Climate Change – Changes to ISO Management System Standards

IAF and ISO have issued a joint communiqué highlighting the importance of climate change and making changes to a number of existing management system standards as well as all new standards under development/revision. IAF and ISO issued a joint communication highlighting the importance of “Climate Change”; the relevance of this factor has led to the amendment of both a number of existing management system standards and all new standards under development/revision.

As you know, the structure of the standards is the same and the changes will affect clauses 4.1 and 4.2.

“The overall intent of the requirements remains unchanged, with the above clauses already including the need for the organisation to consider all internal and external aspects that may impact the effectiveness of its management system; these new inclusions ensure that “Climate Change” is considered within the management system and is an external factor important enough to our community to require organisations to consider it now (quoted from IAF-ISO release of 22/02/2024).”

Since the above statement emphasises that the general intent of the requirements remains unchanged and that this change is treated as a clarification, rather than a new requirement, there is no need for a transition programme for compliance, however, the following guidance should be considered.

Implications for certified organisations

Certified organisations must ensure that they have considered Climate Change aspects and risks in the development, maintenance and effectiveness of their management systems.

Climate change, along with other factors, must be considered in defining the context of the management system and, if identified as relevant, must be present within the scope of the risk assessment.

Where an organisation operates more than one management system (e.g. ISO 9001 and ISO 45001), it must ensure that climate change, if deemed relevant, is considered within each management system standard.

Keep in mind that some aspects and risks related to climate change may be general in nature, thus independent of the scope of the management system and the sector (e.g., when related to regulatory compliance or operational adaptability and organisational resilience), while others may be specifically related to the requirements of management system standards, the specific sector (e.g., energy production, agriculture and fisheries) and the characteristics of the organisation (e.g., geographic location, the nature of its supply chain or workforce dynamics).

Implications for certification bodies

Certification Bodies, in assessing the requirements of clauses 4.1 and 4.2. of the standards, already verify that all internal and external context-related aspects have been examined and identified as relevant or not by the organisation and taken into account in the development and effectiveness of management systems

With the new ‘Climate Change’ provisions, Certification Bodies must ensure that this factor/aspect has been considered and, if considered relevant to their management system, has been included in the organisation’s objectives, risk assessment and mitigation measures.

If the organisation has not considered climate change to be a relevant aspect of its management system, the CB must ensure the effectiveness of the process used by the organisation for this determination.


The publication of the amendment to the standards took place on 22/02/2024 and ACT will verify the adaptation of the system documents of certified organisations and those in the process of certification, as of 1/04/2024.

This change in standards will not lead to the revision of valid certificates, as

– The year of publication of the standards for Management Systems does not change.

– There are no changes in the scope of certified Management Systems.

– There is no significant impact on the effectiveness of the certified Management System.

– The method and actions that certified organisations will take to comply with the new requirement will be the same as those they already apply in the case of changes in any other factor of the Management System context.

The original documents can be consulted at the following addresses:

IAF Technical Committee (TC) Searchable Decision Log

For clarification or additional information, please contact your nearest ACT office.