The new ISO standards: Are executives already leading the way?

That is what the latest ViewPoint Espresso survey among 981 certified organizations wanted to find out.

The revised and upcoming ISO standards are all aligned on the High Level Structure, which defines common requirements and definitions. It brings consistency and simplifies implementation. The more you already comply with these clauses, the better prepared you are to be certified to the standards.

In a series of mini-surveys, the ViewPoint Espresso, we have looked at organizations’ preparedness for selected clauses related to the revised ISO 9001 Quality Management, ISO 14001 Environmental Management and the upcoming ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety standard.

While we previously have looked at 4.1 Understanding the organisation and its context, 4.2 Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties and 6.1 Actions to address risks and opportunities, the latest report looks at clause 5.1 Leadership & Commitment.  This clause addresses how actively top executives engage and take accountability not only for the effectiveness of the management system but also to ensure its ability to achieve intended results.

Are they ready?

In our survey we asked representatives from 981 companies that were already certified to one or more of the quality, environmental and occupational health and safety standards, how compliant they believed to be towards clause 5.1 Leadership & Commitment, and which parts of this requirement that would be the most challenging to implement.

Compared to the previous requirements examined, companies perceived a higher degree of compliance. One in four of the companies certified to the quality and/or environmental standards indicate compliance.

For OHSAS 18001 certified companies, 39% say they are compliant. The reason for this high number is probably due to prevalent legislation around labor practices. Legislation in many countries triggers broad management involvement. Moreover consequences of not complying may be severe and measures must therefore be implemented. Companies who choose to work through a certified occupational health and safety system will therefore most likely already have management commitment and practices in place to cope with some of the new requirements in 5.1.

Implementation challenges

When it comes to actual behaviour and activities that must be implemented in order to comply with clause 5.1., the reported challenges differ between the standards.

For the environmental management system the integration of the requirements into the organization’s business processes was highlighted by 44% as most challenging, while for ISO 45001 the available resources needed to operate the occupational health and safety management system was the main concern (41%). For ISO 9001, the most challenging was promoting the use of the process approach and risk based thinking (41%).

For more insight from your peers and our expert opinions, see the full report below.

You might also find interest in our other ViewPoint reports, which all can be accessed at

  The new ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 requirements

The new ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 requirements

5.1 - Leadership & Commitment