ISO Publishes New Standard to Manage the Impact of Climate Change

It’s the first international standard for environmental adaptation published, according to ISO.

Governing body ISO has released an updated environmental standard designed to alleviate the impact of climate change for businesses, as well as open up new and potentially profitable areas of operations for organisations.

As ISO puts it, “when some of the world’s biggest companies value climate risks to their business at nearly one trillion dollars, the impact of climate change cannot be ignored.”

This standard is ISO’s attempt at providing a management system that allows them to adapt to the foreshadowed impacts of climate change. It’s known as ISO 14090, ‘Adaption to climate change- Principles, requirements and guidelines’, and it’s the first of a number of ISO standards to give organisations a better idea of the impact of climate change, and help those organisations put in a plan to reduce risks to their operations, as well as open up new areas for profit.

“A recent report by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) showed that a group of the world’s largest companies, worth collectively nearly USD $17-trillion, have valued the cost of climate change risks to their businesses at almost USD $1-billion,” ISO says.

While that number is staggering, those businesses also conducted research that found that the valued potential gains from business opportunities was more than double this figure, signifying the need to adapt not just for environmental reasons, but also for competitive, fiscal reasons.

ISO 14090 is said to provide a framework that enables organisations to give appropriate consideration to climate change adaptation when designing and implementing its respective operations, policies, strategies, plans and activities.

Co-convenor of the working group behind the development of the standard says that climate change’s impact including unexpected weather and temperature changes stand to harm an organisation’s bottom line revenue if they’re not properly prepared.

“Understanding climate impacts is not just for those implementing climate actions. Organizational decisions are made on the basis of risk and opportunities, so understanding resilience is useful across the value chain such as in purchasing, investment and insurance,” he said.

Co-convenor Liang Sun elaborated that “ISO 14090 will enable organizations to assess and prepare for climate impacts and make them more resilient. It will also help them spot potential opportunities for maximizing the use of resources or new sources of revenue.”

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