Circumventing all established rules regarding consensus, the ISO Central Secretariat (ISO CS) has ordered an early “amendment” to ISO 9001, specifically to add language regarding climate change to the standard. The amendment will be issued as a standalone document, and published for free. It will not contain the full ISO 9001 standard, but only the updated text.

ISO intends to publish this amendment in January of 2024, without pushing the text through any voting. An internal memo within ISO claimed that. “Since the TMB resolution instructs ISO CS to issue the Amendments, there is no required action from committees.

The “TMB” is the ISO Technical Management Board which oversees the committees that write ISO standards. It is not, however, supposed to usurp standards development from the committee, nor is it allowed to circumvent rules that ensure standards are developed upon consensus of world members.

Under ISO Secretary-General Sergio Mujica, the TMB has become the enforcement arm for his personal whims, allowing him to override long-standing principles for standards development, and violate the World Trade Organization’s regulations under its Technical Barriers to Trade rules.

That means ISO 9001:2015 will remain in play, but will now require users to download an addendum to make the standard complete.

ISO is still pushing for a full revision to ISO 9001, aiming for publication in 2025, despite multiple world votes resulting in a majority of ISO members voting against the revision.

The last time ISO pushed an “amendment” to ISO 9001 was after the world voted against revising ISO 9001:2000. ISO ignored the vote, and published ISO 9001:2008 as a mandatory amendment. In that case, the standard was not issued for free, and ISO colluded with the IAF to force companies to buy a copy, even though it contained no changes to requirements.

Previously, ISO had released “corrections” or “corrigenda” to standards for free. ISO is not consistent in its use of “amendments.”

New Language Leaked

The language to be added is shown below and affects current clauses 4.1 and 4.2 of ISO 9001. In both cases, the language can largely be ignored by users, since it only suggests the user consider climate change, and does not require any documentation or records of the decision.

The ISO memo reveals that ISO is working with the IAF to prepare a joint statement, no doubt requiring ISO 9001 end users to update their systems to reflect climate change or face decertification. given the weak language included, it is not clear how any certification body would write a nonconformity against a company that ignored the text entirely.

Mujica the Authoritarian

The move was driven by Mujica, who is hoping to win over members of the United Nations with a push to include “climate action” in ISO standards, as he prepares to run for UN Secretary-General in 2026. Mujica has adopted a strongman posture, showing overall contempt for established ISO rules and related WTO regulations.

Overwhelmingly, both supporters and critics of ISO 9001 have insisted that “climate change” does not belong in a standard for quality management, but does belong in ISO 14001, for environmental management. ISO has ignored this feedback entirely.

ISO has also circulated a list of other standards that will be forced to include climate change, many of which have nothing to do with the subject. These include ISO 27001 for information security management systems (cybersecurity), ISO 20000-1 for IT service management systems, and ISO 39001 for road traffic safety management systems.

At the same time, ISO and IEC are holding joint conferences in recent days, on the new “ISO / IEC Smart” standards project, which would further eliminate the need to obtain consensus before publishing ISO standards. Under this program, ISO will publish standards as a subscription, offer them digitally, and update them “in real-time,” apparently circumventing all ISO member voting entirely.

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