Written evidence submitted by the British
Standards Institution (BSI) (SIM 15)|
As the UK's National Standards Body, BSI welcomes
this opportunity to comment on this inquiry.
BSI is the UK's National Standards Body (NSB) and
was the world's first. It represents UK economic and social interests
across all of the European and international standards organizations
and through the development of business information solutions
for British organizations of all sizes and sectors. BSI works
with manufacturing and service industries, businesses, governments
and consumers to facilitate the production of British, European
and international standards.
Much of the market knowledge and expertise BSI has
resides in its committee structure. BSI has a large number of
committees of experts representing a broad range of stakeholders,
and this promotes the development of consensus views regarding
standardisation where this is deemed important.
1. Is there a global shortfall in the supply
and availability of strategically important metals essential to
the production of advanced technology in the UK?
1.1 BSI has no particular expertise in analysing
or establishing the likelihood of any particular materials or
resources becoming unavailable. BSI does, however, publish a great
deal of standards that help organisations adopting them run their
operations in a way that is truly sustainable based on the consideration
of all relevant environmental, social and economic factors. A
more detailed explanation of the tools that exist is available
on the BSI website:
- 1.1.1 http://shop.bsigroup.com/en/Browse-by-Subject/Sustainability/
1.2 These tools, and the development of new tools,
form the basis of BSI standards-making activity in this area,
and it is the adoption of these that will contribute to efforts
to ensure the UK's future wealth-making activities are not compromised
by events unforeseen environmental, social and political occurrences
that put the production of advanced technology at risk.
2. How vulnerable is the UK to a potential
decline or restriction in the supply of strategically important
metals? What should the Government be doing to safeguard against
this and to ensure supplies are produced ethically?
2.1 Strategically important metals are no different
to any other natural resource in that they all need to be used
in a sustainable manner. Sustainable development is defined by
the British Standard BS 8900:2006 Guidance for managing sustainable
development as "an enduring, balanced approach to economic
activity, environmental responsibility and social progress".
This standard guides organizations towards effective management
of their impact on society and the environment, along the route
to enhanced organizational performance and success.
2.2 For many organisations, such as the mining
and manufacturing industries, the consideration of sustainable
materials usage is fundamental to ensuring they operate in a genuinely
sustainable manner. With this in mind, BSI is developing another
standard that applies the concepts developed in BS 8900 to the
use of materials. This standard has the title BS 8905 Framework
for the assessment of the sustainable use of materials and
is due to be published in mid-2011. It will provide a framework
for the consideration of environmental, social and economic issues
in the sustainable uses of materials. The framework can be applied
to all parts of the supply chain, including the source of the
material, the use of the material throughout the use phase of
a product and the treatment of the material at the end of the
product's useful life.
2.3 The Standard is intended to support decisions
about the sustainable use of any type of material, and the adoption
and implementation of both this and BS 8900 should be encouraged
by the Government to safeguard against the decline or restriction
in the supply of strategically important metals in a way that
is deemed ethical.
3. How desirable, easy and cost-effective
is it to recover and recycle metals from discarded products? How
can this be encouraged? Where recycling currently takes place,
what arrangements need to be in place to ensure it is done cost-effectively,
safely and ethically?
3.1 The recovery and recycling of metals from
discarded products should only take place when it has been established
that incorporating the metals in the products, and recovering
and recycling them at the end-of-life stage is the most sustainable
option available. Other options may include using other materials,
or adopting other end-of-life options.
3.2 To make this judgement requires a coherent
full lifecycle approach encompassing all relevant environmental,
social and economic factors. This approach will be articulated
in BS 8905 and adoption of these principles will enable sustainable
practices to be put into place regarding the use of the metals
and their subsequent recovery.
3.3 In relation to other end-of-life options,
BSI is currently developing a series of standards for designers
and design engineers, BS 8887, Design for manufacture, assembly,
disassembly and end-of-life processing. These standards aim
to give designers recommendations on how best to incorporate into
their design documentation, guidance on the ultimate reuse, recovery,
recycling and disposal of the components and materials used. A
number of specific end-of-life processes have already been covered
in the BS 8887 series. The series could be expanded to cover the
selection and recovery of materials. A list of the BS 8887 standards
currently published and/or in development is as follows:
3.4 BS 8887-1, Design for manufacture, assembly,
disassembly and end-of-life processing - Part 1: General concepts,
process and requirements;
3.5 BS 8887-2, Design for manufacture, assembly,
disassembly and end-of-life processing - Part 2: Terms and definitions;
3.6 BS 8887-220: Design for manufacture, assembly,
disassembly and end-of-life processing - Part 220: The process
of remanufacture - specification;
3.7 BS 8887-240, Design for manufacture, assembly,
disassembly and end-of-life processing - Part 240: Reconditioning.
4. Are there substitutes for those metals
that are in decline in technological products manufactured in
the UK? How can these substitutes be more widely applied?
4.1 Substitution can only take place when an
individual engineer in full possession of the relevant facts relating
to the product being developed is able to make a decision based
on the both the performance and sustainability of the candidate
materials. To be able to do this the engineer will need access
to a wide range of complex engineering data relating to performance
and sustainability. Such information is currently difficult to
access due to the lack of agreement regarding the categories of
information that need to be accessed across different geographical
regions and materials classes and in different industries. In
addition, the electronic file formats these data are stored in
are often proprietary and software platform dependent, meaning
long term archiving is difficult due to the rapid obsolescence
of the platforms themselves. As a result these data are not easily
accessed by the engineers making these judgements.
4.2 The global supply chains are very complex,
and a lot of valuable information regarding the sustainability
and performance of particular materials and resources is lost,
because a particular participant in the chain only has knowledge
of direct inputs and outputs. There are efforts in place to create
repositories for data, such as the EU Life Cycle Database:
4.4 This presents industry-derived data on specific
materials using an averaging process. Reliance on these data,
however, means that is not possible for a participant to gain
competitive advantage by being better than average. To do better
than average requires the originators of the data to preserve,
archive and make it available in a way that is not currently done.
There are a great deal of internationally-developed product data
standards developed under ISO/TC 184/SC4 Industrial Data that
could be applied to this problem and would enable users to generate,
retain, archive, and make accessible all relevant data in a way
that is secure and does not compromise intellectual property.
A summary of these standards is as follows:
4.5 ISO 8000, Data quality.
4.6 ISO 10303, Industrial automation systems
and integration Product data representation and exchange,
informally known as Standard for the Exchange of Product Model
4.7 ISO 13584, Industrial automation systems
and integration Parts library (PLIB).
4.8 ISO 15926, Industrial automation systems
and integration Integration of life-cycle data for process
plants including oil and gas production facilities.
4.9 ISO 18629, Industrial automation systems
and integration Process specification language (PSL).
4.10 These standards could be adapted in such
a way that overcomes the problems in identifying and accessing
important and complex engineering data. As a result, participants
would be able to access all suitable relevant information regarding
the attributes of a material, and make better choices in relation
to its sustainability.
5. What opportunities are there to work internationally
on the challenge of recovering, recycling and substituting strategically
5.1 The marketplace for raw materials, and goods
and services using materials, is an international one, and many
company, organisation and supply chain boundaries transcend national
boundaries. Therefore, it is essential that the foundations upon
which co-operation and methods are based are international in
nature. As mentioned earlier, many of these methods will be transmitted
through the medium of published formal standards. The agreed good
practice that is contained within BS 8900 and BS 8905 will be
of the highest value if it can be translated into internationally
agreed standards at the global and/or European level. BSI, as
the UK National Standards Body (NSB) has formal links with the
International Standards Organisation (ISO) and the European standards
making Body, CEN. Therefore, BSI is in the best position to ensure
good practice developed in the UK is adopted more broadly and
can also promote the UK as a pioneer in the development of solutions
regarding the sustainable use of materials.
5.2 In addition, the UK is a leading participant
in the development of standards developed by ISO/TC 184/SC4 Industrial
Data, and is in a position to lead on developments where there
is an opportunity to use standards to enable access to high quality
and useful data.
1. BSI is the UK's National Standards Body, incorporated
by Royal Charter and responsible independently for preparing British
Standards and related publications. BSI has 107 years of experience
in serving the interest of a wide range of stakeholders including
government, business and society.
2. BSI presents the UK view on standards in Europe
(to CEN and CENELEC) and internationally (to ISO and IEC). BSI
has a globally recognized reputation for independence, integrity
and innovation ensuring standards are useful, relevant and authoritative.
3. A BSI (as well as CEN/CENELEC, ISO/IEC) standard
is a document defining best practice, established by consensus.
Each standard is kept current through a process of maintenance
and reviewed whereby it is updated, revised or withdrawn as necessary.
4. Standards are designed to set out clear and
unambiguous provisions and objectives. Although standards are
voluntary and separate from legal and regulatory systems, they
can be used to support or complement legislation.
5. Standards are developed when there is a defined
market need through consultation with stakeholders and a rigorous
development process. National committee members represent their
communities in order to develop standards and related documents
by consensus. They include representatives from a range of bodies,
including government, business, consumers, academic institutions,
social interests, regulators and trade unions.
British Standards Institution
17 December 2010