ISO Standards

Update to ISO - The International Organisation for Standardisation

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has significantly integrated climate change considerations into its standards, marking a pivotal movement towards sustainability and environmental accountability in various industries. This development is aligned with the ISO London Declaration on Climate Change, emphasising the assurance industry's growing commitment to global sustainability. These changes will be implemented through amendments to existing standards, underscoring the importance of addressing climate change in the design and implementation of management systems​​.

Moreover, ISO has updated several ISO standards, including the most famous ISO 9001:2015, to include mandatory language on climate change, challenging organisations to consider climate change aspects and risks within their management systems. This update, enforced by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), requires companies to prove they have considered climate change in their management systems' development, maintenance, and effectiveness. This decision underscores the critical nature of climate change, urging organisations to integrate these considerations immediately into their management practices​​.

For organisations using the ISOvA Toolbox to align with ISO standards, incorporating these updates involves several straightforward modifications:

1.Aims – Reduce the impact of climate change:

  • Example: Implement energy-efficient processes and renewable energy sources in operations to minimise carbon footprint. For instance, a manufacturing company could switch to solar power for its production facility to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Example: Increase the revenue related to low-carbon products and services, for instance, by initiating an R&D project to improve the products' energy efficiency or creating a service line provided remotely.

2. Interested Parties – Needs and Expectations relating to climate change:

  • Example: Engage with stakeholders to understand their environmental concerns, such as reducing packaging waste. A retail business might initiate a program for customers to return packaging for recycling, addressing consumer expectations for sustainable practices.
  • Example: Understand if your clients need to have a carbon footprint for the products and services you provide so that they can calculate their Scope 3 Carbon Footprint.

3. SWOT – Threats relating to climate change:

  • Example: Identify potential risks from climate change, such as increased frequency of extreme weather events disrupting supply chains. A business could assess the vulnerability of its logistics network to hurricanes and floods and develop contingency plans accordingly.
  • Example: Identify the opportunity to increase the market share by providing a product with a lower carbon footprint (due to the product itself or to its transport mode and distance).

4. BIA – Climate change scenario, grouping environmental risks:

  • Example: Conduct a Business Impact Analysis (BIA) that includes scenarios like sea level rise impacting operational facilities. A coastal hotel chain might evaluate which properties are at risk from rising sea levels and explore measures like building sea walls or relocating services inland.

5. Roles – add responsibility for promoting sustainability:

  • Example: Assign a Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) to oversee the organisation's environmental performance and integrate sustainability into corporate strategy. The CSO could be responsible for implementing a company-wide program to reduce water usage and waste.
  • Example: Consider training all C-level managers on climate change risks and opportunities for the business and how to tackle these.

6. Manual – Add to scope applicability:

  • Example: Update the organisation's quality manual to explicitly include environmental management and sustainability goals. This could involve setting specific targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing energy efficiency, and promoting recycling within the organisation's operations.
  • Update the Context Analysis by explicitly analysing the relevance of climate change as a factor to consider in the company context and provide an appropriate justification. Your certification body will audit this.
  • Consider adding to Leadership responsibilities the ongoing awareness of climate change's positive and negative effects on the company and providing resources to tackle the resulting risks.

These edits ensure that organisations comply with the latest ISO standards and contribute significantly to combating climate change. By integrating these considerations into the core of their management systems, organisations can enhance their sustainability efforts and demonstrate their commitment to environmental stewardship.

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