ISO/PC 343 to develop ISO MSS for UN SDGs in close collaboration with UNDP

Information on new ISO MSS for UN SDGs and timeline for development process.

ISO PAS documents to cover increasing market needs for ISO SDG MSS standards

At the 1st plenary meeting of ISO/PC 343 the committee resolved to work closely with UNDP to develop a new ISO MSS 53001 Sustainable Development Goals management systems.

For the next 6-12 months PC 343 will work on developing two ISO PAS (Publicly Available Specification) documents based on the UNDP Impact Standards for SDGs.

  • ISO 53001- 1: Sustainable Development Goals management systems – Requirements to contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development goals (Type A MSS
  • ISO 53001-2: Sustainable Development Goals management systems – Guidelines for implementation of ISO 53001-1 (Type B MSS)

The ISO PAS documents will serve as a steppingstone for the development of full ISO international standards. The publication of the ISO PAS documents is expected around August 2024, and revision to convert them to full ISO international standards will start immediately afterwards.

The PAS track has been chosen due to the need for:

  • The increased need for all countries, organizations and consumers to work with the SDGs
  • Fast Market access and meeting of market demands for a management system.
  • To provide input for the development of the IS documents based on market feedback on the ISO PAS.

The work of developing both the PAS 53001 documents and later ISO 53001 will be carried out in a working group under ISO/PC 343. If you wish to join the work please contact your NSB and ask them to register you.

Estimated timeline

As the ambition is to publish ISO PAS 53001- 2 Guideline for implementation of the SDGs before COP 28 (November 2023), the 1st draft to be developed and send out for comments will be for ISO 53001-2: Sustainable Development Goals management systems – Guidelines for implementation of ISO 53001-1 (Type B MSS)

This draft is expected to be circulated July-August 2023 and the comments will be discussed at an online meeting August 28th-September 1st.

In October 2023 the development of ISO 53001- 1: Sustainable Development Goals management systems – Requirements to contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development goals (Type A MSS) will start with several (online) meetings with an estimated publication of August 2024. The transformation of ISO PAS 53001 into full international standards will start immediately after August 2024.

ISO/PC 343 to develop ISO MSS for UN SDGs in close collaboration with UNDP
New MSS SDG proposal

SO and UNDP announce partnership to enhance sustainability action

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have signed a landmark Statement of Intent, signaling their commitment to the role of International Standards in addressing global development challenges.

They will collaborate on initiatives geared towards enhancing international standards that advance sustainability actions by both the public and private sectors, including the prospective development of the first international standard for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) based on UNDP’s SDG Impact Standards and relevant ISO standards.

New MSS SDG proposal

Stakeholder Workshop for developing countries

Join the workshop on ISO/UN SDG MSS and how to broaden the participation of developing countries in the development work of ISO guidance and requirements on how to manage the impact on the UN SDGs.

ISO and the UN will be hosting a workshop that focuses on getting more stakeholders from developing countries involved in the development of requirements and guidelines for the SDG MSS.

Developing countries face disproportionately large consequences from issues the SDGs aims to reduce. Therefore, the active involvement of these countries in drafting the requirements and guidelines to improve the organizational contribution to achieving the SDGs and not maintaining the status quo is particularly important.

New MSS SDG proposal

WHAT: A new Management System Standard for SDGs

In a world where confidence and trust are essential for organizations there is a need for ISO to develop a systematic approach to work and document the organizations efforts with the UN SDGs.

Therefore, ISO proposes to make a new management standard (MSS) for the UN SDGs. The MSS will help organizations improve their performance by specifying required steps to achieve SDG-goals, -policies, and -objectives. The purpose is to provide one framework for all types of organizations to work effectively with a relevant selection of the UN’s SDGs.

This enables an organization to improve its sustainable development performance, shape the organization for the future and create a solid, value- and business-based foundation for sustained success.

New MSS SDG proposal

WHY is it relevant to make an international standard for management of SDGs?

ISO has decided to create a new MSS for SDGs as the sustainability agenda will continue to be a relevant strategic business driver in the future.

To build confidence the market needs verifiable standards. The national schemes developed by Certification Bodies and private entities emphasizes the need for having a broadly accepted international standard suitable for accredited certification. The standard aims at creating a connection between organizational strategies and the SDGs resulting in business advantages as well as making the SDGs an integrated part of the daily work.

Even though certification may not be needed by many of the users yet, the standard provides a framework and tool for systematic effort with the SDGs. The requirements will be generic and flexible so that each individual organization defines its scope, objectives, and possible improvements. 

New MSS SDG proposal

You are invited to participate

ISO is a non-profit organization based on users all over the world participating in developing standards. 

ISO aims to unite all relevant existing work for SDGs in an international standard by inviting all stakeholders to join the developing process to achieve the best possible standard with a high level of consensus. It takes around 3 years to develop a standard using ISO’s four key principles 

  • Respond to market need 
  • Developed through a multi-stakeholder process 
  • Based on global expert opinion 
  • Based on a consensus 

You can participate either as a member through your national standardization body or as a liaison representing a non-profit organization  
For further information please contact your national standardization body or Danish Standard.

New MSS SDG proposal

More Information

You can find more about the background for the proposal in the justification study and find the scope, proposed content and a list of examples of relevant work the new SDG ISO standard will be developed from in the ISO Form4 under “Study and proposal”. 

Benefits of an MSS for SDGs

The adoption of a management system supports a strategic direction for an organization and can help to improve the overall performance and provide a sound basis for sustainable development initiatives. 

The potential benefits to an organization of implementing an MSS for SDGs are (but not limited to): 

  • Enhance the opportunity to become a preferred partner 
  • Increase credibility enhancing the chance for getting eg. better external financing 
  • Avoid SDG-washing 
  • Enhance confidence 
  • Enhance the organization’s performance 
  • Fulfil compliance obligation 
  • Achieve selected SDG objectives 
  • Increase success 
  • Create trust and confidence to relevant existing and future stakeholders. 
  • Attract the talents of tomorrow 
  • Ease CSR reporting 

1) Is ISO 26000 not sufficient? 
ISO 26000 is a comprehensive and widely used and acknowledged guideline. Even though some certification bodies verify according to ISO 26000 or have developed own schemes based on ISO 26000 there is still a need reflecting today's ecosystem and business requirements.  


2) The UN SDGs will be outdated by 2030. How will this upcoming standard stay relevant? 
We are convinced that the UN SDGs will be updated and maybe renamed and stay as relevant as ever.   


3) Why not just have a guideline? 
There is definately a need for having substantial guidance within this area, but in the light of a more demanding market where confidence and transparency are key, there is a need for having an auditable management system standard fulfilling this need.  


4) Should my organization work with all SDGs to comply to this standard? 
No. However it is required, that based on your stakeholder needs, you must point out which SDGs are of most relevance to the organization and establish appropriate targets and actions to meet those.  


5) Do we need another certifiable standard when we can just use eg. Bureau Veritas’ or DNV’s CSR-verification schemes? 
The private schemes and schemes developed by the certification bodies may provide a sound approach for working systematically with the SDGs resulting in a non-accredited certificate. Having a wide range of certification schemes may blur the overall picture and make it difficult to e.g. compare suppliers being certified under different schemes. A recognised ISO management system standard can be part of the solution to this challenge.  


6) Concern that another certifiable management system standard will add costs to the already overwhelming costs associated with audits, revisions, inspections etc. 
When an organization chooses to become certified there will be an associated cost. We do believe that when this standard is based on the existing framework of other ISO management system standards, the cost will be significantly lower compared to many alternatives.  


7) What is the difference between B-corp certification, UN SDG Impact standards and this proposal?  
The main difference is that this proposal is based on ISOs well-known structure for management system standard known from e.g. ISO 14001, ISO 45001 and ISO 9001 and thereby following the structure and foundation of the most deployed certifiable standards in the world.  


8) We already have a management system in place. Will this standard be based on ISOs structure for management standards? 
Yes, this to ease integration with management systems already based on ISOs Annex SL.  


9) Will ISO develop guidelines, whitepapers and clarification documents to support the users? 
We expect to develop a wide range of guidance and clarification documents, once this standard has been published and we get feedback from the users.  


10) Why is ISO chosen as the framework for this standard?    
ISO is known for its “ISO certificates” which are associated with trust, confidence and liability. 

Study and proposal

You can read more about the justification for the MSS proposal in the Justification Study 

You can see the proposal for the MSS SDG standard in Form 4 


Informative meetings on the proposal

The MSS SDG proposal will be presented at two Teams meetings with time for questions and clarification.

Meetings already held

New MSS SDG proposal

Would you like to share this proposal, please feel free to download this flyer

New MSS SDG proposal

Danish Standards contact information

Kasper Mühlbach
Chief Consultant
+45 31318261

Mette Sandager
Standardisation Consultant
+45 21200386