Risk management trending for 2015

2nd February 2015

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Simon Corbett

Changes to 14001 will push risk-based thinking to the top of sustainability leaders' agendas in 2015, according to research on the key sustainability management trends that will affect businesses this year.

In a report, sustainability analysts at Verdantix say that, while practitioners already approach sustainability planning with elements of risk-based thinking through materiality matrices its inclusion in the updated ISO 14001 standard, due to be published this year, will open the door to a consistent and systematic use in management systems.

Verdantix also says the greater emphasis on risk in the revised standard will support the broader trend of increased involvement of sustainability leaders in risk management. Verdantix’s 2014 global survey found that 62% of leaders had full or shared sustainability risk management authority, an increase from 20% in 2012.

The analysts also predict that supplier sustainability assessments in 2015 will move beyond checklists as businesses encounter more pressure from consumers to account for and rectify sustainability failures in their supply chains. “The realisation that it is no longer enough to simply state that a firm has a supplier sustainability questionnaire is pushing firms to seek means to audit and engage suppliers to ensure sustainability performance,” says Verdantix. It expects water scarcity concerns to heighten this year, leading to more companies investigating risks from natural capital.

Another issue likely to see a rise in popularity in 2015 is green infrastructure strategies for water management. Verdantix cites Dow Chemical, Holcim and Italian utility Eni as firms that have used green infrastructure to reduce costs, improve water quality and availability, and decontaminate soils.


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