New ISO Standard to Design Sustainable Agricultural Machines

The integration of sustainable principles into the traditional machine manufacturing practice will give small and medium-sized companies new tools to manage and design these machines in a more sustainable way

  • January 7, 2016
  • New ISO Standard to Design Sustainable Agricultural Machines
    New ISO Standard to Design Sustainable Agricultural Machines

Agricultural machines designers will find the new published ISO standard on sustainability principles for tractors and machinery for agriculture and forestry of help to integrate sustainability principles, practices and considerations into their organizations and processes. Small and medium-sized companies prove to be the bulk of businesses making up the sector and need tools to manage and design these machines in a more sustainable way

The ISO 17989 as a Guidance for Sustainable Solutions

ISO 17989-1:2015, Tractors and machinery for agriculture and forestry - Sustainability - Part 1: Principles, gives manufacturers the guidance they are looking for to consider the sustainability aspects that are relevant to their organization and the life cycle of its products. The standard is specifically applicable to equipment used in the production of food, fibres, fuel and lumber for humans and livestock.

A product's design, and its use over its lifetime, can have a significant impact on the quality and sustainability of the environment in which it operates. Taking steps to reduce the impacts of a product at the design and development stage is an important factor in sustaining the environment. In this sense, designing for sustainability can be seen as a process (i.e. a set of considerations that are integrated into a product's design and development) to help reduce the negative impacts of the product and improve its performance.

Sustainability as a Management Task

This part of ISO 17989 is the first of a series of standards specifying principles for sustainability and recommends looking at "sustainability" as a management task to be entrusted to the manufacturer. Other parts are planned to address specific families of products and specify approaches related to sustainability in the design and use of products/machines. Such standards could provide machinery purchasers with the means to fairly compare the impacts of competing products.

Seven Steps to Sustainability

The principle of sustainability needs to be put in concrete terms in order to reflect the specific conditions of the agricultural machinery industry and to be made operable. The standard provides guidelines for its application and recommends seven steps including:

  • Determining stakeholders groups and ascertaining their claims
  • Aligning the company's policy
  • Determining performance characteristics, indicators and measures reflecting these interests
  • Optimizing the performance characteristics through a continuous improvement process
  • Reporting to stakeholders on the progress achieved
  • Assessing and adapting targets and measures

This series of standards is developed by technical committee ISO/TC 23, Tractors and machinery for agriculture and forestry, under the stewardship of AFNOR, the ISO member for France. 

ISO 17989-1:2015 is available from your national ISO member or from the ISO Store.