CEN pushes forward environmental integration

European standards body reviews progress towards greening of standards writing

European standards body CEN reviewed progress on integrating environment into its work at a meeting of the organisation's strategic advisory body on environment (Sabe) last Thursday. The meeting heard a first activity report from CEN's environmental helpdesk, which was launched in a pilot phase in September.

CEN is working actively on several fronts to integrate environment into product standardisation, the organisation's environmental project manager Mari-Sol Perez Guevara told ENDS Daily. As well as creating an environmental helpdesk to support standards writers, Sabe is encouraging CEN "sectors" to create their own environmental groups and is providing environmental guidelines to help standards writers, she said.

Out of 11 CEN sectors, those for health, construction and gas appliances have already created environmental groups, Ms Perez Guevara said. "We are trying to convince more and more sectors to have their own environmental groups," she added.

Last week's meeting also saw progress reports on political themes that have not yet reached the stage of standards writing. Among these was the CEN recycling team, which has mirrored the EU recycling forum (ENDS Daily 10 January). Possible areas for standardisation arising out of its work so far include retreaded car tyres, plastics and non-ferrous metals.

Another team is discussing what standards might be developed for the use of sewage sludge on agricultural land. A third is comparing the EU's ecolabel scheme with the ISO international standards for ecolabelling, ISO 14021 and ISO 14024, Ms Perez Guevara said.

Based at the German standards agency DIN, the CEN environmental helpdesk is proving a success, said co-manager Hanna Gersmann. Created to support standards writers in CEN's 19 national member standards bodies, the helpdesk has already developed cooperation with 33 technical committees on 120 work items. A new working group is already set to consider how to take forward the initiative after its two-year pilot phase.

Follow Up:
CEN, tel: +32 2 550 0811, including pages on Sabe and EHD. Information on Sabe can also be obtained from CEN's national members.

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