Incorporating Climate Change Into Your ISO Management System

climate change from drought to regrowth, a tree growing between green grass and scorched earth

ISO published an amendment on 23rd February 2024 to many of its existing and new management systems. Companies are now required to think explicitly about how climate change affects them when they analyse their business context. They also need to consider the climate change needs of their interested parties.

The change follows the ISO London Declaration where ISO committed to combat climate change and contribute to the climate agenda.

Many organisations consider climate change and the impact their business has on this topic, and this is particularly true for ISO 14001 (Environmental Management Systems). However businesses may not have considered climate change in other management systems such as ISO 9001 (Quality Management Systems) and ISO 45001 (Occupation Health and Safety Management Systems).

For some standards, climate change risks may not be what first comes to mind. It’s not ISO’s intention to force a connection, but rather to ensure that every organisation includes climate change as part of the contextual analysis and, if deemed relevant, considers it in their management system.

time for change written in the sand as the waves come in

What has changed?

The change made sees two new statements being added to all Type A ISO management system standards:

  • Clause 4.1 – Understanding the organization and its context where the following sentence is added: “The organization shall determine whether climate change is a relevant issue”.
  • Clause 4.2 – Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties where the following sentence is added: “NOTE: Relevant interested parties can have requirements related to climate change”.

As this has been included in the harmonised structure, many standards are impacted and the full list of those affected has been published in a joint Communiqué from IAF and ISO.

The new requirement means that businesses must determine whether climate change is a pertinent issue for themselves, and whether relevant interested parties have requirements related to climate change.  If it is found to be an important issue, climate change should be considered in the development and implementation of the management system.

If your business has a management system in place, you will already be conducting the contextual analysis.  The only difference is that climate change must now be a specific topic that is considered in your analysis and, if found to be relevant, be part of your management system.

Global warming, greenhouse gasses and climate change have been on the agenda for more than 30 years.  Many businesses have already determined how climate change affects their business and are measuring their carbon footprint and taking steps to reduce this, which is evidence of the business determining climate change as a relevant issue. 

And for those who have not, this could be an opportunity to assess climate risks and use the management system to help tackle this global challenge.

Does Your Management System Need an Update?

Brookfields will be working with our current clients with this update over the coming months.  If you need assistance with this new requirement, or if your management system needs a health check, be in touch and the Brookfields team will be able to help.

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