One of the major challenges that face us all is that of mitigating and adapting to climate change. Internationally, work has progressed from the formation of United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which is used to signify both the Convention (agreed in 1994), the Secretariat and frequently also the countries that are members of the Convention.
At the end of 2015, countries negotiating a new agreement under UNFCCC agreed the Paris Agreement which came into force on 4 November 2016. Under the Paris Agreement countries agree to hold the global temperature increase due to increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, to below 2 °C, aiming at 1.5 °C. This commitment is realised through a commitment at national level to reduce national GHG emissions. Additionally, countries agreed to support action to adapt to the consequences of climate change. Most of the policy and regulatory framework associated with the Paris Agreement have yet to emerge and be agreed (as at 30 November 2016).
Achieving the Paris Agreement will require innovative approach and contributions from all of use including organisations. Paris Agreement is both a challenge and an opportunity. It may create business opportunities for organizations.
For users of ISO 14001 the question is ‘How does ISO 14001 help organisation to mitigate and adapt to climate change? The attached diagram schematically sets out the link between key clauses in ISO 14001:2015 and climate change mitigation and adaption. It is intended to help users of ISO 14001 to show how they address climate change challenges through their management system.
ISO 14001 deals with the need to adapt to any change in environmental conditions and hence include matters such as the need to adapt to other environmental consequences which are not due to climate change, for example loss of ecosystem services and biodiversity.
Additionally ISO 14007 and ISO 14008 help organizations provide a ‘value’ and ‘determine the costs’ for the GHG they emit and to ‘determine the cost benefit’ in their organisation for any action they take to adapt to climate change (effect of the environment on the organization).
The illustration below in a schematic form shows how ISO 14001 support climate change mitigation and adaptation