Adaptation to climate change - Guidelines on vulnerability, impacts and risk assessment (ISO 14091:2021)

This document gives guidelines for assessing the risks related to the potential impacts of climate
change. It describes how to understand vulnerability and how to develop and implement a sound risk
assessment in the context of climate change. It can be used for assessing both present and future climate
change risks.
Risk assessment according to this document provides a basis for climate change adaptation planning,
implementation, and monitoring and evaluation for any organization, regardless of size, type and nature.

Anpassung an den Klimawandel - Vulnerabilität, Auswirkungen und Risikobewertung (ISO 14091:2021)

Dieses Dokument gibt Leitlinien für die Bewertung der mit den möglichen Auswirkungen des Klimawandels verbundenen Risiken vor. Es beschreibt, wie Vulnerabilität zu verstehen und wie eine fundierte Risikobewertung im Kontext des Klimawandels zu entwickeln und umzusetzen ist. Es kann für die Bewertung sowohl gegenwärtiger als auch zukünftiger Risiken des Klimawandels herangezogen werden.
Risikobewertungen nach diesem Dokument bieten eine Grundlage für die Planung der Anpassung an die Folgen des Klimawandels sowie für die Umsetzung, das Monitoring und die Evaluierung für jedwelche Organisation, unabhängig von Größe, Art und Wesen.

Adaptation au changement climatique - Lignes directrices sur la vulnérabilité, les impacts et l'évaluation des risques (ISO 14091:2021)

Prilagoditev podnebnim spremembam - Smernice za oceno ranljivosti, vpliva in tveganja (ISO 14091:2021)

General Information

Status
Published
Current Stage
6060 - Definitive text made available (DAV) - Publishing
Due Date
03-Mar-2021
Completion Date
03-Mar-2021

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SLOVENSKI STANDARD
SIST EN ISO 14091:2021
01-maj-2021
Prilagoditev podnebnim spremembam - Smernice za oceno ranljivosti, vpliva in
tveganja (ISO 14091:2021)

Adaptation to climate change - Guidelines on vulnerability, impacts and risk assessment

(ISO 14091:2021)
Anpassung an den Klimawandel - Vulnerabilität, Auswirkungen und Risikobewertung
(ISO 14091:2021)
Ta slovenski standard je istoveten z: EN ISO 14091:2021
ICS:
13.020.30 Ocenjevanje vpliva na okolje Environmental impact
assessment
13.020.40 Onesnaževanje, nadzor nad Pollution, pollution control
onesnaževanjem in and conservation
ohranjanje
SIST EN ISO 14091:2021 en

2003-01.Slovenski inštitut za standardizacijo. Razmnoževanje celote ali delov tega standarda ni dovoljeno.

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SIST EN ISO 14091:2021
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SIST EN ISO 14091:2021
EN ISO 14091
EUROPEAN STANDARD
NORME EUROPÉENNE
March 2021
EUROPÄISCHE NORM
ICS 13.020.30; 13.020.40
English Version
Adaptation to climate change - Guidelines on vulnerability,
impacts and risk assessment (ISO 14091:2021)

Adaptation au changement climatique - Lignes Anpassung an den Klimawandel - Vulnerabilität,

directrices sur la vulnérabilité, les impacts et Auswirkungen und Risikobewertung (ISO 14091:2021)

l'évaluation des risques (ISO 14091:2021)
This European Standard was approved by CEN on 29 January 2021.

CEN members are bound to comply with the CEN/CENELEC Internal Regulations which stipulate the conditions for giving this

European Standard the status of a national standard without any alteration. Up-to-date lists and bibliographical references

concerning such national standards may be obtained on application to the CEN-CENELEC Management Centre or to any CEN

member.

This European Standard exists in three official versions (English, French, German). A version in any other language made by

translation under the responsibility of a CEN member into its own language and notified to the CEN-CENELEC Management

Centre has the same status as the official versions.

CEN members are the national standards bodies of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia,

Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway,

Poland, Portugal, Republic of North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and

United Kingdom.
EUROPEAN COMMITTEE FOR STANDARDIZATION
COMITÉ EUROPÉEN DE NORMALISATION
EUROPÄISCHES KOMITEE FÜR NORMUNG
CEN-CENELEC Management Centre: Rue de la Science 23, B-1040 Brussels

© 2021 CEN All rights of exploitation in any form and by any means reserved Ref. No. EN ISO 14091:2021 E

worldwide for CEN national Members.
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SIST EN ISO 14091:2021
EN ISO 14091:2021 (E)
Contents Page

European foreword ....................................................................................................................................................... 3

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SIST EN ISO 14091:2021
EN ISO 14091:2021 (E)
European foreword

This document (EN ISO 14091:2021) has been prepared by Technical Committee ISO/TC 207

"Environmental management" in collaboration with Technical Committee CEN/SS S26 “Environmental

management” the secretariat of which is held by CCMC.

This European Standard shall be given the status of a national standard, either by publication of an

identical text or by endorsement, at the latest by September 2021, and conflicting national standards

shall be withdrawn at the latest by September 2021.

Attention is drawn to the possibility that some of the elements of this document may be the subject of

patent rights. CEN shall not be held responsible for identifying any or all such patent rights.

According to the CEN-CENELEC Internal Regulations, the national standards organizations of the

following countries are bound to implement this European Standard: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria,

Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland,

Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of

North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the

United Kingdom.
Endorsement notice

The text of ISO 14091:2021 has been approved by CEN as EN ISO 14091:2021 without any modification.

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SIST EN ISO 14091:2021
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SIST EN ISO 14091:2021
INTERNATIONAL ISO
STANDARD 14091
First edition
2021-02
Adaptation to climate change —
Guidelines on vulnerability, impacts
and risk assessment
Adaptation au changement climatique — Lignes directrices sur la
vulnérabilité, les impacts et l'évaluation des risques
Reference number
ISO 14091:2021(E)
ISO 2021
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SIST EN ISO 14091:2021
ISO 14091:2021(E)
COPYRIGHT PROTECTED DOCUMENT
© ISO 2021

All rights reserved. Unless otherwise specified, or required in the context of its implementation, no part of this publication may

be reproduced or utilized otherwise in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, or posting

on the internet or an intranet, without prior written permission. Permission can be requested from either ISO at the address

below or ISO’s member body in the country of the requester.
ISO copyright office
CP 401 • Ch. de Blandonnet 8
CH-1214 Vernier, Geneva
Phone: +41 22 749 01 11
Email: copyright@iso.org
Website: www.iso.org
Published in Switzerland
ii © ISO 2021 – All rights reserved
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SIST EN ISO 14091:2021
ISO 14091:2021(E)
Contents Page

Foreword ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................v

Introduction ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................vi

1 Scope ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 1

2 Normative references ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 1

3 Terms and definitions ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 1

4 Introduction to climate change risk assessment ................................................................................................................ 4

4.1 Concept of climate change risk ................................................................................................................................................. 4

4.2 Assessing climate change risk.................................................................................................................................................... 5

4.2.1 Objectives ............................................................................................................................................................................... 5

4.2.2 Value-based judgements ........................................................................................................................................... 5

5 Preparing a climate change risk assessment .......................................................................................................................... 5

5.1 Establishing the context .................................................................................................................................................................. 5

5.2 Identifying objectives and expected outcomes ........................................................................................................... 6

5.3 Establishing a project team .......................................................................................................................................................... 6

5.4 Determining the scope and methodology........................................................................................................................ 7

5.5 Setting the time horizon ................................................................................................................................................................. 7

5.6 Gathering relevant information ................................................................................................................................................ 8

5.7 Preparing an implementation plan ....................................................................................................................................... 8

5.8 Transparency ............................................................................................................................................................................................ 8

5.9 Participatory approach .................................................................................................................................................................... 9

6 Implementing a climate change risk assessment............................................................................................................... 9

6.1 Screening impacts and developing impact chains .................................................................................................... 9

6.1.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................... 9

6.1.2 Screening and identifying impacts ................................................................................................................... 9

6.1.3 Developing impact chains ........................................................................................................................................ 9

6.2 Identifying indicators .....................................................................................................................................................................10

6.2.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................10

6.2.2 Selecting indicators ....................................................................................................................................................10

6.2.3 Creating a list of indicators ..................................................................................................................................11

6.3 Acquiring and managing data .................................................................................................................................................11

6.3.1 Gathering data ...................................................................... ...........................................................................................11

6.3.2 Evaluating data quality and results ..............................................................................................................12

6.3.3 Managing data .................................................................................................................................................................12

6.4 Aggregating indicators and risk components ...........................................................................................................13

6.5 Assessing adaptive capacity .....................................................................................................................................................13

6.6 Interpreting and evaluating the findings .......................................................................................................................14

6.7 Analysing cross-sectoral interdependencies..............................................................................................................14

6.8 Independent review ........................................................................................................................................................................14

7 Reporting and communicating climate change risk assessment results ................................................14

7.1 Climate change risk assessment report ..........................................................................................................................14

7.2 Communicating climate change risk assessment results ................................................................................16

7.3 Reporting findings as a basis for appropriate adaptation planning ......................................................16

Annex A (informative) Linking vulnerability and risk management concepts — Change of

the conceptual framework between IPCC AR4 and IPCC AR5 .............................................................................17

Annex B (informative) Risk assessment and uncertainty — Climate and non-climatic scenarios ...20

Annex C (informative) Examples of impact chains and dos and don’ts when developing

impact chains ........................................................................................................................................................................................................21

Annex D (informative) Example of a screening matrix ...................................................................................................................26

Annex E (informative) Examples of indicators for risk and vulnerability assessments ..............................28

© ISO 2021 – All rights reserved iii
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SIST EN ISO 14091:2021
ISO 14091:2021(E)

Annex F (informative) Aggregating indicators and risk components .............................................................................29

Annex G (informative) Components of adaptive capacity............................................................................................................31

Annex H (informative) Assessing adaptive capacity .........................................................................................................................34

Bibliography .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................38

iv © ISO 2021 – All rights reserved
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SIST EN ISO 14091:2021
ISO 14091:2021(E)
Foreword

ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standards

bodies (ISO member bodies). The work of preparing International Standards is normally carried out

through ISO technical committees. Each member body interested in a subject for which a technical

committee has been established has the right to be represented on that committee. International

organizations, governmental and non-governmental, in liaison with ISO, also take part in the work.

ISO collaborates closely with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on all matters of

electrotechnical standardization.

The procedures used to develop this document and those intended for its further maintenance are

described in the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1. In particular, the different approval criteria needed for the

different types of ISO documents should be noted. This document was drafted in accordance with the

editorial rules of the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2 (see www .iso .org/ directives).

Attention is drawn to the possibility that some of the elements of this document may be the subject of

patent rights. ISO shall not be held responsible for identifying any or all such patent rights. Details of

any patent rights identified during the development of the document will be in the Introduction and/or

on the ISO list of patent declarations received (see www .iso .org/ patents).

Any trade name used in this document is information given for the convenience of users and does not

constitute an endorsement.

For an explanation of the voluntary nature of standards, the meaning of ISO specific terms and

expressions related to conformity assessment, as well as information about ISO’s adherence to the

World Trade Organization (WTO) principles in the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) see www .iso .org/

iso/ foreword .html.

This document was prepared by Technical Committee ISO/TC 207, Environmental management,

Subcommittee SC 7, Greenhouse gas management and related activities, in collaboration with

the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) Technical Committee CEN/SS S26, Environmental

management, in accordance with the Agreement on technical cooperation between ISO and CEN (Vienna

Agreement).

Any feedback or questions on this document should be directed to the user’s national standards body. A

complete listing of these bodies can be found at www .iso .org/ members .html.
© ISO 2021 – All rights reserved v
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SIST EN ISO 14091:2021
ISO 14091:2021(E)
Introduction

Climate change is impacting organizations in various ways and it is anticipated that these impacts

will continue well into the future. Organizations have an increasing need to understand, mitigate and

manage climate change risks. Climate change risk assessment is key in this context. For responses

to be delivered at the necessary pace and scale, it is important that risk assessment approaches are

systematic and replicable, permitting learning within and between assessments as new knowledge,

technology and experience arise. This document provides guidelines on approaches to assess climate

change-related risks.

Risk assessments improve planning of adaptation to climate change and inform the implementation and

monitoring of climate change adaptation activities. Adaptation is usually more effective when initiated

at an early stage of project development, and when undertaken as a planned process rather than in

response to experienced impacts. Better knowledge of climate change risks will make it easier and less

costly to respond.

Climate change risks differ from other risks. It is often difficult or even impossible to quantify their

short- or long-term probability so a conventional risk assessment that uses statistical probabilities can

be ineffective. For this reason, various approaches have been developed for assessing climate change

risks. This document provides guidance on the use of screening assessments and impact chains. The

screening approach can serve as a stand-alone, simplified risk assessment for a straight-forward

system at risk or for organizations with a limited budget, or serve as a pre-assessment prior to the use

of impact chains. Based on a participatory and inclusive process, impact chain approaches are more

comprehensive, providing an opportunity to address all relevant factors. Both screening assessments

and impact chain assessments allow for qualitative and quantitative analysis.

This document is relevant to any organization regardless of size, type and nature. For example, it can

help financial institutions with decisions in project financing, companies operating in climate-sensitive

business sectors or local governments developing adaptation strategies.

This document covers risks that result from a changing climate. It does not address risks that result

from the transition to a low carbon economy. This document recognizes that climate risks can be

threats or opportunities.

This document emphasizes comprehensive documentation and communication of climate change risks;

these are essential for all subsequent activities. Risk assessments, among other purposes, provide

information on identifying adaptation actions and prioritizing them. Risk assessments conducted in

accordance with this document also strengthen planning activities on disaster risk reduction (DRR).

This document can be applied by organizations that want to carry out climate change risk assessments

[in the sense of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

(IPCC)] as well as by organizations that want to carry out vulnerability assessments (in the sense of the

IPCC AR4). However, it uses risk assessment as the central term.

This document belongs to an emerging family of standards on adaptation to climate change under the

umbrella of ISO 14090, which describes the following elements of climate change adaptation:

— pre-planning;
— assessing impacts including opportunities;
— adaptation planning;
— implementation;
— monitoring and evaluation;
— reporting and communication.

This document is part of the second item on the above list: “assessing impacts including opportunities”.

ISO/TS 14092:2020 helps define adaptation planning for local governments and communities. Other

vi © ISO 2021 – All rights reserved
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SIST EN ISO 14091:2021
ISO 14091:2021(E)

International Standards also deal with climate change or are in some way linked to this document. For

example, ISO 31000 is an excellent companion because it can help organizations manage the risks that

are identified and assessed in this document, which itself is a specialized expansion of the limited risk

assessment portion of ISO 31000. ISO 14001 allows for the integration of climate change adaptation

into an environmental management system and this document provides additional information to

support this.

This document is a guidance document for people working in the field of climate change.

This document is structured starting with an introduction to the concept of climate change

risk assessment, followed by the preparation, the implementation and the documentation and

communication of the climate change risk assessment.

The guidelines provided in this document are accompanied by supporting examples and information.

In this document, the following verbal forms are used:
— “should” indicates a recommendation;
— “may” indicates a permission;
— “can” indicates a possibility or capability.
© ISO 2021 – All rights reserved vii
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SIST EN ISO 14091:2021
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SIST EN ISO 14091:2021
INTERNATIONAL STANDARD ISO 14091:2021(E)
Adaptation to climate change — Guidelines on
vulnerability, impacts and risk assessment
1 Scope

This document gives guidelines for assessing the risks related to the potential impacts of climate

change. It describes how to understand vulnerability and how to develop and implement a sound risk

assessment in the context of climate change. It can be used for assessing both present and future climate

change risks.

Risk assessment according to this document provides a basis for climate change adaptation planning,

implementation, and monitoring and evaluation for any organization, regardless of size, type and nature.

2 Normative references
There are no normative references in this document.
3 Terms and definitions
For the purposes of this document, the following terms and definitions apply.

ISO and IEC maintain terminological databases for use in standardization at the following addresses:

— ISO Online browsing platform: available at https:// www .iso .org/ obp
— IEC Electropedia: available at http:// www .electropedia .org/
3.1
organization

person or group of people that has its own functions with responsibilities, authorities and relationships

to achieve its objectives

Note 1 to entry: The concept of organization includes, but is not limited to, sole-trader, company, corporation, firm,

enterprise, authority, partnership, charity or institution, or part or combination thereof, whether incorporated

or not, public or private.
[SOURCE: ISO 14001:2015, 3.1.4]
3.2
interested party

person or organization (3.1) that can affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a decision

or activity

EXAMPLE Customers, communities, suppliers, regulators, non-governmental organizations, investors,

employees and academia.

Note 1 to entry: To “perceive itself to be affected” means the perception has been made known to the organization

applying this document.

[SOURCE: ISO 14001:2015, 3.1.6, modified — “academia” has been added to the example and “applying

this document” has been added to Note 1 to entry.]
© ISO 2021 – All rights reserved 1
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SIST EN ISO 14091:2021
ISO 14091:2021(E)
3.3
system
set of interrelated or interacting elements
[SOURCE: ISO 9000:2015, 3.5.1]
3.4
climate

statistical description of weather in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a

period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years

Note 1 to entry: The classical period for averaging these variables is 30 years, as defined by the World

[26]
Meteorological Organization .

Note 2 to entry: The relevant quantities are most often near-surface variables such as temperature, precipitation,

and wind.
[SOURCE: ISO 14090:2019, 3.4]
3.5
climate change

change in climate (3.4) that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer

Note 1 to entry: Climate change can be identified by such means as statistical tests (e.g. on changes in the mean,

variability).

Note 2 to entry: Climate change might be due to natural processes, internal to the climate system (3.3), or external

forcings such as modulations of the solar cycles, volcanic eruptions, and persistent anthropogenic changes in the

composition of the atmosphere or in land use.
[SOURCE: ISO 14090:2019, 3.5]
3.6
adaptation to climate change
climate change adaptation
process of adjustment to actual or expected climate (3.4) and its effects

Note 1 to entry: In human systems (3.3), adaptation seeks to moderate or avoid harm or exploit beneficial

opportunities.

Note 2 to entry: In some natural systems, human intervention can facilitate adjustment to expected climate and

its effects.
[SOURCE: ISO 14090:2019, 3.1]
3.7
climate projection

simulated response of the climate system (3.3) to a scenario of future emission or concentration of

greenhouse gases and aerosols, generally derived using climate models

Note 1 to entry: Climate projections are distinguished from climate predictions in order to emphasize that

climate projections depend upon the emission/concentration/radiative forcing scenario used, which are based

on assumptions concerning, for example, future socioeconomic and technological developments that may or may

not be realized.
[SOURCE: Adapted from IPCC, 2014]
3.8
hazard
potential source of harm

Note 1 to entry: The potential for harm can be in terms of loss of life, injury or other health impacts (3.14), as well

as damage and loss to property, infrastructure, livelihoods, service provision, ecosystems and environmental

resources.
2 © ISO 2021 – All rights reserved
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SIST EN ISO 14091:2021
ISO 14091:2021(E)

Note 2 to entry: In this document, the term usually refers to climate-related physical events or trends or their

physical impacts.

Note 3 to entry: Hazard comprises slow-onset developments (e.g. rising temperatures over the long term) as well

as rapidly developing climatic extremes (e.g. a heatwave) or increased variability.

[SOURCE: ISO/IEC Guide 51:2014, 3.2, modified — Notes 1 and 2 to entry have been added to reflect the

definition of “hazard” in IPCC, 2014: Annex II: Glossary. Note 3 to entry has been added.]

3.9
exposure

presence of people, livelihoods, species or ecosystems, environmental functions, services, resources,

infrastructure, or economic, social or cultural assets in places and settings that could be affected

Note 1 to entry: Exposure can change over time, for example as a result of land use change.

[SOURCE: ISO 14090:2019, 3.6]
3.10
sensitivity

degree to which a system (3.3) or species is affected, either adversely or beneficially, by climate (3.4)

variability or change

Note 1 to entry: The effect may be direct (e.g. a change in crop yield in response to a change in the mean, range or

variability of temperature) or indirect (e.g. damages caused by an increase in the frequency of coastal flooding

due to sea level rise).
[SOURCE: Adapted from IPCC, 2014]
3.11
adaptive capacity

ability of systems (3.3), institutions, humans, and other organisms to adjust to potential damage, to take

advantage of opportunities, or to respond to consequences
[SOURCE: ISO 14090:2019, 3.2]
3.12
vulnerability
propensity or predisposition to be adversely affected

Note 1 to entry: Vulnerability encompasses a variety of concepts and elements including sensitivity (3.10) or

susceptibility to harm and lack of capacity to cope and adapt.
[SOURCE: ISO 14090:2019, 3.15]
3.13
risk
effect of uncertainty

Note 1 to entry: An effect is a deviation from the expected. It can be positive, negative or both. An effect can arise

as a result of a
...

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