ISO Adds Climate Action Amendments to Management System Standards

Climate action amendments are added to ISO management standards

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Accreditation Forum (IAF) announced in February, the addition of Climate Action Amendments to a number of existing, and to all new ISO Management Standards. This change was done in support of the ISO London Declaration and reflects the organization’s climate action commitments.  This resulted in two new statements of text being added to the standards and published on February 23, 2024. As stated by the IAF/ISO notice, “The intent is to ensure that climate change issues are considered by the organization in the context of the effectiveness of the management system, in addition to all other issues.”

What has changed?

ISO 9001:2015 (quality), ISO 14001:2015 (environmental), and ISO 45001:2018 (health and safety) are among those standards that were amended in the area referred to as the “Harmonized Structure”.  Note that this amendment will also flow down to other management standards like AS9100 (aerospace) and IATF 16949® (automotive), which incorporate ISO 9001.

Under Clause 4.1 – Understanding the organization and its context – The organization shall determine external and internal issues that are relevant to its purpose and that affect its ability to achieve the intended XXX (includes QMS, EMS, SMS, etc.) management system.

Added:  The organization shall determine whether climate change is a relevant issue.

Under Clause 4.2 – Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties. The organization shall determine:

  • The interested parties that are relevant to the XXX (includes QMS, EMS, SMS, etc.) management system.
  • The relevant requirements of these interested parties.
  • Which of these requirements will be addressed through the XXX (includes QMS, EMS, SMS, etc.) management system.

Added:  Note: Relevant interested parties can have requirements related to climate change.

What this means for companies that have certifications to one or more of these management system standards

Some certified companies may have already considered how to adapt to climate change in order to continue to meet their objectives. Companies may also decide (or be required by relevant interested parties) to take action to mitigate climate change as part of their operations.  Both of these elements are now included in the Harmonized Structure. By incorporating climate change into the management system, ISO’s goal is to empower organizations to proactively address climate-related risks and opportunities, enhance resilience, and contribute to global sustainability efforts. 

In terms of your own management system standard, think about how climate change may affect your business and determine whether it is a relevant issue that needs to be addressed. Depending on the type of standard and industry, climate change could impact different areas within an organization, for example – supply chains, employee health and safety, availability of energy or resources, business continuity, and meeting customer requirements and expectations. You may want to assess industry trends, requirements and regulations related to climate change. Many industries are increasingly affected by climate change regulations, consumer preferences for sustainable products, and shifts in supply chains due to environmental factors.

Another area to consider is whether climate change is a relevant issue for your customers or other business stakeholders, which involves understanding their values, concerns, and how climate change may impact their interests. The success and sustainability of your business are the result of a robust management system, and that includes not just anticipating change (and assessing the risk and opportunities), but also setting objectives and targets related to climate change adaptation and mitigation, and integrating climate-related requirements into your policies, procedures, and processes. 

ISO 9001 Fifth edition 2015-09-15, Amendment 1 2024-02 (Climate action changes) is currently available as a free download from ISO.

For more information including list of standards impacted, read the Joint ISO/IAF Communique, and your Certification Body can provide further guidance.  You may also want to read our blog which covers what needs to be considered when auditing or being audited to the Climate Change Amendments.

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