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23 Feb 2024

Climate change: joint IAF/ISO communiqué on the inclusion of considerations in Management Systems Standards

Climate change: joint IAF/ISO communiqué on the inclusion of considerations in Management Systems Standards

In support of ISO's London Declaration on Climate Change, ISO has passed a resolution originating two new text statements to be added to a number of existing management system standards, and which will be included in all new standards under development/revision, to address the need to consider the effect of climate change on the ability to achieve the intended results of the management system.

The changes will be introduced initially as amendments to these published standards and incorporated into the new text of the Harmonized Framework (Appendix 2 of Annex SL in the ISO/IEC Directives Part 1 Consolidated ISO Supplement):


4.1 Understanding the organization 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 XXX 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 XXX management system.
• the relevant requirements of these interested parties.
• which of these requirements will be addressed through the XXX management system.

Added: NOTE: Relevant interested parties can have requirements related to climate change.

The amendments to the standards were published today, February 23, 2024, the 77th anniversary of ISO.


Purpose of the amendments

The aim is to ensure that climate change issues are considered by the organization in the context of the effectiveness of the management system, in addition to all other issues. These additional statements in each management system standard aim to ensure that this important topic is not ignored, but considered by all organizations in the design and implementation of the management system.

The general intent of the requirements for clauses 4.1 and 4.2 remains unchanged; these clauses already include the need for the organization to consider all internal and external issues that may affect the effectiveness of its management system. These new additions ensure that climate change is considered in the management system and that it is an external factor important enough to the community to require organizations to consider it now.

It should be noted that climate change can have a different effect on each component of the management system: for example, the effect on a Quality Management System can be very different from the effect on an Occupational Health and Safety Management System.

It is not the intention of the amendments to turn a health and safety management system audit or a road traffic audit into one that disproportionately considers climate change, although this does not, of course, underestimate the importance of climate change.

The IAF and ISO stress that climate change is a vital issue and that, while the inclusion of climate considerations is very important, the standards have always included the need for all issues affecting management systems to be considered by the organization. Therefore, many organizations implementing Management Systems will already be taking Climate Change into account.

You can consult the list of Management Systems to which the Amendment applies here.

Source: IAF/ISO Joint Communiqué on the addition of Climate Change considerations to Management Systems Standards (2024-02-22).

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