In support of the ISO London Declaration on Climate Change, ISO passed a resolution that adds two new statements of text to existing management standards. This will also apply to any new standards under development or are revised. This addresses the consideration on the effect of Climate Change on the effectiveness of the management system. This change is being conducted initially using Amendments. The changes will also be incorporated into the new text of the Harmonized Structure (Appendix 2 of the Annex SL). It is important to note that no new certificates are required. If you are concerned, you can obtain a copy of the IAF Final Decision for details.

The amendment impacting ISO14001: 2015 was published which is effectively immediately for all companies that are currently ISO 14001 certified as well as any certifications going forward. The one-line additions impact Clauses 4.1 and 4.2. The statements published are:

Clause 4.1 addition- “The organization shall determine whether climate change is relevant.”

Clause 4.2 addition- "Note: Relevant interested parties can have requirements related to climate change.”

Let’s face it, these statements have not changed the intent of the current requirements of clauses 4.1 and 4.2. The intent is to assure climate change is included when considering all internal and external issues that can impact the effectiveness of their management system. If so, as with other identified issues, the organization must consider it within their system’s objectives and risk evaluation within the scope of their management system.

Why make this change? The integration of climate change considerations into the international standards highlights the need to acknowledge the impact it is having on our external environment. This promotes an awareness both locally and internationally of efforts to take actions to address these negative impacts to our environment. This change is not isolated to management systems. Several countries, states and even local governments have placed emission limits, carbon neutral initiatives and sustainability reporting. Tracing of extreme weather events over the past few years have been traced to climate change. There are organizations which have had their reputation tarnished by bad practices with them receiving penalties or the risk of penalties.  Customer loyalty is critical to today’s business environment which will require these organizations to adapt and take innovative actions that are currently not incorporated in their business planning. Positive efforts towards climate change and reducing greenhouse gas has had additional positive impact on attracting new employees and marketing. Organizations can contribute to a sustainable future for their business, family and friends in order to ensure a long-term sustainable environment.