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ISO updates increase focus on climate change

29 February 2024

THE INTERNATIONAL Organization for Standardization (ISO) has announced that it will include new text relating to climate change in many of its management system standards – including ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 45001 (occupational health & safety) and ISO 14001 (environmental management).

This development is aligned with the ISO London Declaration on Climate Change, which was approved in 2021 and defines how ISO is committed to achieve the climate agenda by 2050. It signifies the growing commitment from the assurance industry to global sustainability, which is set to bring positive change for organisations and the planet.

What does it mean for certified organisations?

If your organisation already has a certified management system, you will be required to consider climate change aspects in relation to the context of the organisation, integrating them into the evaluation of risks and opportunities and also consider the impact of climate change on the effectiveness of the management system. The intention is not to shift the focus disproportionately, but rather to ensure climate change is considered at an appropriate level for the management system.

Where can you learn more about the changes?

Leading global assurance partner, LRQA, has developed a guide to help you understand more about the background to the decision, which standards are affected, how the core text is being amended, timelines and the implications for organisations that use these standards. Download your copy of the guide here.

LRQA also spoke to Martin Cottam, chair of the ISO Technical Committee for Occupational Health & Safety – the owner of the ISO 45000 series of standards, about the changes in a recent podcast, which you can listen to here. During the podcast, Martin explains more about the changes and talks about the task group that his committee set up in 2023 in conjunction with the Technical Committee for environmental management (TC 207). This group will develop a guidance document, ISO PAS 45007, which will focus on the impacts of climate change for workplace health and safety and is expected to be published in late 2024 or early 2025.

A positive development for all

By taking a proactive approach, ISO’s decision will encourage more organisations to think about the challenges of climate change, helping them to create a more resilient and sustainable future. Ian Spaulding, CEO for LRQA said, “LRQA welcomes the decision by ISO to make environmental factors a stronger focus of current management systems, and we look forward to supporting businesses with this change. By integrating climate change considerations, organisations will be better equipped to navigate the risk landscape, which is rapidly evolving, and most crucially, together we’ll be contributing to combating climate change through strategic and collective action.”

For more information, visit lrqa.com/uk