Fresh off the press, here are the minutes from ISO/TC 176’s “ad hoc” emergency meeting on adding climate change to ISO 9001.

Click here. (PDF file, 1.8 MB)

The main push for this action comes from only five people. I’ve included their email addresses in case you want to give them user feedback on their work:

In no particular order, my initial comments:

  • Willy Vandebrande is an ASQ fellow and Six Sigma Black Belt, which explains why he’s clearly insane. Vandebrande is the real fuel behind this movement, and his pursuit of adding off-topic issues to ISO 9001 is nearly pathological.
  • Joana dos Guimarães Sá represented the ISO Auditing Practices Group, and had the most reasoned presentation. The fact that she was already talking about how to audit a requirement that doesn’t even exist yet was troubling, but she did report that an overwhelming number of people are against the suggestion. She also presented both sides, whereas the other contributors were clearly in the Kool-Aid camp, and there just to push their agendas.
  • Why anyone continues to listen to Sheronda Jeffries is baffling. Her TL9000 certification scheme has barely any certified companies anywhere in the world, and appears to exist only to justify inviting her to meetings. She succeeds only because of her nearly supernatural ability at sucking up to people who respond to that sort of thing.
  • The notes indicate that a Joint Task Coordinate Group (JTCG) is pushing to add climate change into Annex SL, which will then roll out to all ISO management system standards by mandate. I’ve written endlessly, and won’t repeat it here, the entire Annex SL thing is a violation of ISO’s own rules of procedures and WTO regulations.
  • Regardless of the Annex SL push, TC 176 is dead-set on adding climate change no matter what.
  • The US slides are nearly blank, with most of the discussion happening off the slides, so — conveniently — there’s no record of anything. Sources say Hunt and Dominguez are pushing for climate change, but also don’t want their names attached to the final decision. (Too late, dummies.) Both are particularly concerned that their consulting practices will be hurt if they steer too close to the environmentalist crowd, but meanwhile they are already starting to add “climate change” to their consulting activities. (Hunt is the Chair of this year’s ISO 9000 World Conference, which is advertising heavily on the addition of climate change to ISO 9001, proving it’s a foregone conclusion.)

Meanwhile, you can check for yourself that the ISO headquarters has already determined that ISO 9001 should not include climate change. ISO studied the seventeen UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) and wrote, “for each Goal, ISO has identified the standards that make the most significant contribution.”

The goal related to “climate action” is SDG #13, and ISO has an entire page on that.

ISO then published an online search tool where you can see which standards have been deemed appropriate for revision, for each SDG. When searching SDG 13 for ISO 9001, nothing comes up — meaning that ISO HQ determined ISO 9001 is not a suitable place to address climate change. Instead, ISO has pushed for the issue to be addressed in a revision to ISO 14001, the environmental management standard.

But thanks to four of the five people you see listed above (I’m excluding dos Guimarães Sá, since she’s clearly not an advocate), ISO 9001 will include language on climate change, even though the issue has nothing to do with quality management. They are ignoring the ISO study on SDGs and applicable standards entirely.

Worse, sources tell me that other activities in Europe are pushing to have all sixteen of the other UN SDGs included in ISO 9001, too, including “gender equality” and “zero hunger,” but those are unlikely to gain much steam.

If I had to guess, I’d say that what is most likely to happen is that “climate change” will be shoved into a note that everyone ignores, but which still allows Hunt and Vandenbrande to justify selling expensive seminars and books on the subject, suddenly claiming expertise over a thing they knew nothing about just a few months ago. Sort of like how ISO 9001’2015 added “emotionally protective” workplace to a note in the clause on work environment.

About Christopher Paris

Christopher Paris is the founder and VP Operations of Oxebridge. He has over 30 years' experience implementing ISO 9001 and AS9100 systems, and is a vocal advocate for the development and use of standards from the point of view of actual users. He is the author of Surviving ISO 9001 and Surviving AS9100. He reviews wines for the irreverent wine blog, Winepisser.


ISO 14001 Implementation