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Using Management Systems to Add Structure to The Program

There are four international standards that allow an organization to cover the basic topics involved in an organizational sustainability program. They include:

  1. Environmental Management (ISO 14001:2015)

  2. Health and Safety Management (ISO 45001:2018)

  3. Energy Management (ISO 50001:2018)

  4. Social Responsibility Guidance (ISO 26000:2010)

In 2012, the International Organization for Standardization created what they refer to as a “high-level structure”. Each management system standard now covers the same six topic areas:

  1. Internal and External Context

  2. Leadership and Mandate

  3. Planning and Risk Management

  4. Implementation of the Program

  5. Performance Measurement

  6. Improvement, Innovation and Learning

Anyone with experience with these ISO standards can create a fully integrated sustainability management system and use it in their organization to address organizational sustainability. Many companies use these ISO standards and require that they be used at the operating facilities and in the supply chain. In most cases they are not integrated and are used as an ISO activity instead of the kind of approach to organizational sustainability8 as detailed in ISO Guide 82:2019 (“Guidelines for Addressing Sustainability in Standards”).

Information on the use of the procedural items presented above are found in the textbook that I wrote for my “Fundamentals of Organizational Sustainability” course taught online at the Harvard University Division of Continuing Education. The book is “Organizational Risk Management and Sustainability: A Practical Step-by-Step Guide.” I am expecting to have a second edition in print early in 2022.

One of the new ISO program enhancements is that you will no longer required to have an independent audit performed on the integrated sustainability program. Using trained employees, you can ”self-declare” and self-certify the organization’s sustainability .program. Using a maturity matrix for each element in the integrated sustainability management described above.

I will be presenting additional blogs on the utility of this integrated organizational sustainability program. This will include several different management systems that can be used to further enhance your safety management system.

Dr. Bob Pojasek

Sustainability Legend | ESG Reporting & Disclosures | Uncertainty Risk | Pollution Prevention Expert | Process Improvement | Organizational Sustainability Reporting | Sustainable Procurement Professor

Chairman, Education and Research Executive Board (EREB)

VCARE Academy Inc.

Managing Director

Center for Corporate Performance & Sustainability


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