ISO Member Countries resolve to boost consumer engagement, renew focus on sustainability in Standardisation
44th ISO COPOLCO Plenary witnesses keen interest and successful multilateral participation
By PIB Delhi
The four-day 44th ISO COPOLCO Plenary hosted by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) from 23-26 May, 2023 concluded at New Delhi on 26.05.2023 with the keynote address from Ms. Nidhi Khare, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution in the presence of Ms. Mamta Upadhyay Lal, Additional Director General, BIS, Prof. B. Metri, Director, Indian Institute of Management, Nagpur and Chairman, Management & Systems Division Council, BIS and Ms. Sadie Dainton, Chairperson, COPOLCO and other senior officials and representatives of ISO and member countries. Senior officials, scientists, and staff of BIS also marked their presence during the event.
During her keynote address, Ms. Nidhi Khare mentioned, “We have made significant improvement in the area of consumer protection during the recent years. Also, robust consumer grievance redressal systems have been developed to help fast-tracking resolution of such matters.” While stressing the need to keep sustainability as a core consideration in standardisation, she said, “Manufacturers should ensure that products are designed for sustainability parameters, they can also be partners in the process of reducing e-waste.”
Ms. Mamta Upadhyay Lal highlighted the activities and initiatives of BIS. She mentioned, “BIS has taken up a wide range of initiatives, such as Manak Manthan, Quality Connect, etc. which are aimed at enhancing consumer engagement in standardisation.”
Ms. Sadie Dainton expressed her appreciation for all member countries for their ongoing engagement and commitment to raising consumer stakeholders’ awareness of the value of standards for consumer protection and for engaging and involving consumers to develop credible and robust standards which address real problems faced by real people, by setting out good practice for organizations to minimize the risk of harm to consumers.
ISO Officials attending the Plenary stated that the 44th COPOLCO Plenary has successfully achieved its objectives of empowering consumers for a sustainable future, through in-depth discussions and exchange of national and international experiences of the challenges that consumers face in making sustainable choices and promoting the development of the circular economy. The officials also informed that ISO has renewed its commitment to incorporate the objectives of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into its standards programme and giving a voice to vulnerable stakeholders most affected by climate change in its standards and policy work.
ISO Secretariat also shared, “On behalf of ISO we express our deep gratitude to the Bureau of Indian Standards and the Indian government for their hospitality and support in hosting the 44th meeting of ISO/COPOLCO and upholding the importance of the consumer as a critical partner in society and the economy. We were very happy to interact with representatives of over 40 members and liaison organizations from around the world and 21 Indian consumer organizations, attending in person and online.”
Notably, the plenary of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) Committee on Consumer Policy (COPOLCO) is the flagship annual event of the multilateral organisation in the area of consumer engagement. ISO boasts 168 countries as members and holds a range of sensitive meetings of stakeholder groups, committees, and communities with an objective to strengthen the process of standardization and enhance consumer participation across the globe.
As per the participants and delegates, a people-centric approach and themes such as ‘Challenges and Good Practices for Consumer Engagement’; Empowering Consumers for a Sustainable Future; Consumer Protection and Legal Frameworks; have made this year’s plenary particularly important for the international community. The conference also featured workshops and addresses by eminent speakers, including ministers and persons of eminence from around the world. The event will also feature panel discussions on matters pertaining to consumer engagement.
As per the Officials from ISO, being one of its founding members since its inception in 1947, ISO considers India a very important partner in pursuing its vision of making lives easier, safer, and better.
The plenary also featured dialogue sessions, workshops, and interactive sessions on various themes related to consumer matters. During the workshops, groups of representatives from various countries were formed where they exchanged views, information, experiences, etc.
The four-day event marked the distinguished presence of not only the who’s who of the Indian Government and business sectors but the international delegation of eminent global stakeholders as well. Sh. Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, and Textiles addressed the gathering of international delegates, and representatives of international and national consumer welfare organisations during the inaugural session of the event. Apart from the Minister, the list of eminent international dignitaries included the Union Minister of State, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Sh. Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union Minister of State, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Ms. Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Sh. Rohit Kumar Singh, Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, Ms. Sadie Dainton, Chairperson, COPOLCO, Mr. Sergio Mujica, ISO Secretary General, and other higher officials of ISO and standards organisations of various countries.