Different people have different priorities and I’d like to share my own perspective. As chairperson of the technical committee, my priorities are to consolidate and package groups of standards so that they are more user friendly to the industrial sector who are the principal users.
I want us to continue to improve our outreach so that the standards are of greater relevance and help in all areas of environmental management. We have great talent; fabulous standards have been produced and continue to be produced. Now, it’s a matter of establishing how we can share this with the world. It’s kind of a best kept secret. For example, I was at a meeting in China a few years ago and visited a manufacturer to see how they were implementing ISO 14000 standards. It was fascinating. The company we visited was glowing in their praise for the ISO 14000 standards. They said that by using the 14000 standards, they had identified a use for previous waste product which had increased their market share.
I think in North America we’re not yet seeing the value of these standards. I’m a former regulator and to me, a key application of these standards would be in the regulatory review and oversight of proposed projects and operations. For a few years now, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has referenced the 14000 standards in their guidance to applicants. I think that using these globally accepted standards as part of our regulatory framework can improve regulatory decision-making and operations oversight.