The 8 most important ISOs for ESG reporting

From the late 20th century to the present day, in response to current global challenges such as climate change, degradation of ecosystems and increasing inequality, environmental and social responsibility has been a major theme in business practices.

Today, stakeholders, from regulators and investors to customers and the general public, increasingly expect supply chains to adhere to sustainability principles. This involves minimizing adverse environmental impacts, promoting social equity and ensuring long-term economic viability.

ESG, which stands for Environment, Social, and Governance, encompasses the three key domains of sustainable development used to assess risks and opportunities in business performance. ESG reporting is now a necessary tool for organizations tracking the sustainability and social responsibility of a company’s operations and practices.

Organizations use two components for ESG reporting, frameworks and standards to help guide sustainability efforts and the reporting process. For a company that supports a culture of sustainability awareness, mentioning the attainment of specific ISO standards could strengthen its ESG evidence.

ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization. Founded in 1947, the organization develops and publishes technical, industrial and commercial standards worldwide with the objective of standardizing best practices for organizations’ management systems, designed for continuous improvement. These standards are designed to be applicable to organizations of all sizes and across various sectors.

In terms of ESG, the following ISO standards support its three pillars as follows:


ISO 14000 Environmental Management Systems

The ISO 14000 family of standards provide a framework for organizations to establish, implement, maintain, and continually improve an effective environmental management system (EMS). The ISO 14000 series is designed to help organizations manage their environmental responsibilities in a systematic and consistent manner, with the goal of minimizing their impact on the environment.

The key standards within the ISO 14000 family include:

ISO 14001Requirements with guidance for use
ISO 14004General guidelines on implementation
ISO 14006Guidelines for incorporating ecodesign
ISO 14015Environmental assessment of sites and organizations (EASO)
ISO 14064Greenhouse gas emissions management 
ISO 14020-14025Environmental labeling and declarations

Adopting the ISO 14000 standards brings about better environmental stewardship, legal compliance, stakeholder trust, and operational efficiency, positioning organizations as responsible and sustainable entities in a competitive global landscape.


ISO 50001 Energy Management

This standard provides a framework for organizations to establish, implement, maintain, and improve an energy management system (EnMS). The goal of ISO 50001 is to help organizations systematically manage their energy consumption, improve energy efficiency, and reduce energy-related costs and environmental impacts.

By ISO 50001, organizations can establish a culture of ongoing energy optimization, leading to sustained cost savings.


ISO 46001 Water Management

This standard includes monitoring, measurement, documentation, reporting, design and procurement of equipment, systems, processes and personnel training practices that contribute to efficient water management.

This standard offers benefits ranging from reducing operating costs and regulatory compliance to improving corporate image and contributing to environmental sustainability. Responsible water management not only strengthens business resilience to water-related risks, but also promotes innovation, employee engagement, and the development of positive relationships with the community and stakeholders.


ISO 26000 Social Responsibility 

These standards offer principles, recommendations, and practices related to social responsibility that organizations can use to align their operations with ethical, social, and environmental considerations. These standards provide principles and practices in areas such as governance, human rights, labor practices, environment, fair trade practices, consumer affairs, community involvement, supplier engagement, respect for indigenous rights, and social and economic development. 

ISO 26000 enables more effective risk management, contributes to long-term sustainability, strengthens community relations and promotes business practices that benefit both the company and society as a whole.


ISO 9000 Quality Management

These standards provide a framework for organizations to establish, implement, maintain and improve effective quality management systems for the products or services they offer.

ISO 9001 certification offers a number of advantages, including improved reputation, operational efficiency, access to new markets and a focus on customer satisfaction. It also drives a culture of quality and continuous improvement throughout the organization.


ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety

This standard provides a framework for organizations to establish, implement, maintain, and continually improve systems that prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of employees and other stakeholders within the workplace.

This results in a safer work environment, improved organizational performance and a positive impact on employees and stakeholders.


ISO 27001 Information Security Management

This standard provides a framework for organizations to establish, implement, maintain, and continually improve systems that ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of their sensitive information assets, leading to better data protection, regulatory compliance, and increased stakeholder confidence. It helps organizations safeguard their sensitive information in an increasingly digital and interconnected world.


ISO 37001 Anti-Bribery Management System

The key elements covered by this standard include the development and implementation of clear and comprehensive anti-bribery policies, assessment of bribery-related risks, implementation of controls and measures to prevent and detect acts of corruption, employee training and awareness, due diligence in business relationships, creation of mechanisms for reporting and investigation of suspicious incidents, compliance with anti-bribery laws, and continuous improvement of the system to address new risks and challenges.


ISO standards play a crucial role in promoting sustainable and responsible practices within organizations. In this article, we’ve explored the seven most important ISO standards for addressing environmental, social, and governance aspects. 

At Prospeum , we are dedicated to promoting ESG practices throughout the supply chain. We invite you to learn more about our platform and how we can work together to improve the performance of organizations in terms of sustainability, social responsibility and compliance.