Important Updates to ISO Standards: Embracing Climate Change Considerations


  • ISO standards have been updated to include climate change considerations.
  • Organizations must now integrate climate risks into their management systems.
  • Adapting to these changes can improve resilience and stakeholder relationships.
  • Climate risk assessments and stakeholder engagement are key starting points.
  • Resources are available to help organizations transition smoothly to the new requirements.

Understanding the Latest ISO Climate Change Consideration Requirements

When we talk about ISO standards, we’re referring to ISO standards that have been developed at a collaborative international level and lead to the creation of best practices that companies worldwide use to ensure they’re operating responsibly and efficiently. Now, these requirements are being upgraded. Why? Because the world is acknowledging that climate change isn’t just an environmental issue – it’s a business one too. And it’s time for every organization to play its part in addressing how their products, services, and activities affect the climate.

Climate Change Defined

Climate change refers to significant and lasting changes in the Earth’s climate and weather patterns. It is largely attributed to human activities, especially the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and industrial processes, leading to global warming and other climate impacts.

For manufacturers, a simple example of climate change impact can be seen in the supply chain disruptions due to extreme weather events, such as hurricanes or floods, affecting raw material availability and transportation. A manufacturer might face increased costs or delays due to damaged infrastructure or the need to source materials from alternative locations that are less affected by climate change.

For service providers, the impact could be more indirect. For instance, a company specializing in IT services may see increased demand for cloud-based solutions as businesses seek to reduce their carbon footprint by moving away from physical data centers, which are energy-intensive. Alternatively, a tourism-related service might need to adapt its offerings due to changing weather patterns, such as ski resorts facing shorter winter seasons or coastal destinations dealing with rising sea levels.

Both sectors can contribute to mitigating climate change by adopting more sustainable practices. Manufacturers can invest in energy-efficient technologies, reduce waste, and consider the environmental impact of their products throughout their life cycle. Service providers can minimize their carbon footprint by using renewable energy sources, promoting telecommuting to reduce travel-related emissions, and offering products and services that support sustainable living. Our favorite project is 14001 Implementation, but even better, when we integrate this standard with a company that is already ISO 9001 certified.

Climate Change

What Are ISO Climate Change Standards?

Think of ISO standards as a set of worldly acceptable (agreed upon) requirements that helps organizations manage their processes and products in the most efficient way possible. These standards touch on everything from quality management to energy efficiency and safety and health. But now, there’s an element that must be considered: climate change considerations. That’s right, the ISO has introduced amendments that put climate change front and center, making it a priority for businesses to address within their existing management systems. On February 23, 2024, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) released amendments to several common ISO standards, including.

  • ISO 9001
  • ISO 14001
  • ISO 45001
    The amendments cover two additions regarding climate change. In section 4.1 of these three standards, the amendment requires the organization to determine whether climate change is a relevant issue impacting their management system.
    Further, in section 4.2, a new note has been added stating that relevant interested parties may have requirements related to climate change. 

These aren’t just empty words – these amendments have teeth. They are reshaping the way organizations think about risk, strategy, and sustainability. It’s a big deal because it’s not just about being ‘green’ anymore; it’s about ensuring your business can withstand the climate challenges of tomorrow. Speaking with registrar auditors, questions are being asked during audits as to how have they considered climate change as a business. What we are recommending is to ensure it is identified on the risk matrix, shown as being discussed at the management review, MSI’s Management Review Solutions and when doing a survey, ask how important this is, at least when it comes to your customers. This is important because it is most likely a concern for any of your interested parties. See our perpetual calendar to ensure you are ready with these additions at your next audits. MSI’s Perpetual Calendar

Why Are These Updates Crucial?

Let’s face it, climate change is altering the world as we know it. From extreme weather events disrupting supply chains to shifting consumer demands for sustainable products, businesses are feeling the impact. These ISO updates aren’t just about doing good for the planet; they’re about doing what’s smart for your business. By integrating climate considerations into your ISO frameworks, you’re future-proofing your organization against climate-related risks and positioning it as a leader in sustainability.

Most importantly, these changes are a wake-up call. They’re telling us that we can’t keep operating like climate change is someone else’s problem. It’s ours, and it’s time we owned it.

Implications for Current Adherence Strategies

These ISO amendments mean that if you’re already following ISO standards, it’s time to revisit your strategy. Your current approach might have been top-notch a year ago, but with these changes, there’s a new bar to reach. It’s not just about compliance anymore; it’s about taking proactive steps to address climate change within the framework of your organization’s operations.

Incorporating Climate Action in Your Organization

So, where do you start? First things first, understand that climate action isn’t a one-off project. It’s a continuous commitment that should be woven into the fabric of your organization’s culture and operations. And it begins with acknowledging the role your business plays in the larger environmental ecosystem.

Next, you’ll want to look at your current ISO compliance through a new lens. Where can climate considerations be integrated? This might mean tweaking your quality management processes under ISO 9001 to consider the lifecycle impact of your products or most likely it for sure was addressed in your environmental management systems under ISO 14001 to mitigate climate-related risks.

And remember, this isn’t just about avoiding negative impacts. It’s also about spotting opportunities for innovation and growth. Maybe there’s a chance to develop new, more sustainable products or to improve energy efficiency in your operations, which can save costs and attract eco-conscious customers. One subtlety, though, is that be sure to update your external documents that your company has taken note of this amendment.

Starting with a Climate Risk Assessment

Before you can manage risks, you need to understand them. Conducting a climate risk assessment is your first step. This means looking at how extreme weather, rising temperatures and other climate-related factors could affect your operations, supply chain, and market position. Once you’ve identified the risks, you can start planning how to address them.

Engaging Stakeholders on Environmental Expectations

It’s not just about what you think is important – it’s also about what your stakeholders expect. Engaging with customers, employees, investors, and the community helps you understand their concerns about climate change and sustainability. This dialogue can inform your strategies and show stakeholders that you’re committed to taking meaningful action.

Benefits of Adapting to the New Standards

Adapting to the new ISO standards isn’t just another box to tick. It’s an investment in the future of your business. By embracing these changes, you’re not only reducing your environmental footprint, you’re also building a resilient business that can thrive in a changing world.

Moreover, you’re sending a clear message to the market: your organization is a forward-thinking leader. This can enhance your brand reputation, open up new business opportunities, and attract top talent who want to work for a company that cares about its impact on the planet.

Improving Resilience and Competitive Edge

By factoring climate change into your risk management, you’re building a business that can stand strong against environmental shocks. This resilience becomes a competitive edge, setting you apart from others who may be slower to adapt.

Consider this: when a flood disrupts a supply chain, the company that has already assessed and planned for such an event is the one that keeps delivering to its customers. That’s resilience in action, and it’s what can keep you a step ahead of the competition.

Enhancing Stakeholder Relations with Transparency

Transparency isn’t just a buzzword; it’s what stakeholders are demanding. By openly sharing your climate action plans and progress, you’re building trust. People want to see that you’re not just talking the talk, but that you’re walking the walk when it comes to sustainability.

Navigating the Transition to Updated ISO Standards

This change takes effect immediately. Unlike other changes to standards where companies get a year or so to make the changes this is not the same. So word must get out about this change. Making the transition to the updated ISO standards might seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Start by reviewing the amendments and identifying the areas of your business they impact most. Then, create a step-by-step plan to integrate climate considerations into those areas.

Steps to Integrate Climate Considerations Effectively

Here are some actionable steps you can take to integrate climate considerations into your business effectively:

  • Review climate change topics in detail and understand their implications for your organization.
  • Conduct some level of climate risk assessment to identify potential challenges and opportunities.
  • Engage with stakeholders to align your climate action plans with their expectations.
  • Update your management systems and processes to incorporate climate considerations.
  • Train your team on the importance of these changes and their roles in implementing them.


Some valuable resources that can guide you through the process of conducting a climate risk assessment, each offering a unique perspective and methodology that might align with your requirements.

  1. A 6-Step Methodology to Assess Climate-Related Risks: This resource outlines a structured approach developed by the Global Programme on Risk Assessment and Management for Adaptation to Climate Change. It offers a comprehensive guide for practitioners and decision-makers, focusing on identifying risks, assessing their magnitude, and exploring actionable measures. The methodology emphasizes stakeholder participation, covers a spectrum of hazards from slow onset processes to extreme weather events, and considers non-economic losses, aiming at an informed decision-making process in the context of climate change​​.
  2. Adapting to Climate Change: Industry Sector Examples for Your Risk Assessment: This resource from the UK Government’s Environment Agency provides industry-specific examples for climate change risk assessments. It details possible impacts and mitigation measures across various sectors, updated to reflect recent extreme weather events. This practical guide can help you tailor your risk assessment process to your specific industry needs, offering insights into potential climate-related impacts and strategies for adaptation​​.
  3. Project-Level Climate Risk Assessment outlined by Climatelinks emphasizes a three-step process involving assessing climate risks and opportunities, addressing these risks, and planning for adaptive management. It stresses the importance of using systematic frameworks like USAID’s Climate Risk Screening and Management Tool for a holistic risk assessment. This approach also highlights the necessity of considering opportunities to enhance outcomes and build resilience​​.
  4. CoastAdapt’s Three-Level Risk Assessment Process offers a structured way to assess climate change risks with varying depth and resource requirements. It starts with a first-pass risk screening using readily available data, followed by a more detailed second-pass assessment incorporating national data, local information, and expert knowledge. The third-pass assessment allows for a comprehensive investigation of prioritized risks, supporting detailed adaptation action planning​​.

Each of these methodologies has its unique strengths and can be chosen based on the specific needs, resources available, and the depth of assessment required. For organizations starting their journey in climate risk assessment, these frameworks provide a solid foundation for understanding and managing climate-related risks effectively.

For detailed guidance and to explore these methodologies further, please visit:

These resources offer a starting point for understanding how to approach climate risk assessments in a structured and industry-relevant manner.

These guides should provide a solid foundation for assessing and addressing climate-related risks within your organization or the organizations you consult for.

Remember, this isn’t a one-person job. It requires collaboration across your entire organization. Everyone, from the CEO to the shop floor worker, has a role to play in making your business more sustainable.

Resources and Tools for a Smooth Transition

Fortunately, there are plenty of resources and tools available to help you make this transition. Many organizations offer workshops, webinars, and consultancy services to guide you through the process. And let’s not forget the wealth of information available on the ISO’s own website, including detailed guidelines and case studies.

Most importantly, don’t try to do everything at once. Sustainability is a journey, not a sprint. Take it one step at a time, and you’ll find that each change you make brings you closer to a more sustainable, resilient future.


Now, let’s address some common questions you might have about these ISO climate change standards. After all, change can be challenging, and it’s normal to have concerns and queries about how these amendments will affect your organization.

Are All Organizations Affected by These Updates?

Yes, all organizations that are certified or seeking certification under ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001 and AS 9100 will need to consider these updates. These standards are widely adopted across various industries, which means the amendments have far-reaching implications. Regardless of your sector, if you’re committed to maintaining ISO certifications, these changes are relevant to you.

Can Climate Change Be Deemed Non-Relevant for My Business?

It’s tempting to think that climate change might not impact your business, but the reality is that it has the potential to affect every organization, directly or indirectly. Even if your operations don’t seem to be environmentally intensive, there are still supply chain considerations, regulatory changes, and stakeholder expectations to consider. It’s crucial to understand that climate change is a systemic issue, and assessing its relevance is now a part of ISO’s expectations. Even just shipping, are you utilizing the best shipping methods?

What If My Organization Is Not ISO 14001 Certified?

If your organization is not currently ISO 14001 certified, it’s still wise to be aware of these changes. They signal a broader shift towards sustainability in business practices that could influence customer expectations, investor decisions, and regulatory frameworks in the near future. Adopting these practices can also prepare you for eventual certification, should you choose to pursue it.

How Will These Amendments Impact Non-Certified Organizations?

For organizations not certified to ISO standards, these amendments still serve as a best-practice framework that can guide your sustainability efforts. They offer a structured approach to integrating climate considerations into your business strategy, which can help you manage risks and capitalize on new opportunities in a low-carbon economy.

  • Even if you’re not ISO certified, using these standards as a guideline can benefit your business.
  • They can help you stay ahead of regulatory changes and meet the evolving expectations of stakeholders.
  • Adopting these practices can improve your market competitiveness and brand reputation.

Where Can I Access the Full Text of the Amendments?

The full text of the ISO amendments can be accessed through the ISO website or by contacting your national ISO member body. Additionally, many industry associations and consulting firms are providing summaries and guidance on these changes, so consider reaching out to them for more detailed information.

If you’re looking to integrate these changes into your business, consider booking an appointment with a consultant who specializes in ISO standards and sustainability. We can provide personalized advice and support to ensure that your transition to the new requirements is as smooth and beneficial as possible.

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