With our climate trajectory scenario window closing quickly, companies must act quickly and effectively to close the gap on limiting global warming to 1.5°C. With current projections GHG emissions must peak by 2025 and show a significant reduction by 2030. To achieve this now lofty but critical goal, companies can meet a baseline of climate action, then improve as they go. ISO standards offer guidance on many key issues that companies face in the climate crisis.
For example, ISO 14001 offers a framework for how organizations can better-control their environmental impact. ISO 50001 approaches energy management in a way that an organization can continually improve their energy performance. The ISO 14064 group of standards help companies manage greenhouse gas emissions. While there are many other examples of ISO standards that spur on environmental action, the first and most important step to environmental improvement is starting.
Establishing the starting point is an important first step, then once a baseline is established, improving upon performance over time helps both the climate, the business, and the communities that businesses operate in. Standards are clear-cut and straight-forward to adhere to which is a significant advantage for organizations that may be looking to get started.
Though that first step may be intimidating, there are a few things stakeholders can do to get the ball rolling.
- First, read the standard, you would be surprised how concepts and ideas come together when you begin to read exactly what the standard calls for.
- Next, conduct a gap analysis, whether you choose to internally audit or hire someone else to look assess your systems, having someone pressure test and probe your existing processes and controls can help identify weak spots and improvement areas.
- Next, train up your staff and stakeholders. If everyone is aware of and passionate about their role in the system, they will benefit significantly from seeing the requirements and bigger picture of their work.
- Lastly, have your systems audited, a third-party certificate is more than just a piece of paper, it is an indicator that your management system is working up to the requirements, and that your baseline of climate action has been met. From there, continual improvement and climate action become synonymous.
ISO standards are rigorous, both in their creation and execution. This, in and of itself, adds value, offering a strong baseline on which policymakers can work to create climate mitigation strategies and regulations. ISO standards, however, offer far more than just this.