literacy and the leaders recognise opportunities to leverage on this for the common good, strengthening coordination on and support for the implementation and development of global norms and standards.

Standards rebuild economies

With countless jobs across many industries and supply chains impacted globally, international labour standards will support labour markets to evolve that are fair and inclusive. Working with the World Trade Organisation (WTO), world leaders recognise the transformations underway in the global economy, including digitalisation and green transition. There is a need, they claim, to strengthen the rules protecting against unfair practices like forced technology transfer, intellectual property theft, and lowering of labour and environmental standards.

They call upon the private sector to join in industry-led inclusive multi-stakeholder approaches to standard setting, and encourage better sharing of information and best practice between national standards bodies.

Standards drive decarbonisation

In industrial and innovation sectors the need for decarbonisation was linked to science and technological innovation, policy design, financing and regulation. Standards are seen as important in defining and stimulating demand for green products, enhanced energy and resource efficiency in industry. Expressing a commitment to sustainable, decarbonised mobility and to scaling up zero emission vehicle technologies, they note the need to accelerate the roll out of necessary infrastructure – something New Zealand is also actively encouraging through our newly published publicly available specifications on electric vehicle (EV) chargers for commercial and residential use, sponsored by the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority (EECA).

The need for action towards Net Zero Carbon by 2050, echoes New Zealand’s commitment and ambition. Policy is seen as key in agricultural, forestry and land-use sectors, as is a need for a shift in building design, sustainable materials and renewable heating in building construction.

Standards underpin values

The G7 leaders emphasise the importance of strong standards as a key principle of change; ‘to ensure our approach and values are upheld, and to drive a race to the top, we will make high standards - across environmental, social, financial, labour, governance and transparency - a central plank of our approach.’

The G7 declaration reminds us that positive change requires multilateral cooperation and collaboration and a need for richer countries to support poorer countries to adapt. A concerted effort across both governments and the private sector in driving and implementing innovation, supported by regulation and standardisation, can help ensure a world that is prosperous for generations to come.

Carbis Bay G7 summit communiqué [PDF, 774 KB] - Council of the European Union(external link)