Addressing Climate Change in the Supply Chain

Many supplier organizations are being asked by their customers to include climate change in their management system standards. The ISO Climate Change Coordination Task Force developed a guide (July 2020) to assist in fulfilling this request. ISO Guide 84, Guidelines for Addressing Climate Change in Standards, helps provide useful information that will fit in with the integration of the other ISO standards that have been mentioned in a previous blog.

Climate change is defined as the “change in the state of the climate that can be identified by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties, and that persists for an extended period – typically decades or longer.” It is leading to a large scale, long-term shift in weather patterns and average temperatures. Both natural processes and human activity can cause climate change. ISO Guide 84 is a useful reference for all organizational sustainability programs, because this is a topic that many stakeholders want to engage with.

Climate change is known as a formidable challenge with regards to the goal of sustainable development. Most organizational sustainability programs address the formal definition of sustainability but stop short of the contribution to current and future actions which address any state of the global system in which the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Some large customers that you do business with may make a “contribution” to one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to directly assist the supplier in working with these SDGs. By assisting a supplier, the large customer can take advantage of the acknowledgement of a contribution to sustainable development while the supplier reduces the amount of greenhouse gasses generated within the supply chain.

Companies that use integrated standards to create a commitment to organizational sustainability are encouraged to consider climate change issues in their work. There are number of guides available on the Internet to help them do so.

There are ISO standards and guidelines that are specifically designed to be used by small- and medium-sized enterprises. There are also small business guides for many of the ISO standards that can be used in the sustainability standard.

Within the climate change area, there are two major foci: climate change mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Suppliers that are new to climate change realize that there are new opportunities for the large customer to respond to these issues in ways not previously considered or contemplated.

Presented By:

Robert B. Pojasek,


Chairman, Education and Research Executive Board (EREB)

Managing Director

Center for Corporate Performance & Sustainability

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