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ISO introduces climate change requirements to type A management systems standards

The CQI welcomes the introduction of climate change to all type A management systems standards. 

Since its foundation in 1947, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has played an important role in fostering global cooperation, promoting innovation, and easing interoperability across borders. 

ISO has published over 25,000 international standards covering virtually every sector and discipline. Standards may set out requirements, guidelines, principles, terms and definitions, procedures and processes, performance metrics and indicators, documentation requirements, and auditing and certification provisions. All are intended to provide organisations with resources to achieve their objectives. 

ISO continually updates its standards and develops new ones to address evolving needs and challenges of industries and society. Climate change is arguably the most important threat we face, and ISO's recent resolution, TMB 75/2023, marks a significant shift in Management System Standards (MSS) to address climate change. This resolution, passed during ISO's Annual Meeting in Brisbane, Australia, mandates changes to MSS to integrate climate change considerations into organisational management systems. These changes are aimed at aligning ISO's standards with global efforts to combat climate change, as outlined in the London Declaration on Climate Change. 

The new text required in MSS, as outlined in Appendix 2 of Annex SL of the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1, emphasises the importance of climate change adaptation and mitigation within organisational contexts. Specifically, it includes additional wording to two key clauses: 

  • Clause 4.1 - Understanding the organisation and its context: The organisation is now required to determine whether climate change is a relevant issue that affects its ability to achieve its intended results. This involves identifying external and internal issues related to climate change that may impact the organisation's purpose and objectives. 
  • Clause 4.2 - Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties: The organisation must now consider climate change-related requirements of relevant interested parties. This includes determining which requirements related to climate change will be addressed through the organisation's management system. 

These changes reflect ISO's commitment to integrating climate change considerations into organisational governance and management practices. By incorporating climate change into MSS, ISO aims to empower organisations to proactively address climate-related risks and opportunities, enhance resilience, and contribute to global sustainability efforts. 

For organisations utilising MSS, these changes signify the need to incorporate climate change considerations into their management systems. This involves assessing the potential impacts of climate change on their operations, setting objectives and targets related to climate change adaptation and mitigation, and integrating climate-related requirements into their policies, procedures, and processes. 

Overall, the inclusion of climate change considerations in MSS highlights the interconnectedness of environmental sustainability, organisational resilience, and global climate action. It underscores the role of organisations in addressing climate change challenges and underscores ISO's commitment to driving meaningful change through its standards. 

Find out more about the Joint Technical Coordination Group on Management Systems Standards

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