2018: A year of ISO standards revisions and transitions

2018: A year of ISO standards revisions and transitions

by Ashleigh Cunningham – Wednesday, 14 February 2018

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The ISO industry can expect several interesting changes and challenges, during the course of  2018.

There are a number of standards that have been revised and are impending release in months to come; there are also deadlines for transitioning from compliance of old versions of standards, to the new.

What to expect in 2018

Deadline to transition: ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015

First and foremost, the deadline to transition from the old versions to the new ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 standards are both set for 14 September 2018. This means that all companies complying to previous versions of the standards must update their management system and become recertified.

Missing the deadline to transition would mean beginning the certification process from scratch – starting with a Stage 1 audit. Losing your certification would invariably result in missing out on bids and not meeting customer requirements.

The impending release of standards in 2018

ISO standards are required to face a periodic review, in order to remain relevant to the current market circumstances, the ever advancing world and to adapt according to recommendations and requirements of the people who utilise the standards. The aim is to ensure that the standards remain a useful tool for all types of businesses and organisations around the world.

There are a number of standards that have been under revision and are impending final publication, during the course of 2018. The significance of this is in the fact that many of them have been written against the new High Level Structure (with the exception of ISO 50001).

What's at the heart of the revised standards

The new High Level Structure (HLS), has been a guiding influence for a large majority of the latest revisions and releases of ISO standards. The primary purpose of the HLS is to provide a common framework for the writing of standards – subclause titles, text, common terms and core definitions. Another is to introduce what is called a risk-based approach, which places requirements for the planning and anticipation of risks and opportunities, which are derived from the context of the organisation (identified internal and external factors). The HLS has also been written in such a way as to make it easier for organisations to successfully implement an integrated management system – for instance, a SHEQ system.

Standards expected to be released in 2018

  • ISO 19011:2018 Guidelines for auditing management systems
  • ISO 22000:2018 Food safety management systems — Requirements for any organization in the food chain
  • ISO 31000:2018 Risk management — Principles and guidelines
  • ISO 45001:2015 Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements
  • ISO 50001:2018 Energy management systems – Requirements with guidance for use

ISO 19011:2018 Guidelines for auditing management systems

The ISO 19011 standard provides the guidelines necessary to perform effective audits – particularly for organisations using an integrated management system. This assists in ensuring continuous improvement, allowing for harmonisation across systems and a uniform approach of the auditing process, where there are multiple systems in place.

The revised version of ISO 19011 is due to be published mid-2018. This comes with the desire to better reflect an organisation’s needs, as well as to integrate the new High Level Structure Framework. The revised standard places a fair amount of focus on the Risk-based approach:

“Risk-based approach: an audit approach that considers risks and opportunities. The risk-based approach should substantively influence the planning, conducting, and reporting of audits in order to ensure that audits are focused on matters that are significant for the auditee and for achieving the audit program objectives.”

ISO 22000:2018 Food safety management systems -- Requirements for any organization in the food chain

The ISO 22000 family of International Standards addresses food safety management.

The latest revision aims to consolidate the most recent issues surrounding food safety to suit the current landscape of the food sector. It will clarify key concepts, improve the readability and usability of the standard, ensure the standard suits the needs of SMEs and be relevant for all actors in the food supply chain. The new standard will also have an increased compatibility with other management system standards, by adopting the HLS common structure and terminology.

ISO 22000:2018 – Expected Changes

The major proposed changes to ISO 22000 include modifications to its structure as well as clarifying key concepts

  • The (HLS): making it easier for businesses to integrate multiple management system standards.
  • The risk-based approach: The standard will distinguish between risk at the operational level (through the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point approach (HACCP)), as well at the strategic level of the management system and its ability to reach its specified goals as such.
  • The PDCA cycle: the standard clarifies the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, by having two separate cycles in the standard working together: one covering the management system and the other, covering the principles of HACCP.
  • The operation process: a clear description is given of the differences between key terms such as: Critical Control Points (CCPs), Operational Prerequisite Programmes (OPRPs) and Prerequisite Programmes (PRPs).

If the revision progresses according to plan, the standard will be published in October / November 2018, as ISO 22000:2018.

ISO 31000:2018 Risk management -- Principles and guidelines

The purpose of the revision to ISO 31000 is to make things easier and clearer for people adopting the standard. This is achieved by using a simple language to express the fundamentals of risk management in a way that is coherent and understandable to users.

The standard provides guidelines on the benefits and values of effective and efficient risk management. It should help organisations better understand and deal with the uncertainties they face in the pursuit of their objectives.

The release of the ISO 31000:2018 standard was originally expected in early 2018 but will likely be published later in the year.

ISO 45001:2015 Occupational health and safety management systems - Requirements

ISO 45001 provides a framework to improve employee safety, reduce workplace risks and create better, safer working conditions, all over the world.

The standard is set to follow other generic management system approaches such as ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015. It will take into account other International Standards in the Occupational Health and Safety field, such as OHSAS 18001, the International Labour Organization’s ILO-OSH Guidelines, various national standards and the ILO’s international labour standards and conventions.

The final draft of the standard was approved in January 2018 and final publication is expected in March 2018.

ISO 50001:2018 Energy management systems – Requirements with guidance for use

The ISO 50001 standard has been identified by world leaders as a key tool for climate action. Although not written against the new HLS, this standard specifies requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving an effective Energy Management System. The aim is to enable an organization to follow a systematic approach in achieving continual improvement of energy performance, including energy efficiency, use and consumption.

“There are other improvements in the 2018 version to help ensure that the key concepts related to energy performance are clear for small and mid-sized businesses (SMEs).” – Deann Desai, Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Convenor of the working group.

ISO suggest that “this is important in encouraging uptake of the use of management system standards by SMEs, which sometimes assume that the benefits of International Standards mostly apply to multinational businesses. That’s not the case, with SMEs around the world using ISO standards to build customer confidence and reduce costs across all aspects of their business, including meeting regulation requirements.” – New draft of ISO 50001 energy management standard

Publication of the new edition of ISO 50001 as an International Standard is currently planned for November/December 2018.

How to approach the year

Our previous blog post, spoke about the need for corporate governance, as well as the significant role that ISO standards play in contributing to it and sustainable business practice. We elaborated on the concepts of Good Governance, Risk-based thinking, Sustainability and Leadership.

The task of influencing and driving change within your organisation might be a daunting one but we’d like to express that there are actually ways to take advantage of the benefits offered by the changes. There are also several means by which to make it through the challenges that go in hand with the developments.

Our article on “How to be a better leader in quality: guiding and influencing top management” is a perfect example of this.

ISO also provide a nice resource: “Guidance for SMEs using ISO 9001 for quality management

Useful Links

Let us know what you and your organisation are doing to create a sustainable future for our world. You can do this by typing a comment in the field below!

Feel free to contact us via email (info@erudio.global) or via one of the social media platforms.

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Corporate Governance: How to build organisations and nations with ISO standards

Corporate Governance: How to build organisations and nations with ISO standards

by Ashleigh Cunningham – Wednesday, 6 December 2017

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Governance, economic stability, basic infrastructure, health, education and security – these are all factors that, when positively embraced, allow for successfully building organisations and nations.

With the world becoming increasingly interconnected, through modern information, communications and transportation technologies, many people are shifting their mindsets towards becoming Global Citizens – belonging to a world-wide community. ISO standards are a great way for organisations to ensure that they align themselves with the ideals and demands of both the consumer and the business environment, that collectively represent society.

The Global Citizens’ Initiative suggest that a “global citizen is someone who identifies with being part of an emerging world community and whose actions contribute to building this community’s values and practices.”

With a move towards an increased importance of accountability, both consumers and manufacturers are realising the impacts of their choices and actions. Consumers are raising their expectations towards environmental responsibility and seek ethical practice in the business community. Organisations, more than ever, need to adapt the nature in which they conduct business, in order to transform their global impact for the positive, and build trust in their brands, products and services.

This shift is something that ISO standards are able to assist organisations in achieving, ensuring that the potential impacts of the organisation are considered at a strategic level. ISO standards make the cost of doing business quantifiable, which means more responsive and responsible planning towards future growth and meeting consumer expectations. The standards enable transparency about products and best practices for limiting an organisation’s impacts on the environment and the environment’s impact on the organisation.

In past months, we’ve published blog posts on topics surrounding the importance of Good Governance, Sustainability and Leadership, in various industries and environments. This month, we place our focus on combining these factors in order to build the organisation and to build the nations of the world.

Common Understanding

The periodic review of ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 has, on this occasion, coincided with a demand by society for more responsible governance to be demonstrated by organisation leaders. This has become uniform through the introduction of the High Level Structure (ISO Directive 1 Annex SL), which seeks to bring consistency in the writing of the ISO management system standards, as well as making it easier for organisations to simultaneously comply to multiple standards or work with an integrated Management System.

One of the little understood benefits offered by the revised ISO standards is the introduction of the Governance Framework. This enables organisations to manage the consistency of business processes, at a strategic level, whilst satisfying the requirements of interested parties, including customers and regulatory bodies. The framework allows management to deal with risk and opportunity, associated with the context and objectives of the organisation – which simultaneously highlights opportunities for improvements and business assurance  through 3rd party audits and certification.

From an ISO 14001:2015 perspective, the Governance Framework also assists organisations in dealing with their contribution towards sustainable development – particularly within the environmental, social and economic realms. This is useful in the protection of the environment, as well as balancing socio-economic conditions against responses to changing environmental conditions.

…governance is the system and process concerned with ensuring the overall direction, effectiveness, supervision and accountability of an organization.” – ISO Secretary-General, Sergio Mujica

Good Governance

Victoria Hurth, Co-Convenor of the ISO/TC 309 working group and ISO’s member in the UK, said: “The benefits of good governance are well evidenced. As well as reducing the risk of bad surprises that can destroy an organization, a well-governed organization is more trusted and attracts talent, which in turn drives performance and investment. The proposed new standard has the potential to increase the number of socially, environmentally and economically sustainable organizations, providing multiple benefits for investors and society as a whole.”

Risk based Thinking

Another addition to the recently revised standards is the concept of ‘Risk-based thinking’,  synonymous with the Plan-Do-Check-Act Continuum. This means that an organisation’s top management are expected to demonstrate that they have applied their minds to ensure enterprise-wide threats are properly dealt with. This preventive approach to managing an organisation is therefore expected to permeate all functions and levels of the organisation. In so doing, the likelihood and severity of risk events are significantly reduced and confidence is offered to interested parties.

Risk-based thinking, although not always explicit in the requirements of the standards, needs to be uniformly applied wherever possible. For example, when planning audits, the organisation using risk-based thinking will plan to scrutinise the areas of underperformance more closely. This may reflect in more frequent visits to these areas or perhaps audits of longer duration in these areas.

Similarly, when controlling the performance of suppliers, the organisation will increase the level of control associated with the suppliers of higher impact on its own business goals.

This way of thinking urges the organisation to prioritise its intentions when dealing with matters of governance.


“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” – Brundtland Report

As we wrote in our blogpost on Sustainable Development, businesses and organisations have an important relationship with the society and environment in which they exist. Whilst some don’t realise this relationship exists, others strive to ensure that the delicate balance of the relationship is maintained. Without doing so, the business or organisation might actually cease to exist.

The fragility is owing to the fact that organisations need to exist amongst the healthy tension of:

  • their economic contribution,
  • society’s demands of them, and
  • with minimal impact on the natural environment.

Whilst balancing these needs, leadership teams also need to consider the impact that the environment (both natural and other) might have on the organisation – hence the importance of Risk-based thinking.

Sustainability needs to be considered both within and outside of the perimeters of the organisation.

Amongst many relevant and important factors to consider in the sustainability of an organisation is the need for a quality culture (specific to ISO 9001:2015). The standard speaks to the need for a quality culture and specifies conditions that ensure that behaviour may be assessed throughout the management structure, at all levels and functions. This approach calls for the correct attitude and approach to be demonstrated by the people under the organisation’s control. More detail on this topic may be found in ISO 9004 Managing for the sustained success of an organization — A quality management approach

As mentioned above, the ISO 14001:2015 emphasises the importance for sustainable development.  Its obligations, moral and for conformity to ISO 14001, demand that the organisation influence aspects over which the organisation does not necessarily have direct control. For example, an organisation may use raw materials produced by a supplier that acts irresponsibly. The supplier may employ illegal or inappropriate labour practices that could become public knowledge. The organisation purchasing from such a supplier, through association, will be contributing to the existence of the unscrupulous and may consequently compromise its own brand.

So too do consumers have great responsibility towards being aware not only of their consumption patterns but also about where and how the products/services that they utilise, are produced.

Key Takeaways

All individuals with an interest in an organisation need to be aware that they are accountable for their involvement with the provision of products / services, as well as the consumption of these.

Great focus, on a strategic level, needs to be placed on concepts such as Good Governance, Sustainability and Leadership. Without these, the sustainability of the organisation, as well as its reputation is at risk.

What can you do?

Erudio Global offer Self-Study Introductory courses on both ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015. Each of these courses cover the content of the standards, as well as what is required of the individuals associated with the running of an organisation.

You can find these courses and their synopsis by following this link: https://www.erudio.global/course/index.php

Let us know what you and your organisation are doing to create a sustainable future for our world. You can do this by typing a comment in the field below!

Feel free to contact us via email (info@erudio.global) or via one of the social media platforms.

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How to be a Better Leader in Quality: Guiding and Influencing Top Management

How to be a Better Leader in Quality: Guiding and Influencing Top Management

by Ashleigh Cunningham – Thursday, 2 November 2017

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Leadership within the context of ISO

Leadership is one of the seven principles on which ISO 9001:2015 is built.

ISO 9000:2015 states the terms, principles, definitions etc. used within the ISO 9001 standard. To paraphrase section 2.3.2. Leadership, page 4: Leadership establishes a unity of purpose and direction, which creates conditions in which the people of the organisation are engaged in achieving the set quality objectives ( This is done in order to ensure that the organisation achieves its objectives, by aligning its strategies, policies, processes and resources (

leader on computer

Potential Key Benefits ( are noted as:

  • An increase in effectiveness and efficiency in meeting quality objectives
  • Improved coordination of processes
  • Better communication amongst various organisational levels and functions
  • Improved capability towards delivered results, by both the organisation and its people

The following is directly quoted from ISO 9000:2015 (Page 5) – Possible actions ( include:

  • communicate the organization’s mission, vision, strategy, policies and processes throughout the organization;
  • create and sustain shared values, fairness and ethical models for behaviour at all levels of the organization;
  • establish a culture of trust and integrity;
  • encourage an organization-wide commitment to quality;
  • ensure that leaders at all levels are positive examples to people in the organization;
  • provide people with the required resources, training and authority to act with accountability;
  • inspire, encourage and recognize the contribution of people.

Leadership in ISO 9001:2015

Clause 5 in the latest revision of the ISO 9001 standard speaks to what is required of leaders. In this revision (ISO 9001:2015), there is an emphasised demand for a demonstration of commitment to the Quality Management System (QMS) and leadership.

  • Accountability for the QMS by Top Management
  • Aligning the Quality Policy and Objectives with the business’ strategic direction
  • Requirement for the QMS to become an integral part of the business processes
  • A need for Top Management to stress the importance of an effective QMS
  • Engage, direct and support people in their contribution to ‘the effectiveness of the QMS’

Top Management

Evidence to show that these requirements have been satisfied, through a more hands-on approach by Top Management, will generate a new paradigm in many organisations. This is especially true for organisations who have previously sought the ‘trophy’ of an ISO 9001 certificate, without being truly committed to the implementation of its principles.

Top Management are required to create a Quality Policy Statement that is unique to the organisation’s purpose and context, whilst tying up with the objectives of the business. This reinforces leadership.

Organisational roles, responsibilities and authorities

  • Obligates top management to assign, communicate and create understanding of responsibilities and authorities.
  • Change means that some obligations are now requirements for Top Management and other obligations can be dealt with by several other designations.
  • Quality Management now takes centre stage when working through business processes.

If you consider the changes to the ISO 9001 Standard, due to the new High Level Structure, Clauses 4.1 and 4.2 speak to context. This identifies the need to establish that the internal and external context is relevant to the strategic direction and outcomes of the QMS. Individuals involved in strategic thinking need to connect the management system arrangements with the strategic objectives and thoughts, at a strategic level. Through leadership’s demonstration of commitment to this, a quality culture can be established.

Industry's idea of a leader in the Quality profession

Neil Anderson, Managing Director at Caterpillar Skinningrove, says that “Leadership style is simply the pattern of behaviour a manager or leader adopts to plan, organise motivate and control.”

Management meetingIt appears to be a mutual understanding, within the quality industry, that there needs to be a change in leadership style – for top management and for quality representatives, across industries.

As suggested in the new revision of the ISO 9001 standard, Top Management are now held responsible and accountable for the QMS. It is often a fairly difficult task for a Quality representative to even approach Top Management with anything related to the requirements of ISO 9001:2015. This task can be made simpler when the Quality representative possesses the ability to convey facts, in a dynamic and meaningful way.

In past times Quality representatives have been viewed as the people with clipboards – host to the dreaded checklist that might catch you out for something that ‘could be improved upon’. There is therefore plenty room for a shift in mindset!

External risks and influences, such as politics, market volatility and brand management make for uncertain times. It is therefore imperative that a quality culture is adopted and an understanding is gained of the value it adds to ANY organisation – both small and large.

This also means that a focus on identifying and engaging with stakeholders needs to occur, as a business principle. This will guide the strategic direction and highlight potential limitations that might be incurred.

How can I get Management to buy-in and engage?

Business people - meetingLeaders in Quality have a responsibility to ignite a passion and desire for a quality culture, through good leadership and positivity.

Engagement, influence, help and support are imperative to driving and delivering quality initiatives. So too are competencies such as effective communication and interpersonal skills, leadership qualities, technical ability, planning and organisation skills and adeptness in problem solving also go a long way towards gaining buy-in and ownership from Top Management.

In addition to these generic leadership skills, the Quality representitive needs to learn to speak the language of business, in addition to being fluent in the language of quality. The beginning of this process is through an understanding of the business context, as well as the underlying needs and desires of the management team.

Top management wants to know the status of the organisation’s progress and performance. This encapsulates the entire value-chain – in particular the risks and opportunities. Reports that guide significant and sustainable change (with a focus on the most critical risks and opportunities) allow for a governance approach to exist at the heart of the business and provides assurance and evidence of the potential resulting benefits.

Quality representatives also need to adopt a structured approach. This is an approach that utilises the Management System to identify the current and future business risks and opportunities. It’s important to utilise this data, together with corrective actions and projected costs and savings, as a part of the business processes.

As the individual responsible for this activity, you have the opportunity to differentiate the brand, improve processes, reduce cost and waste of resources, as well as eliminate or reduce the risks that the organisation faces.

The quality culture should be something that every individual within the organisation lives and breathes. The audits, monitoring, document control, etc. are merely tools to ensure that the QMS works as it should.

Tools to Use

Through our ISO 9001:2015 Introduction and Overview (Self-Study) you will be able to gain a clear understanding of what is required of each party within the organisation, as well as the requirements of the latest revision of the ISO 9001:2015 standard.

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ISO Standards Make Cities Smarter

World Standards Day 2017: ISO Standards Make Cities Smarter

World Standards Day 2017: ISO Standards Make Cities Smarter

by Ashleigh Cunningham – Wednesday, 3 October 2017

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World Standards Day takes place on the 14th of October each year – 2017’s theme is titled: “Standards make cities smarter.”

Cities across the globe face challenges that are unique to each of them and that require a mixture of solutions, in order to optimise city functions, drive economic growth and improve the quality of life for its citizens. Becoming a Smart City is amongst the largest of the challenges a city faces. The demand for sustainability is becoming increasingly more prominent and expectations towards consistent and high quality delivery is growing.

But, what does it mean to be a ‘Smart City’? How can this be achieved and what does the journey towards it entail? Has anyone ever done this before?

The good news is that ISO have written thousands of standards that work towards creating solutions for the many demands and challenges faced in the world that we live in.


Cities are required to place focus on many demands. Some clear examples of tasks to be handled would be to maintain and/or manage: sufficient fresh water supply; energy supply; transport infrastructure; combatting pollution; waste management; housing solutions; job security; social development; and, food supply.

It is said that by 2050 an estimated 66% of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Ensuring that these populations receive the basic resources necessary for survival will be a challenge, hence the need to increase the efficiency in which they operate and manage their resources, significantly.

What makes a city smart?

A smart city is a municipality that uses information and communication technologies to increase operational efficiency, share information with the public and improve both the quality of government services and citizen welfare.” Sharon Shea and Ed Burns, internetofthingsagenda.techtarget.com

It doesn’t necessarily take a special kind of leader and/or management team, to increase focus on creating a more effective and efficient city. What needs to take place is a shift in thinking – moving from a point of simple compliance, over to finding innovative and sustainable solutions that meet the goals written into legislation and into standards.

What makes Smart Cities exciting is that the responsibility isn’t held only by the governing bodies but requires an effort from the entire community – businesses and consumers alike.

Although it is a difficult task to make the shift, the good news is that it is do-able and it has been done before, by others. Any aspect of city management can be incorporated into smart city initiatives, which means there is a need for a buy-in by all stakeholders.

Smart cities and innovations

Smart City initiatives cover an even broader scope than one would think – working with the basic tasks (mentioned above) and some of the most innovative designs and solutions to exist, thus far.

In many cities, the Transportation arena now encompasses smart traffic management to monitor and assess the flow of traffic. This works on such things as reducing congestion during rush-hour traffic and optimising the energy efficiency of streetlights. There are cities that are coming up with solutions to address issues surrounding carbon emissions. Examples of this would be Germany’s zero-emission train and the increasing number of bike-friendly cities.

Environmental concerns, regarding climate change and air pollution, have lead to some incredible innovations through smart buildings, by a French architectural firm – Vincent Callebaut Architectures. Existing infrastructure can be retrofitted and new buildings can be monitored through real-time sensor technology, in order to detect when maintenance needs to be done. This technology can monitor pipe systems and reduce cost and wastage by improving efficiency and maintenance.

Read the full article here:  https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/08/this-twisting-taiwan-tower-block-has-nearly-has-many-plants-as-central-park/

Further innovations have popped up in the form of improved urban farming. Two examples are Panasonic’s indoor farm and Kimbal Musk’s shipping container farm in NYC. Both of these innovations seek to resolve the issues surrounding a shortage of arable land and as a solution to less space and water usage. Kimbal Musk’s project also serves as an incubator for entrepreneurs – not only teaching people to farm but also about how to run a sustainable and successful business.

“Today’s consumer wants to know they are supporting companies that are doing something good for the world,” Co-founder Tobias Peggs


Sustainability is at the heart of building Smarter Cities and is also close to the hearts of those writing and developing ISO standards. ISO standards support sustainable development and serves many fields through expert knowledge and a drive for best practice.

Standards assist in the creation of smart cities by providing frameworks for harmonising technology and terminology, guiding and benefiting all stakeholders – industry, regulators and consumers. They ensure that continuous improvement in quality and performance are at the forefront of product and service delivery. This assists consumers in comparing and choosing the best solutions available and opens doors for growth and opportunity.

ISO recognises that there’s an urgent need for the fostering of innovative and sustainable practices. This is encouraged and simplified through the assistance of integration of systems and processes, throughout every aspect of the city.

“International Standards make things work safely and smoothly together at every level in cities.” – World Standards Cooperation

Which standards are related?

Amongst ISO’s thousands of standards are 8 published and 14 draft ISO standards, relating to Sustainable Cities and Communities. The Scope for these standards includes “development of requirements, frameworks, guidance and supporting techniques and tools related to the achievement of sustainable development considering smartness and resilience, to help all Cities and Communities and their interested parties in both rural and urban areas become more sustainable.”iso.org

ISO/TC 268 are responsible for this series of standards and directly contributes to the United Nations Agenda 2030: 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The Sustainable Cities and Communities series aims to encourage the development and implementation of holistic and integrated approaches to sustainable development and sustainability.

Standards that place focus on sustainability

  • ISO 14000 family – Environmental Management
  • ISO 21930 – Sustainability in buildings and civil engineering works
  • ISO 26000 – Social Responsibility
  • ISO 37101 – Sustainable Development in Communities


It is imperative for the sustainability of our world’s future, that we make the move towards becoming Smart Cities. Leaders all across the world have bought into this initiative and way of working but it’s time for the global citizens to buy-in to this way of working and existing, too.

Businesses need to turn to ISO’s standards in order to receive the guidance required for conceptualising, developing and implementing systems and processes that are innovative and ‘smart’.

Points to assist in your journey through Smart City initiatives

  • Ensure that you are building the right framework for not only your organisation and/or brand’s future but also for the future of mankind.
  • Seek out technology and innovations that can assist you in the journey toward becoming a contributor to developing Smart Cities.
  • Choose your partners in this journey wisely. It is extremely difficult to work with someone who is unwilling to adapt to future circumstances.
  • Cheaper does not mean it is better – do a full investigation into what you’re buying into. Choose solutions that are future-proof and offer return on investment for years to come. This might be financial reward or a significant contribution to the global future.
  • Make sure that communication and transparency are at the centre of your actions. With a greater understanding about the goals you’re working towards, as well as what the benefits will ultimately be, you are more likely to get a greater buy-in from all stakeholders involved.

Let us know what you and your organisation are doing to create a sustainable future for our world. You can do this by typing a comment in the field below!

Feel free to contact us via email (info@erudio.global) or via one of the social media platforms.

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Sustainable Development

ISO 26000 and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

ISO 26000 and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

by Ashleigh Cunningham – Wednesday, 6 September 2017

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Businesses and organisations have an important relationship with society and the environment in which they exist. Whilst some don’t realise this relationship exists, others strive to ensure that the delicate balance of the relationship is maintained. Without doing so, the business or organisation might actually cease to exist.

The reason for this fragility is simply because the business or organisation invariably exists as a direct result of and will be of direct impact on the society and environment surrounding them.

With these points in mind, it is clear that we exist in a world where society demands attention to be payed to sustainable development and social responsibility.

“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” – Brundtland Report

Sustainable Development

For a clear understanding of the factors driving sustainable development we need to gain context by understanding the larger forces at play on the development of the latest Directives from ISO.

Over the past 100 years society, represented by governments, interest groups, and world bodies, have been acting in an attempt to prevent or better deal with catastrophic events such as:

  • Deepwater_Horizon_offshore_drilling_unit_on_fire_2010

    Massive environmental disasters, including the Exxon Valdes wreck which, in 1989, spilled 40 million litres of crude oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound. Another is the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, that killed 11 in the initial explosion in July 2010, and went on to pump 757 million litres of oil into the Gulf of Mexico for a total of 87 days, affecting 25 750 km of coastline.
  • Massive health impacts, including the Union Carbide methyl isocyanate gas leak during December 1984 in Bhopal India that caused 20 000 deaths and left almost 500 000 people with permanent physical damage.
  • Irresponsible labour practices which have destroyed lives and share value, including the employment of forced and child labour in the east during 1998. NIKE had to spend $1.13 billion recovering its tarnished reputation.
  • Mismanagement of technical processes, including the Volkswagen scandal who, at one time during 2016, announced that it was setting aside $18.2 billion to deal with the matter.
  • Financial disasters, such as the collapse of Enron, a major electricity, natural gas, communications and pulp and paper group of companies, with claimed revenues of $101 billion during 2000. Through wilful fraud and corruption, Enron was forced to file for bankruptcy in late 2001.

Global Initiatives

A few notable organisations that have been formed to deal with the prevention of these disasters include:

  • Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
  • Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
  • International Labour Organisation (ILO)
  • International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC)

The OECD is comprised of government representatives from around the world whose purpose is to understand what drives economic, social and environmental change. Having been established after the first World War in an attempt to learn from the lessons of the past, their mission is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.

  • OECD signed an MOU with ISO, during May 2008, and have been working closely in an effort to expand existing management system standards to assist organisations address these needs.

The GRI was established during 1997 by the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES), a primary initiator of the ISO 14001 standard. GRI’s main purpose has always been to guide reporting on sustainable development and is best known for pioneering sustainability reporting guidelines.

  • On 5 September 2011, GRI signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ISO with a purpose to cooperate in initiatives driving sustainable development.

The ILO is an agency of the United Nations, established during 1919, whose mission it is to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues.

  • The ILO and British Standards Institute (BSI) initially worked together on generating a guideline that led to the world-wide use of OHSAS 18001. In March 2013, the ILO reached agreement to work together with ISO to develop ISO 45001.

The IIRC is a global coalition of regulators, investors, companies, standard setters, the accounting profession and NGOs. It was established during 2010.

  • IIRC published an International Integrated Reporting Framework during December 2013, which is becoming one of the benchmarks for Integrated Reporting.

We see from these strategic initiatives that ISO represents a broad sector of society in their demand for reporting on social, environmental and economic matters. We refer to this as the triple bottom line.

17 Sustainable Development Goals

2030 is a significant year for the global community as it marks the deadline for the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in September 2015.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a 15-year plan for everyone, everywhere, and demands inclusivity and collaboration, in order to make the 17 SDGs a reality. It is not only orientated toward the developing nations but also the developed ones – it is an Agenda for the entire world.

These SDGs replaces the Millenium Development Goals and each specify targets to be met by the year 2030. The aim of the 17-point to-do list is to transform the world into a better place – alleviating all poverty, fighting inequality and tackling climate change.


Each year, during the month of September, the UN General Assembly meet to discuss the progress and plans surrounding the SDGs. This year the Sustainable Development Impact Summit will be held in New York (18 – 19 September), where the World Economic Forum will work closely with leaders from government, business, academia and civil society. The focus of this year’s gathering is to:

  • Increase the impact of existing multi-stakeholder initiatives
  • Catalyse new partnerships and alliances
  • Explore how the advanced technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution could be better leveraged for sustainable development

This article highlights exactly Which countries are achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals fastest? and which are falling by the wayside. A further report on progress as of 2017 can be found here: Pace of progress must accelerate to achieve the SDGs, finds latest UN progress report

ISO 26000 Social Responsibility

According to ISO, social responsibility, as a movement, began with debates about corporations having a responsibility to society. It is now acknowledged that people, the planet and profits are mutually inclusive. The discussion has traversed the decades and has led to many incredible moments – one of which was the launch of the ISO 26000 standard.

It is important to note that this standard is not certifiable, as it doesn’t contain any requirements. The idea is for the Social Responsibility standard to provide guidance toward safeguarding our future. This encompasses the need to act in an ethical and transparent way that contributes positively to the health and welfare of society at large. It has been created to appeal to those who seek to improve their operating processes and their impacts through socially responsible behaviour. The standard was developed with equal participation from both developed and developing countries and is designed for organisations of all type and size, across the globe.

ISO 26000 has seen thousands of organisations improve their social responsibility strategies, assisting them in managing the supply chain and engaging with stakeholders.

“The ISO standard is developed around clauses and core subjects that set out how organizations should approach social, economic and environmental issues. These help organizations understand, analyse and address issues of social responsibility, defining priorities for action and integrating responsible behaviour through the organization and its relationships.” – ISO.org

The standard has been an inspiration to the setting of many other standards and has objectives that resonate with global initiatives. ISO are in the process of designing an International Workshop Agreement (IWA 26) aimed at helping organizations integrate the social responsibility principles of ISO 26000 with other ISO management systems standards.

Those who are familiar with Environmental Management standards will most likely identify a synergy between ISO 26000 and ISO 14001. ISO 14001 encourages a drive towards sustainable development, focusing a portion on social responsibility.

In conclusion

With an urge for a multi-stakeholder approach – local and regional governments, the private sector and civil society must all become involved in driving habits toward a sustainable future. This means that initiatives must be driven from both the bottom-up and from the top-down. In so many ways, this aligns with ISO’s new High-Level Structure, which means we are already on the correct path.

The Global Reporting Initiative has just published an interview (6 September 2017) with Eurosif’s Executive Director Flavia Micilotta, which explores initiatives that the field of sustainable finance is using to steer us towards a greener and better future. Sustainable investment in Europe at a crossroads: An interview with Flavia Micilotta, Eurosif’s Executive Director

If you would like to know more about how ISO 26000 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals tie up, take a look at this presentation

Another FANTASTIC milestone: Action Platform for Business Reporting on the SDGs. This is the first outcome publication, launched by GRI and the UN Global Compact. Business Reporting on the SDGs: An Analysis of the Goals and Targets

Useful Links

Let us know what you and your organisation are doing to create a sustainable future for our world. You can do this by typing a comment in the field below!

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Water plays an important role in sustainable futures

Water plays an important role in sustainable futures

by Ashleigh Cunningham – Wednesday, 16 August 2017

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“Water is life. Water is health. Water is dignity. Water is a human right” – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

Water is an international commodity and essential for life. It is at the centre of creating a sustainable future – energy production, agriculture and industrial processes, food production, sanitation and health are all pillars of human existence.

Read on to discover how ISO plays a role in Sustainable Water Management.


As most people are aware, 97.5% of the world’s water is salt water, leaving only 2.5% as fresh water. Just over 63% of this fresh water is locked in polar ice caps and glaciers and only 0.5% is accessible through lakes, rivers, aquifers, groundwater and man-made storage in reservoirs. This limited supply is left for agricultural, industrial and personal use, all of which generate wastewater and pollution if improperly managed. Pollution affects the quality of water and means that only 0.007% of the earth’s water is, in fact, safe for consumption.

Water Supply and Quality

The availability of water differs greatly in various parts of the world. At this point in time, 1 in every 10 people have access to clean drinking water and 1 in 3 people lack access to a toilet. Out of the 7 billion people living on earth, 783 million people have limited access to clean water and 2.5 billion people are without access to adequate sanitation.

The lack of clean water and sanitation leads to a massive spread of diseases and causes child deaths, malnutrition and impacts economic growth. This situation is generally encountered by developing nations in Sub-Saharan Africa, South-East Asia and Latin America. Individuals in these communities earn less than $1/day and suffer greatly from degraded and/or dangerous living conditions, inability to educate their children and getting enough food to eat. Women and children in these communities walk for up to 3 hours a day to gather water which is invariably contaminated, exposing them to a variety of germs. A child is lost every 19 seconds to water-related illness (approx. 675 000 children per year).

Water insecurity is causing up to 6% GDP loss in some countries.

Improved sanitation and clean drinking water would improve chances for opportunity and freedom, within these communities and economies. By reducing illness and death, there would be an opportunity for growth and development.

The effects on Water, through Pollution, Drought and Climate Change

2 million tons of industrial waste and chemicals, human waste and agricultural waste is dumped into receiving waters, on a daily basis. The UN estimate that wastewater production is about 1,500 km3. “Assuming that 1 litre of wastewater pollutes 8 litres of freshwater, the present burden of pollution may be up to 12,000 km3 worldwide.”

“Water ensures healthy ecosystems, which improve the quantity and quality of freshwater. as well as overall resilience to human-induced and environmentally induced changes.” – sdg6monitoring.org

Climate change exposes us to new risks: dry regions are becoming drier and others are facing extreme flooding. The effects of climate change are often visible in the shift in water availability. Tropical and sub-tropical regions will probably get lower and more erratic rainfall and frequent extreme weather conditions will result in an increase in floods, droughts, mudslides, typhoons and cyclones. Water is, therefore, an important component in managing risks related to famine, disease epidemics, migration, inequalities, political instability and natural disasters.


“Recent estimates suggest that climate change will account for about 20 percent of the increase in global water scarcity.” – UN, Water for People Water for Life

Challenges to the Global Industry

managementAccording to the UN, the water crisis that we face is due to poor water governance and mismanagement of water as a whole. The crisis not only creates a great burden on the lives of the poor communities but is also experienced by the natural environment, “which is groaning under the mountain of waste dumped onto it daily, and from overuse and misuse, with seemingly little care for the future consequences and future generations” – United Nations.

Statistically speaking, 70% of the world’s water consumption goes to agriculture and 20% to industrial activity. Up to 30% of water in developed cities is lost to leaks.

It takes 1300L of water to produce just 1kg of wheat and 15 500L to produce 1kg of beef. With an increasing population, meat consumption is expected to double by 2050.

A practical example of industry’s threat to Water supply is in the forestry industry. The industry often sees foreign (opposed to indigenous) plant species being utilised, allowing the forester to yield their product. In some instances, particularly within the paper and pulp industry, the trees demand more water than the region is capable of supplying – this can lead to the drying-up of watercourses. As a result, it has become customary for municipalities to monitor the availability of water and to ensure that land use does not compromise the water in the region.

The Role of Water in Sustainable Futures

Oftentimes, we forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one. There is an attitudinal and behavioural issue towards Water, which could be changed through education.

It is our responsibility to find more ways to sustainably manage water and our futures. For example, the opportunities for exploiting wastewater as a resource are enormous. Safely managed wastewater is an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials.

There are a number of organisations – both NGO and Private – who are focused on improving the situation. We have so far mentioned the United Nations and would now like to introduce how ISO Standards play a role in the future of water.

ISO Standards and Water

ISO has over 1200 water-related standards (with even more in the workings), covering a wide variety of issues. These water-related standards benefit the global industry, regulators and water consumers, by providing guidance and practical solutions towards best practice for Sustainable Water Management.

iso-waterThe following list provides just a handful of water-related topics that ISO works with:

  • Water Quality
  • Agriculture and Irrigation
  • Water Footprint
  • Hydrometry
  • Infrastructure
  • Sludge recovery, recycling, treatment and disposal
  • Drinking water supply and wastewater systems
  • Water reuse
  • Piping and valves

Who benefits from water-related ISO Standards?

Industry, regulators and consumers each benefit from ISO’s water-related standards. How, you ask? ISO provides harmonised technology and terminology that guides all stakeholders toward Sustainable Water Management.

Industry: agriculture, manufacturing, construction
Through ISO’s water-related standards, industry sectors are given tools for measuring their use of water, as well as methods to optimise their water use. Further guidance is given towards best practice for treatment and use of wastewater; provision of wastewater services; and, use of water in irrigation.

Regulators: municipalities, inspectors
ISO’s water-related standards set foundations for public policy and address water-related challenges, such as climate change impacts and sanitation. They assist regulators in achieving international and national water management commitments.

Consumers: people and animals
Consumers benefit from industry and regulators making use of ISO standards. They are exposed to improved water quality and supply for drinking, sanitation, cooking or food production and agriculture.

Side-effects of GOOD water practice

It might seem obvious to some but, ultimately, good water practice leads to healthier nations and this leads to healthier economies. It also leads to an improved possibility for a sustainable future.

By having healthy nations, there is an increased performance in terms of productivity. This, of course, leads to improved financial performance and process outcomes, resulting in a growth in customer satisfaction.

A great example can be seen in this video of a Senegalese company who manages the production and distribution of water, to more than 5 million people. The company has improved service delivery and water quality by implementing and integrating a number of ISO Management Systems

Video link: Senegal drinking water increases quality with standards!

Read our post What is ISO? to better understand the benefits of the ISO varios standards.

There is hope!

Decisions we make today will determine our resilience – using the tools at hand and buy-in from leadership, we have the opportunity to shift to a sustainable and resilient future.

We need collaboration and trust amongst stakeholders… Don’t call it sustainability, call it better business.

Key areas that we need to place focus on:

  • Agriculture and Food
  • Energy
  • Urban Water Management
  • Long-term Education Programs
  • Disaster Risk Management
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Adapting to Climate Change
  • Water Security
  • Resilience

World Water Development Report 2015

With the UN’s decade for Water Quality ending in 2015, the group met to discuss how further progress could be made. The “World Water Development Report 2015” was published, in accordance with the World Water Assessment Programme, providing an indication of what achievements are to be expected by 2050.

Video link: Water for a sustainable world: a vision for 2050

According to their video, the following goals will be achieved by 2050:

  • Agro-technology will see less vulnerability through improved irrigation techniques and reliable waste water reuse.
  • Development of sustainable Hydropower installations will provide electricity to hundreds of thousands of people in Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia.
  • People’s water habits will be vastly changed through education.
  • There will be greatly improved scientific and technical knowledge, as well as an increase in sharing of lessons learned and best-practices followed.
  • The world’s major transboundary basins and aquifers will be managed in a collaborative manor, amongst multiple areas involved. This will lead to improvements in quality and ecological conditions, as well as improved relations, capacity and benefit sharing, amongst neighbouring countries.
  • Access to water, sanitation and hygiene will be improved universally, through mass deployment of urban water infrastructure: waterless sanitation will make use of human excreta to provide energy and eliminate pollution to freshwater resources.

The aim is to create a balance between extracted water and water returned to the eco-system. Maximised reuse will be a major contributor to universal access to water.

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Let us know what you and your organisation are doing to create a sustainable future for our world. You can do this by typing a comment in the field below!

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Why is ISO 22000 FSSC important?

Why is ISO 22000 FSSC important?

by Ashleigh Cunningham – Friday, 7 July 2017

Over the past months, there has been great turbulence in the Global Poultry Industry, as unanticipated challenges and risks have arisen. These have arrived in the form of controversy surrounding poultry imports and exports, as well as recent outbreaks of Avian Flu.

For some countries, the situation is worse than others. In this blog post, we’ll be speaking about the South African Poultry Industry, as an example of an industry that benefits greatly from ISO 22000 FSSC.

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Product ‘dumping’

‘Dumping’ of chicken has been an issue for many years and continues to rear its ugly head. Rumours have now done their rounds about poultry product ‘dumping’ by the US, EU and Brazil, in South Africa. Preference towards different parts of a chicken varies across the world. This means that certain pieces have the potential to go to waste. An approach to relieving this waste has come through the export of these surplus poultry products. Domestically, this means that imported chicken is supplied at a much lower cost to that made available locally. According to the South African Department of Trade and Industry, consumers show a preference for brown meat (thighs and drumsticks), whilst the rest of the world prefers the white meat of the bird (breast and wings).

Import / export saga – the risk of competition

Due to the vast difference in currency, the EU are able to sell chicken to South Africa for less than the costs of producing it in South Africa. Unfortunately, this has caused an uproar in the South African Poultry Industry, at a time where many businesses are shutting and thousands of jobs are being lost. Players in the industry have suggested that they’re under siege, making claims that the imported brown meat and bones are being ‘dumped’, in an attempt to sabotage the local business.

The South African government has placed effort into adjusting policies and investigating the downfalls of the South African Poultry Industry – the South African-US AGOA Agreement has been extended for a further 15 years.

An alternative understanding of the situation

Some parties in South Africa disagree with the idea that the import of poultry is reason enough for the industry’s decline, with the total imports to South Africa accounting to a mere 14% of all chicken consumed nationally.

David Wolpert (CEO of the Association Of Meat Importers And Exporters Of South Africa) is said to have requested an inquiry into the South African chicken industry (in early 2017), by writing to the Chair of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry in Parliament.

In his letter, Wolpert suggests that the public of South Africa have in fact been misled by suggestions that blame imports for the decline of the industry. He suggests that this misrepresentation has been driven by greed and puts the safety of South African food at risk. What he has instead attributed factors to, are high-cost of feed (caused by severe drought) and mismanagement of systems and planning.
“For as long as the local industry wilfully deflects scrutiny from its own systemic problem‚ South Africa’s food security remains at risk. That is why I have requested that the Portfolio Committee Chair consider launching an appropriate Parliamentary inquiry into the local chicken industry.” – David Wolpert

Avian Flu – the risk of disease

Besides the threat of international competition, and the worst drought in the country’s history, the first case of H5N8 was confirmed at an Mpumalanga farm, in South Africa, on 22 June 2017.
“H5N8 is a rapidly spreading viral disease that can infect many types of birds. It exists naturally in many birds and can be transmitted by coming into contact with infected animals or through ingestion of infected food or water.” – timeslive.co.za
Adapting from the H5N1 strain in South-East Asia (in late 2003), H5N8 has been rampant during the course of 2016/17. It has resulted in several import bans and the culling of thousands of birds. The effects of this outbreak in South Africa has recently resulted in:
  • The culling of 260 000 birds
  • Limitations on the sale of live birds; and,
  • Temporary bans onexporting of chicken to the southern African region including,  Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Zambia.
For purposes of precaution, buyers or sellers of more than five live chickens (not for slaughter) are expected to adhere to following conditions:
  • All live chicken sellers are to register with the South African Poultry Disease Management Agency (PDMA);
  • Farmers may only sell live chickens certified as healthy by a veterinarian; and,
  • All members of the supply chain are to be kept informed and are required to ensure their counterpart is registered with and adheres to the regulations of the PDMA.
The virus will to not affect humans at this point and are safe-guarded by the industry’s meat testing regulations. – timeslive.co.za
As of 29 June 2017, the South African Poultry Association (SAPA) suggested there had been no signs of decline in chicken sales. They have however stressed a concern toward the potential spreading of the Avian Flu.

From farm to fork – how can companies protect themselves?

Whilst most countries have strict Food Safety Legislation protecting the consumer, an organisation can protect themselves by implementing ISO 22000 FSSC, thus managing food safety risks throughout the supply chain.

What is ISO 22000 FSSC?

As mentioned on our page What is ISO?:
ISO 22000 FSSC provides the requirements for Food Safety Management System, where organisations operating within the food chain desire to demonstrate their ability to control food safety hazards. It applies equally to organisations of any size, involved in any aspect of the food chain and related services.
ISO 22000 combines and supplements the main parts of ISO 9001 and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) management to provide a framework for a Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS). It also shares common principles with other management systems, such as ISO 14001.
Read our post What is ISO? to better understand the benefits of the ISO 22000 standard.

Final thoughts

Although the dilemma facing the South African poultry industry is mainly commercial, having assurance over the food chain becomes a concern to consumers during times of scarcity.

This is a global concern, made evident by the South African scenario.

In particular, the retail and hospitality sectors are sometimes forced to source their products from different ‘untested’ suppliers, during time of scarcity. It is then that ISO 22000 FSSC certification becomes an important differentiator amongst competitors. The assurance it offers to customers and consumers can go a long way to shift focus to organisations that prove compliance.

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Let us know what your thoughts are or if you’ve faced any challenges in the food industry – perhaps you have or would like to implement ISO 22000? If you’re seeking to gain more info on the topic, feel free to get in touch with us.

You can do this by contacting us via email (info@erudio.global) or via one of the social media platforms.

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Transition Planning Guidance: ISO 9001:2015

Transition Planning Guidance: ISO 9001:2015

by Tony Cunningham – Tuesday, 20 June 2017

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There is a lot of discussion in the world regarding the change from ISO 9001:2008 to ISO 9001:2015. This blog post seeks to offer some insight into the published facts,  in order to assist those implicated by the changes. It therefore in no way seeks to direct the actions that are to be taken by interested parties but simply to inform for those who need to plan for the upgrade, to make related decisions.

The International Accreditation Forum (IAF), on the 12 January 2015, published the Informative Document: IAF ID 9:2015, titled Transition Planning Guidance for ISO 9001:2015. The document points to the consensus reached by IAF members and the information relevant to Conformity Assessment Bodies that they accredit.

On 23 October 2013, in Seoul, the IAF General Assembly passed IAF Resolution 2013-15, endorsing a 3-year transition period to ISO 9001:2015.

Quoting from this guide: 2.1 Validity of certifications to ISO 9001:2008 – ISO 9001:2008 certifications will not be valid after three years from publication of ISO 9001:2015. The expiry date of certifications to ISO 9001:2008 issued during the transition period needs to correspond to the end of the three-year transition period.”

It is noteworthy to consider the events surrounding the last significant change to ISO 9001, during the year 2000. On that occasion, the transition period was also a three-year duration. On expiry, there were many organisations that lost their certification due to an insufficient presence of auditors available to conduct certification audits. Too many organisations had left the transition to the revised standard and the related certification audit far too late… 

To review a list of IAF members go to: http://www.iaf.nu//articles/IAF_MEMBERS_SIGNATORIES/4

ISO offer a white paper called “Implementation Guidance for ISO 9001:2015” which provides some help towards understanding the new standard.

Let us know what some of your thoughts and challenges towards achieving a successful transition have been. You can do this by contacting us via email (info@erudio.global) or via one of the social media platforms.

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5 Steps to Organisational Knowledge Management

5 Steps to Organisational Knowledge Management

by Tony Cunningham – Tuesday, 20 June 2017

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What is Organisational Knowledge?

One of the new requirements of ISO 9001:2015 includes the need for management of Organisational Knowledge (Clause 7.1.6). The challenge with this need is that most companies find the requirement rather ambiguous. Organisational Knowledge is not defined in ISO 9000:2015, which leaves both the auditor and auditee in a quandary.

Defining Organisational Knowledge

organisational-managementThe business dictionary implies that ‘Organizational Knowledge‘ is an asset that we cannot quantify; a collection of individual knowledge that provides an advantage over others in the same field. This definition appears to at least agree with the position of Clause 7.1.6 under section 7. Resources.

A literature search will reveal that there is a limited consensus on the definition. From a conformance perspective, this leaves one with the choice to draw one’s own conclusions on how to define the topic.

Knowledge Management is an extensive body of knowledge that came to the fore during the early 1990’s. This elevated by the IT industry when electronic Knowledge Management tools were first developed.

The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘Knowledge‘ as:
“…facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.”

In a nutshell, one might say that knowledge management is the process by which knowledge is gathered, held and disseminated as ‘know-how’, to those who are accountable to achieve an objective. This description may not be accurate for a Knowledge Management Guru, but serves its purpose for this article.

The source of such knowledge may be held by electronic media or in the minds of people. Thus, it is safe to say that this is a resource, comprising all knowledge available to the organisation.

Why is Organisational Knowledge valuable?

Organisational Knowledge is important to all organisations but is typically leveraged by geographically dispersed organisations.

Organisations that do well at Knowledge Management often have powerful information technology systems. These are able to:

  • mine existing data, irrespective of where it resides;
  • combine this with real-time communication;
  • and, deliver it to those who need it, in a timely manner.

Social media often has a role to play in accessing organisational knowledge, from subject-matter experts, within the organisation.

An example

organisational-knowledgeA Sales office in Toronto may secure a project, resourced from a team in London and, supported by subject-matter experts in Sidney and Tokyo. To bring the required knowledge together effectively, they may use a Knowledge Management software tool. This would mine data across geographies and databases – including emails, webinar recordings, presentation files, CAD files, CVs of people competent in the subject matter, lessons recorded from previous projects, nonconformities and costing files, etc.

Whilst this may work for the large multi-national, the smaller organisation may only have a central drive on a local server and a library in the training room.

Smaller organisations may not have the need or resources to deliver the best practice examples mentioned above. The clause certainly requires a deeper investigation to ensure that the ‘know-how’ is at the required points of action, throughout the organisation.

Using Organisational Knowledge in a Quality Management System

When considered in the context of the ISO 9001:2015 standard, the requirements of ‘7.1.6 Organizational Knowledge’ cannot be read in isolation, since this will minimise the usefulness of this part of the standard.

To develop a Quality Management System, the organisation is required to consider the context of its existence. This both in terms of the factors influencing it or that it can influence, including the needs of interested parties. This can be seen in Clause 4 of the standard. These strategic factors influence the definition of its objectives (including quality objectives), as well as the processes that it uses to achieve these objectives. This can be seen in Clause 6 of the standard.

Since “The organization shall establish quality objectives at relevant functions, levels and processes” (Clause 6.2.1), those who are accountable to achieve these objectives require the full ‘know-how’, to fulfil their obligations, or they may miss the mark.

The role of Communication and Organisational Knowledge

managementCommunication (Clause 7.4) plays a significant role in association with the Organisational Knowledge requirements, as well.

The Organizational Knowledge clause, therefore, requires that the knowledge is determined, held in a current format, and shared with those who need it to do their job. This includes comparing existing knowledge to that which is required, obtaining new ‘know-how’ as circumstances change, and deploying it across all functions, through strategic, management and operational levels.

Synergy through Organisational Knowledge Management

Although the notes associated with Clause 7.1.6 are not auditable, there are strong suggestions that knowledge is sourced far and wide. This typically goes way beyond the traditional content of documented process procedures.

We know that knowledge gained by experience (tribal knowledge) is often lost when key players leave an organisation. Gathering such knowledge also forms part of the intent behind knowledge management. This really highlights that having the knowledge and being able to access it is not necessarily the end goal.

A knowledge management system will, through synergy, provide a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. It is reliant on leadership and culture along with the relevant tools. Developing a learning culture, where those with the knowledge and experience train, coach and mentor those who don’t is vital. This motivates those who don’t have the knowledge to learn from those who do.

5 steps to Organizational Knowledge Management

  1. Start by determining what Organisational Knowledge is needed.
    An audit that records the knowledge needed to achieve the objectives of each business process will be useful.
  2. Compare this to what is already available and consider how accessible the knowledge is to those who need it.
  3. Develop a system or improve any existing systems that deliver the knowledge.
    Remember that circumstances are constantly changing and that the organisation will need to keep Organisational Knowledge up-to-date.
  4. Consider both traditional Quality Management documentation as well as training, coaching and mentoring.
  5. Add to this where resources, such as software tools, are available.


The standard does not demand a formal Knowledge Management tool. It does require that the organisation pay sufficient attention to the knowledge at the heart of sustainability, as well as the achievement of product and service quality.

How one acquires the knowledge relating to requirements of interested parties, including knowledge relating to the customer, and how one internalises and operationalises all of this knowledge, could be as simple a matter as adopting the process approach. A systematic but simple methodology that steps through the process inputs, process activities and process outputs, whilst considering required knowledge, can yield valuable results without incurring unnecessary cost.

You can broaden your understanding of the new requirements of the standard and its inclusion of Organisational Knowledge by attending one of our online ISO 9001:2015 courses. Follow this link to find out more.

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Let us know what some of your thoughts and challenges regarding Organisational Knowledge are. You can do this by contacting us via email (info@erudio.global) or via one of the social media platforms.

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Revision of ISO 17025: What you need to know

Revision of ISO 17025: What you need to know

by Tony Cunningham – Tuesday, 20 June 2017

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Like so many other ISO standards, ISO 17025 is under revision to accommodate the new high-level structure published in ISO Directive 1 Annex SL and considerations from the revised ISO 9001:2015. Publication is expected late 2016 or early 2017.

ISO 17025 is a standard used by laboratories and states the requirements for competence to carry out tests and/or equipment calibration.

ISO 17025 is drafted for use by laboratories when developing and implementing a quality management system. Laboratories may use the standard to become accredited in order to provide confidence in their competence to customers and regulatory authorities.

Let us know what some of your thoughts and challenges are, or contact us to gain more information on the topic. You can do this by contacting us via email (info@erudio.global) or via one of the social media platforms.

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