ISO adds climate change considerations to a range of existing standards

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ISO 14064 greenhouse gas concept with businessman pointing on carbon dioxide emission reduce for carbon footprint management
When ISO passed the resolution to incorporate the climate change statements, it also noted that the text will be added to all new standards under development or revision. Photo Credit: AREE, stock.adobe.com

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has introduced two statements into some existing Management Systems Standards to ensure that climate change issues are considered by organizations as a factor in the effectiveness of the management system. 

Amendments to 31 standards ranging from indoor air quality management to water efficiency management were added on February 23. They act as a follow-up to the international standards development organization’s commitment to the ISO London Declaration on Climate Change made in 2021. 

When ISO passed the resolution to incorporate the climate change statements, it also noted that the text will be added to all new standards under development or revision.  

“These new inclusions are assuring that climate change is considered within the management system and that it is an external factor that is important enough for our community to require organizations to consider it now,” the organization announced in a joint February statement with the International Accreditation Forum. 

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The two new statements will be incorporated into the new text of the Harmonized Structure (Appendix 2 of the Annex SL in the ISO/IEC Directives Part 1 Consolidated ISO Supplement). For clause 4.1, which looks at understanding the organization and its context, ISO has added that “the organization shall determine whether climate change is a relevant issue.” 

In clause 4.2, which looks at understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties, ISO has added that “relevant interested parties can have requirements related to climate change.” 

ISO stated that climate change can impact various components of management systems differently. Its effects on a quality management system, for instance, may differ significantly from those on a health and safety management system. The organization further noted that the aim of any changes implemented isn’t to disproportionately focus on climate change.  

“While the addition of climate considerations is highly important, the standards have always included the need for all issues affecting the management systems to be considered by the organization,” the joint statement continued.  

Under the London Declaration, ISO said it is committed to fostering the active consideration of climate science and associated transitions in the development of all new and revised International Standards and publications. The organization also committed to facilitate the involvement of civil society and those most vulnerable to climate change in the development of standards. Lastly, it committed to develop and publish an action plan and measurement framework detailing “concrete actions and initiatives” and a reporting mechanism to track progress. 

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