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Sustainability And International Standards

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Sustainability and Engineering Courses

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1126.1 - 13.1126.12



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Paper Authors

author page

David Reisdorph the GreenTeam Inc.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Sustainability and International Standards


This paper describes the need for courses that link standards and sustainability and reviews an Oklahoma State University Environmental Science graduate course in Sustainability and International Standards. The course conveys the importance of voluntary international standards, such as from ASTM International or the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), to sustainability. The curriculum uses an innovative experiential learning approach whereby students research and develop a standard using the ASTM International process. One driven student joined ASTM International and worked to see her class project catalyze the publication of ASTM E 2348 Guide for Framework for a Consensus-Based Environmental Decision-Making Process.


In 2004, the Oklahoma State University Environmental Institute established a graduate-level course covering sustainability and international standards that addressed a need to improve standards education. The following reviews standards, relates sustainability to standards, assesses standards education in engineering and the role of engineers in the standards setting process, and discusses the Sustainability and International Standards course curriculum design. This paper concludes that standards and sustainability education for engineers, and more broadly most disciplines, should be strengthened. The Oklahoma State University Sustainability and International Standards course serves as a model for that purpose.

Standards Overview

Standards are described and their importance conveyed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in the following:

“When the formal U.S. standards system was established nearly a century ago, standards were primarily developed to support manufacturing and mechanical processes. In the present day, standards offer benefits to all segments of business and industry, government and consumers. They simplify product development, reduce unnecessary duplication, lower costs, increase productivity, promote safety, and permit interchangeability, compatibility, and interoperability. They help to advance scientific discovery, and keep people safe by minimizing injuries and protecting key environmental resources.

A standard is "a recognized unit of comparison by which the correctness of others can be determined." Another definition is "a set of characteristics or qualities that describes features of a product, process, or service."

The term standardization actually encompasses a broad range of activities and ideas – from the actual development of a standard to its promulgation, acceptance

Reisdorph, D. (2008, June), Sustainability And International Standards Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3262

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