Climate Change Update: Understanding the New Additions to the ISO Management System Standards

Published on: June 28, 2024

Climate change has evolved into a critical and urgent issue that impacts every sector of society. Discussions surrounding greenhouse gases, carbon footprints, global warming, and their consequences have persisted for decades, engaging participation from governments to small businesses. Addressing these challenges, as nature itself has proven, has become a pressing matter, calling for more effective actions across various industries.

Acknowledging and addressing the pressing nature of the climate crisis, ISO (International Organization for Standardization) has implemented an amendment to several Management System Standards, such as ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, ISO 45001:2018, and ISO/IEC 27001:2022. Published in February 2024, this update requires organisations to incorporate consideration of climate change, including its effects and risks, into their management systems.

Climate change update to ISO management system standards

Every Standards update released by ISO tends to raise a number of questions, including how it can affect the role of the internal auditor. So we prepared this blog to address the key areas you need to understand. We will explore:

Deciphering ISO’s latest climate change amendment

The climate change amendment extends to several ISO Management System Standards to which businesses can get certified. These include the core Standards: ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, ISO 45001:2018, and ISO/IEC 27001:2022.

With this update, ISO aims to ensure that every organisation factors in climate change and environmental considerations when making decisions. The influence of climate change on those decisions will vary based on factors such as the organisation’s industry, geographical location, and operational processes.

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The IAF/ISO Joint Communiqué on the addition of Climate Change considerations to Management Systems Standards provides information on the intent of the changes and a list of all ISO Standards affected by this update.

What does the new climate change amendment entail?

The amendment is integrated into the existing clauses. See the example below extracted from the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems Standard:

4.1 Understanding the organisation 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 result(s) of its quality management system.

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

4.2 Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties

The organization shall determine:

  • the interested parties that are relevant to the quality management system.the relevant requirements of these interested parties.
  • the relevant requirements of these interested parties.
  • which of these requirements will be addressed through the quality management system.
  • Added: NOTE: Relevant interested parties can have requirements related to climate change.

The new requirement and note are integrated into clauses related to understanding the business, its context, and the needs of interested parties. This aims to ensure that climate change is really embedded in decisions and considerations (e.g. environmental objectives and targets), and management system development and implementation

In essence, this update seeks to raise awareness about climate change and prompt businesses to take proactive measures.

How does the climate change amendment impact businesses?

The effect of this amendment on businesses depends on the relevance of climate change to their specific business context. If deemed applicable, the management system must integrate climate change considerations into its development and implementation.

Businesses already certified to ISO Standards need to integrate climate change analysis into their current contextual assessments and processes.

Here are some examples of the implications of climate change considerations across the main ISO Management System standards:

What is the role of an internal auditor when addressing ISO’s new climate change amendment?

Internal auditors will play a crucial role in evaluating how organisations can integrate climate change considerations into their management systems. From determining relevant issues to addressing contractual and regulatory requirements related to climate change, they will assess organisational conformance to the new requirement, ensuring businesses can effectively achieve and maintain their ISO Certification.

Businesses already certified to the impacted ISO standards now need to consider climate change as part of the business continual improvement efforts.

climate change update to iso management

While some existing ISO clauses already cover considerations for climate change impacts, the introduction of these amendments reflects ISO’s recognition of climate change as a crucial issue requiring the attention of all organisations across all industries, significantly contributing to a sustainable future. As an internal auditor, keeping up-to-date with industry developments and comprehending these revisions will enable you to adopt a more holistic approach.

Our Management System Internal Auditor Training offers a practical eLearning experience designed to develop the skills necessary for conducting effective internal audits against the requirements of the main ISO Management System Standards. Through this course, you’ll cultivate critical thinking skills to adapt to new ISO requirements seamlessly. By completing our training program, you can obtain three levels of internationally recognised certificates, equipping you with the expertise and tools required to execute successful internal audits.

Check out our Management System Internal Auditor training page to download the course guide, or give us a call at 1300 614 007 to find out more about the training.

Managing Director at ICExperts Academy and ISO Certification Experts

Erica is the Managing Director of ISO Certification Experts and ICExperts Academy. She has been helping businesses with their ISO Certification needs for over 20 years. Erica is also a Certified trainer, implementer and auditor for ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001 and ISO 27001 standards. Erica primarily heads up the day-to-day operations of the businesses, and is also a current member of the Australian Organisation for Quality and Brand Integrity Committee.

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