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Over 4,000 Spanish UNE Standards help companies achieve the SDGs


  • Last year, the Spanish Association for Standardization, UNE, approved its 2019-2021 Strategic Plan, which aims to help businesses and Public Administrations promote the standards they need to meet their major challenges.
  • Spain has now adopted a total of 33,345 UNE standards, consolidating itself among the most complete catalogues in the world. These provide effective solutions for organisations in areas such as good governance, digitisation, sustainability, exports, innovation and public policies.

17 July 2020. More than 4,000 UNE standards in the Spanish catalogue help companies achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from the United Nations 2030 Agenda. The announcement was made by the Spanish Association for Standardization, UNE, on the occasion of the publication of its 2019 Annual Activities Report, which sets out the main milestones of the financial year.

Among these, UNE approved its 2019-2021 Strategic Plan, which aims to help businesses and Public Administrations promote the standards they need to meet their major challenges and incorporates 1,860 new standards, bringing the Spanish catalogue to 33,345 standards, making it one of the most complete in the world.

The technical standard documents reflect market consensus on good practice for dealing with key issues for the competitiveness of organisations and offer several economic advantages: for companies, they can account for up to 5% of their annual sales revenue, while for the Spanish economy as a whole, the standards already account for 1% of GDP.

Roadmap on the SDGs

An illustrative example of the ability of standards to respond effectively to the challenges of organisations is their contribution to the achievement of the 17 UN SDGs. The UNE identified over 4,000 standards from the Spanish catalogue of 33,345 standards, which help companies to achieve them.

Standards are a first level guide on the SDGs, as they contain the consensus, best practices and collaboration required to meet this global challenge, establishing a common language and driving alliances.

For example, the new Standard UNE 149002, published in 2019, establishes requirements to identify whether products are biodegradable and degradable and, as a result, whether they can be disposed of in the toilet. This helps to achieve SDG 6 on ensuring access to clean water and sanitation and SDG 13 on climate action, among other advantages.

Strategic Plan

Last year, the UNE approved its 2019-2021 Strategic Plan, which aims to help businesses and Public Administrations promote the standards they need to tackle major challenges in areas like:

  • Good governance: the UNE 19602 standard establishes the requirements that companies must meet to develop an effective tax compliance management system in organizations. Its objective is to help organisations prevent and effectively manage tax risks through a culture of compliance.
  • Digitisation: Specification UNE 0061 Industry 4.0. Digitisation Management System The criteria for the assessment of requirements allow digital industry to be considered. It has been strongly promoted by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism.
  • Sustainability: in 2019, UNE created the Technical Standardization Committee 323 on the Circular Economy with the objective of channelling Spanish influence in the drafting of European and international standards.

  • Exports: 85% of the catalogue of Spanish standards have a European or international origin, facilitating internationalization and exports by Spanish companies. UNE has 14 agreements in force with standardisation organisations in Latin American countries to promote Spanish exports. In addition, it has numerous international cooperation and technical assistance projects that aim to harmonise requirements with destination countries for Spanish exports.
  • Innovation: UNE is intensively developing its activity, encouraging innovative products and services to reach the market through standardisation. In fact, UNE is the European standardization body with the most R&D&i projects in Horizon 2020, having participated last year in 48 project proposals, 10 of which were selected for realization.
  • Public policy deployment: standards help public administrations comply with statutory obligations and implement public policies.  Indeed, Spanish legislation incorporates more than 9,000 references to UNE standards.

Leading world standards

Spain is an international leader in standardisation, at the forefront of the world in standards of accessibility, tourism, sustainability in construction, compliance, intelligent cities and innovation, among other fields. Spanish experts also head up 127 international and European technical standardisation bodies.

UNE is made up of over 500 members representing practically the entire Spanish production fabric, making it a model case of public-private collaboration. To foster this collaboration, the Advisory Commissions on Construction, Electrotechnical and Circular Economy were created in 2019. UNE is backed by AENOR and CEIS.

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