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April 16, 2024

Bridging the Gap: Standardization for Safety and Innovation – the 73rd Annual SES Conference

SES Logo

On April 9–11, 2024 UL Standards & Engagement proudly sponsored the 73rd Annual Conference of SES, the Society for Standards Professionals, held at the Westin Pittsburgh. The theme of the event was “Bridging the Gap: Standardization for Safety and Innovation,” with standards and conformity assessment professionals from ULSE and organizations across the globe gathering to network, celebrate industry achievements, and explore the critical role that standardization plays in supporting and driving innovation.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals

On April 9, ULSE Senior Publication & Distribution Manager and SES Director-at-Large Mike Palm co-facilitated the workshop, “Positively Impact Your Business and the World Through Incorporating Sustainable Development Goals,” along with experts from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the DHS National Urban Security Technology Laboratory. Speakers included ULSE Senior Project Managers Leslie Malaki and Shaz Mohd, as well as SES President Kerrianne Haresign.

Leslie Malaki
UL Standards & Engagement Senior Project Manager Leslie Malaki

During the workshop, participants discussed the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the major role standards play in meeting them, the potential to measure impact by mapping standards to the UN SDG indicators and targets, and the ways industries and organizations are applying them to make a positive impact on their business, their bottom line, and the world. 

In 2022, UL Standards & Engagement announced that it would align its standards catalog and standards development process with these critical goals. Additionally, ULSE published “The UN Sustainable Development Goals and UL Standards & Engagement: A Report,” which presents findings from quantitative and qualitative data analysis that determined requirements in more than half of the 1,600+ standards in the ULSE catalog either partially or fully align with specific measures needed to support the achievement of at least one SDG. Further, the analysis shows that for each of the 17 SDGs, there is at least one UL standard that can be used to support efforts to achieve the SDG’s identified targets.

“The latest development in our commitment to the U.N. SDGs is the ULSE Sustainability Program,” Malaki said. “Through this initiative, we’re working to ensure environmental stewardship and advance the circular economy for new and evolving technologies like mobile phones and 3D printers – making sure they are not only safe, but also sustainable and responsibly developed."

"Consumers want this from companies, companies want to provide it through their products and processes, and standards can help make it happen," she continued.

Amplifying Stakeholder Voices

ULSE Senior Stakeholder Engagement Manager Margi DeFord

On April 11, ULSE Senior Stakeholder Engagement Manager Margi DeFord presented on the UL Standards & Engagement Voice of the Stakeholder program and shared how standards development organizations can implement a similar model to enrich their processes with stakeholder input.

In her presentation, DeFord shared insights from UL Standards & Engagement’s rollout of the program, highlighting important strategies in its implementation, positive outcomes, and key takeaways. 

“Through this program, UL Standards & Engagement has developed stronger connections with stakeholders, established effective communication channels, and gained a deeper understanding of stakeholder needs, to help us chart our way forward as we improve our processes and reinforce the culture of our stakeholder-centric organization,” DeFord said.

Additionally, DeFord shared the ongoing plans to monitor stakeholder engagement, improve processes, and adapt as needed.

“Our relationship with stakeholders is one of ongoing collaboration. They’re expert problem solvers. We look to them to help us make the world safer through standardization, and we should also look to them to help us make that process easier,” DeFord said. “Giving them a way to provide us with input on our processes truly has helped us to bridge the gap between ideas and action.”

About SES

SES, the Society for Standards Professionals, is a not-for-profit professional membership society dedicated to furthering the knowledge and use of standards and standardization, and UL Standards & Engagement staff members participate at SES in a variety of capacities. To learn more, visit ses-standards.org.