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First international standard on climate change adaptation

First international standard on climate change adaptation


The impacts of climate change are already a reality that will increase in the coming years and will affect sectors and areas such as transport, agriculture, housing, communication networks and energy production. Adapting to climate change is a key element in minimising these impacts.

In this context, standardisation is making a significant contribution by providing strategic and reliable tools that make it easier to implement effective measures and meet sustainable development targets in this area. The Spanish Association for Standardization, UNE, recently published standard UNE-EN ISO 14090 Adapting to climate change. Principles, requirements and directives, the first international standard in this field.

This standard provides a coherent, structured and practical framework to prevent and minimise the damage that climate change could cause to organisations' activities. Using this approach, it is possible to properly consider how to adapt to climate change across an organisation's spectrum of actions such as the design, implementation or updating of its policies, strategies or activities.

By applying this standard, organisations can demonstrate to stakeholders that they are adapting to climate change in a suitable and reliable way. The standard also provides organisations with credibility as regards entities that acquire, invest in or take out its insurance products. As such, the standard covers both the implementation of the measures needed to adapt to climate change and how to communicate these measures in a verifiable way.

The document is intended to apply to all types of organisations and entities, regardless of their sector or activity, whether they operate at local or multinational level and are public or privately run. It also has a non-linear approach, so it can be used by organisations that are in the first phases of adapting to climate change, as well as those that have already taken steps in this area or have significant experience in adapting to climate change.

UNE-EN ISO 14090 is the first of a set of standards that will be completed in the future with two other standards currently being developed to specifically consider vulnerability assessments and adaptation plans. The outlook of Spanish companies as regards adaptation standards is channelled through UNE's climate change standardisation group, CTN 216/GT 2, which includes representatives from research centres, private companies, Public Administrations and universities. This group is also responsible for participating in horizontal climate change mitigation standards (carbon footprint, validation and verification of emissions, etc.).