New standard helps adapting to climate change: EN ISO 14091:2021


Climate change impacts are already affecting ecological and socio-economic systems, and it is anticipated that these impacts will continue well into the future. Organisations of all types and sizes have increasing needs to understand, mitigate and manage climate change risks. A recently published standard, EN ISO 14091:2021Adaptation to climate change - Guidelines on vulnerability, impacts and risk assessment’ offers organisations a consistent, structured and pragmatic approach to understanding their vulnerabilities and to preventing or mitigating negative consequences caused by climate change, while taking advantage of opportunities. 

Preparing, implementing and reporting a climate change risk assessment

EN ISO 14091:2021 supports organisations in the use of systematic and replicable risk assessment tools, allowing for qualitative and quantitative analysis. It describes how to understand vulnerability and how to develop and implement a sound risk assessment and is applicable to organisations of all types and sizes, whether doing so for the first time or conducting advanced risk assessments. The standard offers guidance on the use of different approaches, namely screening assessments and impact chains. It covers the different steps required for a solid climate risk assessment, including the preparation, implementation and reporting of such an assessment. Further details are provided regarding the use of indicators, data management and assessment of adaptive capacity. A climate change risk assessment according to EN ISO 14091:2021 will offer a solid basis for adaptation planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, targeting present and future climate change risks.

Added value of early adaptation

When initiated as a planned process at an early stage of project development, climate change adaptation is usually more effective than in response to already materialised impacts. A better understanding of climate risks and vulnerabilities enables organisations to plan and implement early activities to adapt to the impacts of climate change, reducing costs and illustrating possible opportunities.

EN ISO 14091:2021 is the latest in the emerging family of standards on adaptation to climate change that sit under the umbrella of EN ISO 14090 ‘Adaptation to climate change — Principles, requirements and guidelines’. To know more about EN ISO 14090, you can watch the recording of the webinar organised by CEN and CENELEC.

EN ISO 14091:2021 was developed with ISO lead based on an initiative by DIN and adopted as a European standard earlier this month.


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