How Climate Change is Impacting Management System Standards

In February of this year, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Accreditation Federation (IAF) introduced 31 amendments to existing and new Management System Standards (MSS) that revolved around a prominent social issue that is not typically associated with MSS: Climate Change.

Summary of Changes

The amendments were announced in a joint communication by the two organizations and they support the ISO London Declaration to combat climate change. The amendments require organizations to determine if climate change is a relevant issue that affects their ability to achieve intended outcomes and/or if relevant interested parties have implemented requirements related to climate change.

The changes to the standards involve Clause 4, Context of Organization, specifically to sub clauses 4.1 and 4.2.

Clause 4.1 – “Understanding the organization and its context”
Addition: “The organization shall determine whether climate change is a relevant issue.”

Clause 4.2 – “Understanding the need and expectations of interested parties”
Addition: “Relevant interested parties can have requirements related to climate change.”

It is important to note that the addition to sub clause 4.2 is not considered a new requirement, rather it encompasses the evaluation of relevant interested parties.

Some other prominent amendments include:

  • ISO9001:2015 (Amd1/2024) Quality Management Systems
  • ISO22301:2019 (Amd1/2024) Security and Resilience – Business Continuity Management Systems
  • ISO27001:2022 (Amd1/2024) Information Security, Cybersecurity, and Privacy Protection – Information Security Management Systems

How does the change impact Certified Organizations?

If an organization has a management system certified to one of the amended standards, the organization should review how issues may impact the needs of parties with which work is already in progress. The only modification for certified organizations is to clearly document their consideration of climate change.

As organizations fold these changes into their management systems, their consideration of climate change impacts must expand. For example, for organizations using cloud service providers, new or revised contracts must include terms around climate impact, carbon footprint and sustainability. Organizations wishing to be proactive should potentially consider compliance with ISO14001:2015 Environmental Management Systems. ISO14001, like many of the MSS, follows a framework of clauses with context to organization, leadership, planning, support, operation, performance evaluation and improvement. As more stringent requirements continue to be adopted, ISO14001:2015 can help organizations be proactive in their dedication to combat climate change.

These amendments bring to light an interesting discussion topic:

  • Will social issues continue to influence regulations enacted on certified organizations?
  • Does this affect the number of companies that will seek certification?
  • What is the next social issue to dictate these types of changes?

Conclusion

Regulatory agencies now see climate change as a critical issue and are seeking to combat the issue head on. These amendments require participating organizations to—at minimum—consider the relevance of the effects of climate change to their organizations and any interested parties.

If you have questions about how the amendments apply to your organization, or how it may be affected by the amendments, email us at: consulting@dayspringtechnology.com.

Additional reading:
https://www.iso.org/ClimateAction/LondonDeclaration.html

https://iioa.global/climate-change-iso-amendments-to-management-system-standards/

https://iioa.global/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Joint_ISO-IAF_Communique_re_Climate_Change_Amds_to_ISO_MSS_Feb_2024_Final.pdf

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