New ISO requirement to support climate agenda

ISO (The International Standards Organisation) has amended its certifiable management system standards demanding that companies always consider relevance of climate change risks in their contextual analysis.

ISO has published an amendment to existing and new management system standards to which companies can be certified. It requires companies to always consider relevance of climate change risks in their analysis of the organizations context and needs of interested parties. The change follows the ISO London Declaration where ISO commits to combat climate change and contribute to the climate agenda.

“Climate change is one of the biggest environmental challenges we face and demands an urgent and collective effort. We in DNV see this as an opportunity to emphasize climate change on the corporate agendas and leverage on existing tools like a management system to make positive contributions,” says Barbara Frencia, CEO of Business Assurance in DNV.

For some standards, climate change risks may not be what first comes to mind and ISO’s intention is not to force a connection. Rather, the new requirements inserted in Chapter 4 of the ISO standards intend to ensure that every organization includes climate change in the contextual analysis of the organization. If deemed relevant, climate change must be considered into the design and implementation of the management system itself.

Understanding the context of the organization and the needs and expectations of relevant stakeholders is something certified companies already do. As such, this is not a major change or new action. However, from now on, companies must always consider the relevance of climate change risks as part of this analysis.

Greenhouse gases, global warming and climate change have been on the agenda for more than 30 years, involving governments, authorities, businesses, NGOs and society at large.

"Many of our customers are already making huge contributions to combat climate change. For those just starting out, we see this as an opportunity to start evaluate their own climate change risks and take a structure approach to contribute,” says Barbara Frencia.