When shopping, consumers are, first of all, concerned that food is hygienically safe and free of harmful substances. These intrinsic properties can be checked directly with the product, e.g. by laboratory testing. Despite occasionally occurring non-conformities and food scandals, in general, food management systems, product standards and controls ensure the necessary food safety and product quality.
In a previous blog post, we asked whether a new definition of quality is needed. Our answer was affirmative, emphasizing that nowadays quality must always be measured by how it relates to environmental, social and economic sustainability.
In this post, we follow this logic to examine the relationship between Quality Infrastructure (QI) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in more detail. In 2015 the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which provides a framework for peace and prosperity for the planet and its people. 17 SDGs form the core of the 2030 Agenda. The SDGs demand concerted action in a global partnership to end poverty and other sufferings, improve human health and education, reduce inequality, foster economic growth, combat climate change and preserve oceans and forests.
A comment of Merih Malmqvist Nilsson at a UNIDO Webinar inspired us to write this blog post. Mrs Malmquist is the former head of the Swedish accreditation body SWEDAC, chairs the International Network of Quality Infrastructure (INetQI) and works as a consultant. She believes that the definition of quality in terms of functionality and safety is no longer sufficient and that we need to add sustainability as another dimension. Similar to the triple bottom line (Profit, People and Planet) for enterprises, we need to measure quality also by the ecological and social impact.