ISO 31030:2021 -- Managing travel risks -- Guidance for organizations


Why ISO 31030?

For many organizations, travel is an essential activity without which they could not deliver their objectives.  Travelling has become a common feature of people’s jobs or functions. This is increasingly so as organizations expand their operations and services in response to the opportunities and drivers of globalization.   

However, travel can expose organizations and their travellers to significant risks.  These can include; risks to personnel, reputation, finance, business continuity and resilience, data/equipment, productivity/trip effectiveness.  These, in turn, impact on the organization’s legal, compliance and duty of care responsibilities.

Travellers, whether international or domestic, can be faced with unfamiliar situations and environments that have different risk profiles to those of their normal location.   These can range from events such as a road accident, or a health incident, through to disease outbreaks, epidemics, natural disasters, as well as conflict, crime (including cyber and information), cyber threats, terrorism, political and socially motivated instability can threaten the safety, security (including information security), health (including mental health) of travellers, and adversely affect the outcome of their travel objectives.

Managing risks for travel to a country where the organization has no local base is likely to require more comprehensive controls than for locations where treatments and mitigations have already been established because risk profiles are better known and understood.

Travel risk management is generally not as well developed as other organizational risks.

A new member of ISO 31000 family

A new standard has been developed to assist organizations in managing their travel risks:

“ISO 31030 Travel risk management – Guidance for organizations”

The standard provides guidance to organizations on how to manage the risk(s) to the organization and its travellers as a result of undertaking travel.

The standard provides a structured approach to the development, implementation, evaluation and review of its travel risk management policy and programme, and the assessment and treatment of travel risks.

ISO 31030 is based on the principles, framework and process of ISO 31000:2018. Some organization’s do not have a holistic approach in place to manage risk.  But even for those that do, travel-related risk presents a specific context, and the organisation’s existing process may need to be adapted to reflect this.  ISO 31030 is also aligned with the core principles of ISO 45001:2018 concerning occupational health and safety management.  

The standard is applicable to any type of organization, irrespective of sector or size, including but not limited to:

—   commercial organizations;

—   charitable and not-for-profit organizations;

—   governmental organizations;

—   non-governmental organizations;

—   educational organizations.

However, the standard does not apply to tourism and leisure-related travel.

One of the aims of the standard is to promote a culture where travel-related risk is taken seriously, resourced adequately, and managed effectively. This should ensure that the benefits to the organization and relevant stakeholders are recognized and realized. Such benefits include:

—   protecting personnel, data, intellectual property and assets;

—   reducing legal and financial exposure;

—   enabling business in high risk locations;

—   enhancing an organization’s reputation and credibility – leading to a positive effect on competitiveness, staff turnover and talent acquisition;

—  improve worker confidence in travel-related health, safety and security arrangements

—   contributing to business continuity capability and organizational resilience;

—   demonstrating the organization’s ability to control its travel-related risks effectively and efficiently – it can also help in lowering its insurance premiums;

—   providing assurance to business partners – banks and investors will be more willing to finance its business;

—   enabling the organization to meet customers’ expectations in terms of the security and stability of their supply chain;

—   increasing general productivity; and

—   contributing to meeting the sustainable development goals by strengthening the social dimension of sustainability.

The standard was developed by a working group (WG7) of the Technical Committee ISO/TC 262. Kevin Myers was the Convenor of WG7 and secretarial support was provided by David Adamson from the UK BSI.

The work started in June 2018 and the standard was published in September 2021.