International Standards Organization

By Simon Johns - Dec 08, 2023

The International Standards Organization is recognized for its catalog of more than 21,500 standards that cover almost everything. Standards, developed by the ISO’s 244 technical committees, help companies operate transparently, track progress against targets and compare performance with peers. They also make verification easier and can harmonize with other reporting frameworks.

The implementation of ISO standards helps identify carbon-intensive processes, potential energy savings and places where improvements can be made in corporate governance and social benefits, similar to a materiality assessment (see Materiality). 

ISO 14000 Environmental management is a suite of standards that help organizations measure their operational impact on the environment, as well as with compliance and improvement. The focus of ISO 14000 is on production processes rather than products themselves. The ISO 14000 family of standards is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13 Climate Action.

ISO 14001 Environmental management systems maps out a framework that a company or organization can follow to set up an effective environmental management system so it can enhance its environmental performance and achieve goals. ISO 14001 is an integral part of the European Union’s Eco-Management and Audit Scheme, a voluntary environmental management scheme that has similar aims as ISO 14000. 

ISO 14007 Environmental management — Guidelines for determining environmental costs and benefits is used to determine an organization’s environmental costs and benefits by identifying, documenting and disclosing its dependence on natural resources. These costs and benefits can be expressed quantitatively or qualitatively. 

ISO 14008 Monetary valuation of environmental impacts and aspects is a framework for the monetary valuation of an organization’s activities, products or services that interact or can interact with the environment, i.e., aspects, and impacts on the environment resulting from aspects. 

ISO 14040  Environmental management — Life cycle assessment — Principles and framework is a general introduction to the principles of life cycle assessment and life cycle interpretation, which is described as “a systematic technique to identify, quantify, check and evaluate information from the results of the life cycle inventory and/or the life cycle impact assessment.”

ISO 14044 Environmental management — Life cycle assessment — Requirements and guidelines specifies requirements and provides guidelines for life cycle assessments, including the definition of goals and scope, the life cycle inventory analysis phase, impact assessment phase, interpretation phase, reporting and critical review, limitations, relationship between phases and conditions for use of value choices and optional elements. 

ISO 14045 Environmental management — Eco-efficiency assessment of product systems — Principles, requirements and guideline for product systems sets out the goal and scope definition of an eco-efficiency assessment; environmental assessment; product-system-value assessment; the quantification of eco-efficiency; interpretation, including quality assurance; reporting; and critical review of the eco-efficiency assessment. 

ISO 14064 Greenhouse gases — Part 1: Specification with guidance at the organization level for quantification and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and removals is a complementary set of tools for programs to quantify, monitor, report and verify greenhouse gas emissions. The ISO 14064 standard supports organizations to participate in both regulated and voluntary programs such as emissions trading schemes and public reporting using a globally recognized standard. 

ISO 14067 Greenhouse gases — Carbon footprint of products — Requirements and guidelines for quantification is a framework for measuring and reporting products’ greenhouse gas emissions with a focus solely on environmental impact. It sets out the design, development, management, reporting and verification of a product’s carbon footprint and is consistent with the life cycle assessment standards ISO 14040 and ISO 14044. It also complements the 13th United Nations sustainable development goal on climate action and is formally similar to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, allowing either to be used when submitting emissions data. 

ISO 14068 Climate change management, Transition to net zero, Part 1: Carbon neutrality focuses on organizations and products. Priority is given to striving for and achieving carbon neutrality by reducing direct greenhouse gas emissions. Central to this is a hierarchical approach in the climate management plan, in which avoidance, reduction and substitution of direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions come first, followed by offsetting the remaining emissions. 

ISO 50001 Energy management is guidance for a company that wants to address its environmental impact and reduce resource consumption by implementing, maintaining and improving its energy management systems. It provides a framework for energy policy development; setting targets and objectives; using data to understand and make decisions, measuring results; reviewing policy effectiveness; and continually improving. Certification is optional but could be competitively advantageous. ISO 50001 is in line with UN SDG 7, affordable and clean energy.

ISO 53001 Management Systems for UN Sustainable development goals – Requirements will allow companies to certify themselves. The focus will be on organizations making an effective, efficient, systematic and measurable contribution to achieving the SDGs.

ISO 14030 Environmental performance evaluation — Green debt instruments, and ISO 14097 Climate-related metrics for the finance sector are still in development. 

ISO 26000 Social responsibility is a set of guidelines, not requirements, that clarify what social responsibility is, helps businesses and organizations translate principles into effective actions and shares best practices relating to social responsibility, globally. It is aimed at all types of organizations regardless of their activity, size or location. ISO 26000 is in line with UN SDG 5 Gender Equality and SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities.

ISO 37101 Sustainable development in communities helps them establish a management system for sustainable development through strategies, programs, projects, plans and services. The community can designate an organization to implement the standard. 

ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems helps organizations improve employee safety and reduce workplace risks.

ISO 19600 Compliance management systems – Guidelines helps organizations establish, develop, implement, evaluate, maintain and improve on an effective and responsive compliance management system. Certification is not mandatory. 

ISO 37001 Anti-bribery management systems helps organizations of any size or type to implement procedures that tackle bribery. It provides a framework for devising an anti-bribery policy; appointing an anti-bribery compliance officer; carrying out training, risk assessments and due diligence on projects and business associates implementing financial and commercial controls; and instituting reporting and investigation procedures. It is limited to management systems and can be standalone or integrated with other systems, like ISO 9001 Quality Management System. ISO 37001 is in line with UN SDG 1 No Poverty, SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth and SDG 10 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

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