Management systems

ISO 37101 Sustainable development in communities

Due to a growing world population and the increasing demands on our planet's resources, sustainable development is one of the biggest challenges facing the world today. Sustainable development is high on the agenda in many political debates and companies.

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What is ISO/IEC 37101?

The overall purpose of DS/ISO 37101 is to promote sustainable development in communities, including cities. The standard can help municipalities and organisations work systematically and holistically to achieve their goals and visions for a sustainable and resilient development of the entire municipality or organization.

DS/ISO 37101 sets a number of requirements and offers guidelines in order to support municipalities and organizations in their efforts to become more sustainable. The standard helps municipalities and organizations set their overall goals and define a sustainable development strategy at a local level that takes into account the interests of all parties involved.

The standard offers hands-on inspiration for working with sustainability and ensuring documentation of the efforts, e.g. through third party certification.

The standard guides municipalities and organizations in meeting their sustainability responsibilities and in providing a common framework and a shared understanding of sustainable development in cities and communities across administrative frameworks.

The purpose is to provide guidance on structured, targeted and holistic cross-sector development.


Charlotte Vincentz Fischer
Charlotte Vincentz Fischer Seniorkonsulent | Senior Consultant
Standardisering | Digital & Bæredygtighed
T: 39 96 61 30

Why work with ISO/IEC 37101?

When a company, an organisation or a municipality implements DS/ISO 37101, it contributes positively to sustainable development by developing an overall vision and shared goals and policies. Policies and objectives will permeate all business activities as well as the organization from the top to the bottom.

Many of the concrete initiatives to build a sustainable future help municipalities and organizations work systematically and holistically to achieve their goals and visions.

Become a member of the Committee S-491 for Sustainable Cities and Communities – Smart City

Would you like to contribute to setting the agenda on sustainable cities and communities in Denmark? Seize the opportunity to participate in the Danish Standards committee. The work relates to standards which help establish a structured and holistic approach to sustainable urban development in municipalities. It also relates to how digitisation can support sustainable development (Smart City).

As a member of the committee you will be given the opportunity to influence standardization and participate in the development of the Danish guide for Smart Cities.

How can DS/ISO 37101 help promote sustainable development in municipalities and communities?

DS/ISO 37101 is designed to help municipalities and organizations define their sustainable development objectives and implement a strategy to achieve them.

Defining objectives

DS/ISO 37101 sets out principles for what a municipality or an organization wants to achieve with a strategy for sustainable development, such as responsible resource consumption, environmental protection and improvement of citizens’ welfare. In addition, DS/ISO 37101 sets up requirements for municipalities and organizations to take into account sustainability issues such as governance, empowerment, education, health and mobility, which help define their sustainable development objectives.

Strategy development

DS/ISO 37101 is a management system. It describes the steps that a municipality or an organization must take to achieve its sustainable development objectives, such as establishing an action plan, defining accountability and measuring performance. Like other management systems, DS/ISO 37101 is based on a continual improvement principle, which means that the users of the standard must periodically review their objectives and strategy to ensure that the municipality or organization is continually moving forward.

Six benefits of working with ISO/IEC 37101

Using the sustainable development management standard for communities gives several advantages. DS/ISO 37101 provides a framework tool for working in a structured way with the sustainable development of a municipality or an organization. The tool can be adapted to individual wishes and needs:

  1. Improve sustainability, digitisation and resilience in the municipality's or organization's strategies, programmes, projects, plans and services
  2. Support the development of cross-sector solutions to achieve various sustainability objectives
  3. Promote synergies between actors and ensure a holistic approach
  4. Improve efficiency and support a more attractive society for citizens
  5. Minimise financial, environmental and reputational risks
  6. Boost citizens’ confidence

Moreover, the municipality or organization contributes positively to a sustainable development through the implementation of DS/ISO 37101 by ensuring a shared vision and shared concrete goals and policies. This management standard is also designed to support actions already implemented in your organization.