What is ISO 14090:2019? – Use it for adaptation to climate change

With so much in the media about the impact of climate change over the past year, such as high temperatures, floods, droughts, storm and wildfires.

What can we do to help to adapt to these new climate change conditions for our business?

This article looks at ISO 14090:2019 on adaptation to climate change, which contains principles, requirements, and guidelines to help support your adaptation to climate change.

In November 2016, the Paris Agreement came into force to limit global temperature rise and it established a global adaptation goal of “enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change, with a view to contributing to sustainable development and ensuring an adequate adaptation response in the context of the temperature goal”.

To fully implement the Paris Agreement, we will need to take strong action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet the Paris Agreement goals of holding global warming this century to well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C. This would limit the impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities and ecosystems.

ISO 14090 focuses on the climate change adaptation, which is the process of adjustment to actual or expected climate and its effects by building climate resilience into the fundamentals of business practice. An example of an adaptation would be the building of flood defence to protect new domestic housing so that they are significantly above the current flood levels to allow for housing resilience to the increasing climate change affecting rainfall and high flood events.

These adaptation changes are more likely to be successful in the short- to medium-term but may have additional long-term benefits but Government and businesses will need to take a longer-term view for planning incorporating climate change into their strategy thinking.

The approach in ISO 14090 is relevant to all sizes and types of organizations where their activities, products and services might be threatened by, or in some cases able to take advantage of, climate change.

ISO 14090 has been purposely structured as a non-linear approach allows to allow organizations to adopt its structure no matter what stage they are at in climate change adaptation, from those just starting out to those already engaged in adaptation to those choosing to lead the way.

My perspective is to view this approach as a circular process, much like to Plan-Do-Check-Act process in ISO 14001. The approach comprises stages for pre-planning, assessing impacts including opportunities, adaptation planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation & reporting and communication.

The approach is iterative to support continual learning and improvement processes to allow organizations to dive into the approach at the relevant stage to their needs, move back and forth between multiple elements, depending upon the challenges they face and the lessons they learn from delivery experience.

To further support your climate change adaptation projects, there are other International Standards in the ISO 14090 series; ISO 14091:2021 Adaptation to climate change – Guidelines on vulnerability, impacts and risk assessment & ISO/TS 14092:2020 Adaptation to climate change — Requirements and guidance on adaptation planning for local governments and communities.

So, to summarise:

ISO 14090:2019 can provide a methodology to assist in your adaptation to climate change. It contains principles, requirements, and guidelines, which can help you to adapt to this new climate emergency.

You can purchase a copy of ISO 14090:2019 from your National Standardisation Body with a selection of the main Standards Bodies given in the table below:

Standards BodyWebsite
Standards Canadahttps://global.ihs.com/
Standards Australiahttps://www.techstreet.com/

If you want to go deeper into climate change adaptation, there is an ISO Whitepaper: How to use ISO 14090 to support ISO 14001 and adaptation to Climate Change. The Whitepaper gives you a clear roadmap to use ISO 14090 to support your climate change adaptation and the opportunity to drive this adaptation using your existing Environmental Management System based on ISO 14001:2015. You can download the ISO Whitepaper here or watch our YouTube video here.

If this article has helped to advance your understanding of climate change adaptation and the use of ISO 14090, please leave a comment in the box below, if this episode has help you.

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