Safety standards key in helping realize sustainable development goals

Recent CSA Group report highlights the importance of Canada's best practices and guidance

Safety standards key in helping realize sustainable development goals

A new report by CSA Group titled Enabling Sustainable Development through Standards highlights how important the role of Canada’s standards – including health and safety standards – are in helping to realize the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

With the strong push for sustainability, many businesses and organizations across Canada are looking to update their policies and procedures to better align with the UN SDGs, but it can be difficult and challenging to identify the right tools and resources to properly implement and measure the impact of these initiatives.

“The Sustainable Development Goals continue to be a priority for countries across the world,” Michael Leering, Director – Environment & Business Excellence, CSA Group, said. “We really wanted to make sure that the work we do as a standards development organization can help support those goals. Standards can be important instruments that set out requirements, best practices, and guidance to help address various organizational and societal risks.”

Safety as foundational

As part of the research that informed the new report, CSA Group worked with academic partners to create a methodology for mapping their standards to the UN SDGs. Of the standards mapped so far, CSA Group learned that a significant percentage of their standards link to the SDGs.

Workplace health and safety, whether it is explicitly stated or not, is woven into many of the of the UN SDGs. This is important, as we need to move away from seeing OHS as a niche topic but rather something which applies to many aspects of business – and life.

For organization’s who have already implemented or are considering using standards to support their health and safety programs, CSA Group is hoping that this new research will help demonstrate that standards can also be used as credible tools in helping them achieve their UN SDGs objectives.   

In fact, some of the UN SDG goals directly pertain to health and safety (e.g. goal number three is good health and wellbeing). Leering says that “when we look at the [CSA] occupational health and safety standards, many of them tie into SDG goal number three. For example, CSA Z1003 – the national standard for psychological health and safety in the workplace – psychological health is a major part of overall health and wellbeing.”

Robust database

As well as the new research report, CSA Group also developed a searchable database which is designed to help organizations find standards that support an SDG or area that they are interested in. The database will be updated continually.

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