New ISO 9001 amendment takes climate change into account!

Published On: June 10th, 2024

The International Organization for Standardization updated its ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System standard in 2024. The ISO 9001 Climate Action Amendment is in effect from February 23rd, 2024. But what does it all mean? Do certified organizations have to revamp their entire QMS? Are certificates issued before the amendment still valid? And how can organizations implement this amendment? 


We will answer these questions in today’s blog. 

How Did the Climate Change Amendment Come about? 

With the rising climate challenges around the world, it’s no wonder ISO has decided to address it in their standards. And they explain it in their Joint Communiqué with the International Accreditation Forum (IAF). The amendment comes as a result of the London Declaration on Climate Action and affects around 30 Management System standards, including ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 27001, and ISO 45001. 


It’s important to note that changes are effective immediately, affecting both currently ISO-certified companies and all future certificants. And, this 2024 amendment is different from the ongoing ISO 9001:2015 revision, which is expected to come out in 2026. 

What’s Changed in ISO 9001, and What Does It Mean? 

The amendment to ISO 9001 includes additional text that addresses climate change considerations within the organizational context of the Quality Management System (QMS). 


Specifically, clause 4.1 Understanding the organization and its context, has the following added: 

  • “The organization shall determine whether climate change is a relevant issue.” 

In clause 4.2 Understanding the organization and its context, there’s an added note: 

  • “NOTE: Relevant interested parties can have requirements related to climate change.” 

It is a minor change to the original text, so it is only considered an amendment. But what does it mean for organizations pursuing ISO 9001 certification and certification holders? 


It means that organizations must consider climate change issues and how they may affect the QMS. ISO and IAF also note that many organizations already address this as one of the external issues that can impact QMS effectiveness. However, having the amendment there explicitly should ensure this aspect is not overlooked. 


In practical terms, certified organizations and those seeking certification need to document their decisions: 

  • Whether climate change is a relevant issue (and how the determination was made), 
  • Whether interested parties have requirements around climate change, 
  • How the QMS is addressing climate change if it’s a relevant issue or if there are requirements from interested parties. 


For example, if a weather disruption or compromised water supply could impact your production or delivery of end products, you should show how you would mitigate that risk. Similarly, if customers are dissatisfied with emissions or waste, you should take steps to address it. Ultimately, accounting for these risks will make your QMS more resilient and increase your chances for organizational success. 

How Does the 2024 Amendment Affect the ISO 9001 Certification Process? 

The 2024 amendment of ISO 9001 affects all organizations involved in the certification process: 

  • Organizations seeking certification, 
  • Certified organizations, 
  • Certification bodies (conducting the audits), and 
  • Accreditation bodies (overseeing certification bodies). 

Organizations seeking ISO 9001 certification 

For those that aim to obtain ISO 9001 certification, the amendment means they should take steps to assess how climate change could affect their operations and strategic objectives. 


It would also be useful to engage interested parties (customers, suppliers, partners, investors, regulatory bodies) in climate change conversations. You may find that these parties have specific requirements or concerns in mind.  


Finally, efforts to promote sustainability and environmental responsibility in the context of the QMS will benefit your organization’s future. 

Certified organizations 

For ISO 9001:2015 certified organizations, the scenario is similar. The first step is determining whether climate change is a relevant issue. If it is, you should consider it in risk evaluation within the scope of the management system standard. 


If climate change is relevant to your QMS, here’s what you may need to review: 

  • Strategic objectives 
  • Risk assessments and mitigation 
  • Opportunities 
  • Compliance obligations 
  • Internal and external communication requirements 
  • Changes in resources, training, and operations 
  • Monitoring processes 
  • Procedures and forms addressing clauses 4.1 and 4.2 

The good news: you don’t need to apply for recertification based on this amendment. 

Certification Bodies (Notified Bodies) 

When auditing the QMS, certification bodies should ensure climate change was considered within clauses 4.1 and 4.2 as prescribed. If it was not deemed relevant, auditors should verify the reasoning behind the decision. If it was considered relevant, auditors should review if it was addressed within the objectives, risk assessment, and mitigation activities. 

Expectations on Accreditation Bodies 

Accreditation bodies must verify that certification bodies are considering climate change within clauses 4.1 and 4.2 as prescribed. And, of course, that there’s adequate reasoning behind the exclusion of climate change considerations or proof that the issues are addressed appropriately. 

Why Should You Consider Climate Change? 

Other than certification purposes, there are many reasons for organizations to consider climate change: 

  1. Regulatory compliance. Many governments are trying to minimize the effects of climate change. They may set emission limits, require sustainability reports from organizations, and introduce penalties for non-compliance. 
  1. Financial risks and opportunities. Extreme weather events, non-compliance with regulatory requirements, and decreased brand reputation can severely damage profitability. On the other hand, there is room for innovation and sustainability that can cut costs, avoid penalties, open new markets, and attract new investors. 
  1. Supply chain stability. Extreme weather events and other climate-related issues can disrupt supply chains. Reducing these risks through better logistics and using alternative suppliers can help you build a stable and resilient supply chain. 
  1. Competitive advantage. By introducing modern technologies and innovative solutions, you can build a resilient and adaptable QMS. This will give you the upper hand in the marketplace. 
  1. Brand reputation and customer loyalty. Customers are increasingly concerned about climate change. And these concerns dictate their purchase decisions. By implementing sustainability efforts, you can improve your standing with the customer base. 
  1. Talent acquisition and retention. Like customers, employees want to work for responsible businesses that care about their environmental footprint. Prioritizing climate action can help you acquire and retain top talent with a shared vision and goals. 


There’s no need to panic about the ISO 9001 Climate Action Amendment. It’s more of a clarification than a new requirement because organizations must consider external risks in their QMS anyway. Plus, ISO 9001-certified organizations don’t need to pursue recertification. So, take a deep breath and review your organizational context and the requirements of interested parties. You may find that the changes to clauses 4.1 and 4.2 don’t affect your business. If they do, consider it an opportunity to improve your QMS and organizational resilience. 


If you’re not sure how climate change may affect your business, we’re here to help. 

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Written by : Jonathan

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