Quality infrastructure as an ally of the circular economy

It’s time for a new economy

Our current economic model has already exceeded the Earth’s ecological limits and is endangering the stability of the ecosystem and the livelihoods of humankind.

Changes of 7 planetary boundaries since 1950. The green shaded polygon represents the safe operating space. Source: Steffen et al. 2015
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Quality infrastructure, trade and environmental agreements

The potentially tumultuous relationship between Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) and World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements has been an issue of special interest within the international trade and environmental debate for decades. Discussions often revolve around incompatibilities between MEAs and WTO Agreements since some MEAs contain trade measures, which may be inconsistent with obligations under WTO Agreements. Quality infrastructure (QI) could be the key to fulfilling obligations under both sets of agreements simultaneously and without conflict.

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Data on international standards

QI Data Series

What are the differences between countries using international standards?

For decades, the United States, Western Europe and Japan have led international standard development. Representatives of these countries chaired most international standards committees and led standard making through agenda-setting and the know-how of national companies and scientific institutions. Representatives from other countries also participated in standards committees but chaired only a few technical committees. Standards takers are those countries that adopt standards but do not participate in developing those standards.

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Calidena – Closing quality gaps jointly

A simple way to explain the importance of quality infrastructure is to refer to a specific product. For example, if we take any food product, such as a frozen pizza, we can clearly explain the requirements of food safety standards or the verification of the cold chain.

Quality infrastructure services can be applied to all products and many services. Since no single company usually manufactures a product in isolation, the entire value chain needs to be considered. Quality and safety checks are particularly in demand at the interfaces between different companies or value chains stages.

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Quality infrastructure for the service sector

Quality infrastructure has its origins in the industrial revolution of the 19th century, first in England, then throughout Western Europe and the USA, and later spread to Japan and other parts of Europe and Asia during the transition from agrarian to industrial societies. For a long time, QI was mainly a matter of checking whether physical products met defined technical specifications. Testing served both the safety of products and their usability in value-added processes based on the division of labour. Thus, the measurement of physical units was at the centre of the entire quality system.

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