Smart Cities of Tomorrow: How will our future urban spaces look?

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Imagine a city of the future. Do you see clean streets, electric cars and robots doing all the work?

Or perhaps your vision is more dystopian. The Los Angeles in the Blade Runner movies is a grim depiction of the city in 2019 and 2049. The sea has risen to dangerous levels, the sky is dark and foreboding, and the skyline is dominated by ominous skyscrapers.

Philip K. Dick’s iconic 1968 novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, on which the Blade Runner films are loosely based, is a dystopian yet ultimately hopeful novel about human engagement with artificial intelligence. The book makes profound comments on human relationships and explores the questions that plague us: Why are we in such a mess? And: Why has society degenerated to such a degree?


The dystopian future of Blade Runner intersects with what experts and scientists predict our world and cities will become like in the very near future – more populous, more polluted, more crime-ridden and facing the imminent collapse of basic services, all compounded by unpredictable weather events.

Almost half of the world’s population currently lives in cities, and by 2050 this figure is projected to increase to 75%.

“Cities are reaching breaking point,” says Professor David Gann, who heads up the London Imperial College’s Digital Economy Lab.

The time is upon us, say the experts, to start designing smarter urban environments. New cities are needed to sustain an ever-growing population, and the urban spaces that we have lived in for centuries need to be retrofitted. But what kind of cites will we be living in?


The cities of the future will be shaped by ideas, and there are plenty of competing ideas about how futuristic urban spaces should look.

Some of these centre around the idea that smarter means greener.

Sustainability experts are working towards carbon-neutral cities with electric vehicles and bike-sharing schemes and improved air quality so that office workers in the smoggiest cities can actually open their windows.

Visions of a green city often include high-rise building where living and office spaces are surrounded by floating greenhouses or vertical gardens and green roofs.

Imagine our harbours filled with floating farms? It sounds absurd. But the Jellyfish Barge could be the answer to future urban farming. The barge is a floating greenhouse that desalinates seawater to irrigate and grow plants. Using solar energy, it mimics the water cycle and turns salt water into clean, freshwater which is recycled over and over again to irrigate hydroponically grown crops.

“We can save 70% of water compared to traditional cultivation,” says Cristiana Favretto, one half of the Italian architectural duo at Studimobile who came up with the concept. Each barge has the potential to produce around 1000 to 1500 edible plants per month.


Technology companies like IBM believe that the smartest cities will be those that are connected into the Internet of Things, where objects are made smart by being connected to each other.

A network of sensors will provide a host of data about how a city is performing. This will allow systems to be joined up and to work more efficiently. It will also bring unimaginable new services to citizens, or at least Professor David Gann thinks so.

IBM currently has projects in cities around the world, from crime prevention analytics to water databases and smarter public transport systems in Zhenjiang, China.

IBM’s flagship project is in Rio de Janeiro and it’s the work of IBM’s Smarter Cities Unit.

IBM has created data centres for single agencies like police departments. But this is a citywide system integrating data from 30 government agencies and providing mobile applications to keep citizens in touch with city updates such as accident blackspots and flood warnings.


Smart City and smart city projects are intended to make cities work better and more liveable. They apply information and communications technology to monitor, measure and control city processes, from transportation to water supplies, and the location of vehicles to the performance of electric grids.

Smart Cities are all about saving money, becoming more efficient and delivering better services and living spaces to citizens. The elements of Smart Cities include:

Smart Energy

Smart energy uses digital technology for the intelligent and integrated transmission and distribution of power.

Smart Buildings

Smart buildings are green and energy-efficient, with advanced automated infrastructure.

Smart Mobility

Smart mobility enables intelligent mobility through the use of innovative and integrated technologies.

Smart Technology

Smart technology connects the home, office, mobile phone and car on a single wireless IT platform.

Smart Healthcare

Smart Healthcare uses eHealth and mHealth (mobile health) systems and intelligent and connected medical devices. Johannesburg started rolling out its e-health programme in 2016, and has extended eHealth to include a smart queuing system.

Smart Infrastructure

Smart Infrastructure includes intelligent and automated systems that manage, communicate and integrate different types of intelligent infrastructure such as energy grids, transport networks, water and waste management systems and telecommunications.

Smart Governance

Smart Governance includes policies and digital services from the government that help and support businesses and citizens adopt green and intelligent solutions through incentives, subsidies or other schemes.

Smart Citizens

Smart Citizens embrace smart and green solutions in their day-to-day work activities and choose products and services  that fit their “smart” lifestyle choices.

While critics are up in arms about President Ramaphosa’s inaugural speech and in particular his vision of creating a new African smart city, South Africa has been preparing to embrace smart cities for a number of years.

Recognising that cities hold the key to so many different aspects of a sustainable future, the Cities Support Programme (CSP) was set up by National Treasury in 2011, and within every major municipality, examples of smart projects can be found.

It’s easy to be cynical, and even easier to be apathetic. But that’s not where the solutions lie… and that’s not the future.


Did you know that ISO has published over 22 000 International Standards on a variety of subjects and all of them are designed to support sustainability? 

Finding innovative, sustainable solutions to the problems our businesses and communities are facing is possibly the greatest leadership challenge of our time.

To find out how ISO standards can assist you on your sustainability journey, download our FREE Guide on the Top Six Sustainability Standards that Drive Results for Businesses.


How is your organisation preparing for a sustainable future? We can help you discover the sustainability issues affecting your business and provide workable solutions through our various ISO public training courses, online learning solutions and consulting services.

Need more information? Call our team today on +27 (0) 31 569 5900 to discuss solutions for building a future-proof business that is both sustainable AND profitable.

PLUS! Ask us if we have any specials to offer you at the moment!

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3 Reasons Why Your Business Should Care About Managing Road Traffic Safety

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Over the last 15 years, road safety has become a serious global public health concern. It is the no.1 cause of death among those aged 15-29 years and approximately 1.25 million road traffic deaths happen every year. That’s why at the very heart of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development is the vision that no one should be killed or seriously injured from using the road network.

Is this pie in the sky? Or can we achieve this noble objective? Here at Risk ZA, we believe it’s definitely possible through implementing ISO training, working together and utilising proper management solutions in order to halve the number of road fatalities by 2030.

Now wouldn’t that be a hugely significant achievement worth crowing about? We think so! So, how do you go about managing road safety? And if you choose to invest in road traffic safety, which we sincerely hope you will, what are the benefits for you and your organisation?

Take a look at our top 3 reasons why a commitment to reducing road injuries and fatalities is good for all of us:



Road traffic injuries are the 9th leading cause of death globally. To accelerate action to reduce this burden, the United Nations General Assembly declared a Decade of Action for Road Safety from 2011 to 2020. Here in South Africa, we still have much work to do.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals include road safety targets to reduce deaths, achieve safe urban transport, and implement sustainable public procurement practices. ISO 39001:2012 addresses the contribution that can be made by organisations to prevent avoidable death and serious injury across the road traffic system.


Injuries in road traffic crashes make up around 50% of work-related deaths on public roads. That’s a staggering number of people losing their lives while simply doing their jobs! And, the cost to companies and our economy is enormous. Imagine if you could reverse this trend? It’s certainly possible and within your reach.

The new ISO High-Level Structure means that the ISO 39001:2012 standard can be used to compliment your ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health & Safety program, to specifically address road safety risks and reduce deaths and injuries.


ISO 39001:2012 is the perfect management tool for this purpose. The standard provides direction on key safety issues and a strong focus on achieving better results both in the interim and on a long-term basis. Not to mention, it doesn’t prescribe specific safety measures — these are left for your organisation to determine through safety management processes as each and every organisation has its own unique needs.

ISO 39001:2012 is also fully aligned with the Safe System approach to road safety, and these principles flow through the UN Global Plan for Road Safety, as well as the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The Safe System approach to road safety is an entirely different way of looking at road safety management. Its unique approach is dignified and aims to change the hearts and minds of people which we’ll briefly touch on below.

By adopting ISO 39001:2012 your organisation can look forward to additional benefits such as:

  • Contributing to national and global efforts to prevent death and serious injury in road crashes.
  • Demonstrating a commitment to an issue that is of serious public concern.
  • Addressing primary occupational safety risks.
  • Cutting down on organisational road crash, incident costs and working days lost to injury.
  • Making the best use of available resources to target safety risks.
  • Increasing competitive advantage in the tendering processes.
  • Reducing insurance premiums and vehicle repair bills.


This system is based on the principle that our lives and health should not be compromised by our need to travel. No death or serious injury is acceptable in our road transport network.

The Safe Systems approach is designed with human beings at its centre, taking human fallibility and vulnerability into account, and accepting that even the most conscientious person will make a mistake at some point. The goal of Safe Systems is to ensure that these mistakes do not lead to a crash; or, if a crash does occur, it is sufficiently controlled so as to not cause a death or a life-changing injury.

Responsibility for the system is shared by everyone. Policy makers, planners, engineers, vehicle manufacturers, fleet managers, law enforcement officers, road safety educators, health agencies and the media are all accountable for the system’s safety. While every road user, whether they drive, cycle or walk, is responsible for taking on board and following the system’s rules.

A Safe Systems approach is also in sync with broader ethical, social, economic and environmental goals. By creating partnerships where government or transport agencies work closely with other groups, Safe Systems tackle problems associated with road traffic, such as congestion, noise, air pollution and lack of physical exercise.

The ultimate goal of the Safe System approach goal is to eliminate road fatalities and serious injuries. ISO 39001:2012, with its risk-based thinking approach to Road Safety Management and its commitment to continual improvement, is the perfect management tool for achieving these goals!


Are you ready to take up the challenge and join us on a journey towards zero road deaths and serious injuries? We can help you to build a solid road traffic management system that will help your organisation manage its road risks in a cost-effective manner. 

Work with us to build a Road Traffic Safety Management System that will help you to manage road traffic safety in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.

Follow these steps:

  1. Visit www.riskza.com/training-schedule-booking to find an upcoming ISO 39001:2012 training event closest to you.
  2. Contact us! on +27 (0) 31 569 5900, email info@riskza.com or using our contact form.

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Ethical Sourcing and Greening Your Supply Chain are Vital for Business Today

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Consumer goods companies are facing battles on all fronts. But increasingly they are having to defend themselves against social media ambush attacks which threaten to damage customer appeal for their products.

Sofia Ashraf is a young, bright copywriter for Ogilvy and Mather by day and a rapper by night. In 2015 she used her copywriting skills to change the lyrics of Nicki Minaj’s hit Anaconda from a celebration of women’s bottoms to the serious issues of Unilever’s alleged toxic waste dump and mercury poisoning in Kodaikanal, a city in southern India.

The trouble began in 1982 at a thermometer factory owned by the Anglo-Dutch company, where workers claim they were exposed to mercury poisoning. Unilever has settled the workers’ compensation claims but the team that produced “Kodaikanal Won’t” are not happy.

They released another video in 2018 “Kodaikanal Still Won’t” and promise to travel to the Netherlands and the UK to raise awareness among Dutch and British consumers about the company’s double standards if they refused to clean up the forest.​

Download our FREE GUIDE: ISO 14001:2015 – How to Improve Supplier Performance and Transparency to find out more.


Arthur Karuletwa is a social entrepreneur who is passionate about family and the people of his country. He works with Rwandan coffee farmers who are some of the poorest people in the world.

Arthur Karuletwa is upbeat about the benefits that the global coffee market has had on improving the lives of Rwanda’s coffee bean growers:

“What I see all over the world, in the most unexpected places, are ordinary people willing to confront despair, hopelessness, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, dignity and the beauty of what makes us human – despite the seemingly crumbling surroundings.”

Rwanda is hosting the African Fine Coffees Conference and Exhibition this month (February 2019). It’s an annual event that takes place in Africa’s coffee producing countries, and it’s a chance for coffee producers to meet local and international buyers. In the last 10 years, Rwanda has worked hard at improving the quality of its coffee beans.

“I would rate Rwanda’s coffee as exceptional … we love Rwandan coffee,” said Craig Russell, of the Starbucks Corporation in the New York Times in July 2015. The American coffee house is the largest in the world and buys up a lot of Rwanda’s coffee beans.

Starbuck’s journey to source 100% ethically produced coffee … 15 years and counting!

Arthur Karuletwa is the Director of Global Coffee traceability at Starbucks and connects their supply chain from the farmer to the consumer. In 2018 Starbucks launched a pilot program working with farmers to develop real-time blockchain technology that follows the coffee beans’ supply chain journey. The brand hopes to forge a deeper sense of trust and loyalty with their consumers by increasing transparency and creating more emotional connections between them and the brand.

And that’s exactly what transparency is supposed to do. It should build trust in the public, in customers and in consumers that products are truthfully ethically sourced. But transparency can only be effective if communication is open, honest and accessible and company disclosure is ethical.


Sustainability programs help companies mitigate social and environmental risks throughout their supply chains. These programs are all about business resilience, transparency, ethics and competitiveness, and typically address issues such as compliance, workers’ safety and health, and the environment among many other concerns. Issues in the supply chain can be broadly split into two: human rights issues and the sourcing issues in supply.

Supply chains have been becoming increasingly more important over the past few years, as the effects of inadequate supply chain accountability are more and more visible in our marketplace.  Manufacturers are getting a clear picture that sourcing decisions are now much more visible than in the past… and much more risky.

Big industry movers like IBM, Procter and Gamble, Kimberly-Clark, Johnson & Johnson and Unilever, among many others, are putting serious effort into engaging, collaborating and tracking supplier sustainability efforts. Central to each of these organisation’s concerns is how suppliers impact the large companies carbon footprint, water resource use and waste management.  

So, how can you ensure that your supply chain’s behaviour and performance do not harm the environment and your reputation?


Join us on our upcoming ISO 14001:2015 Introduction to EMS and Implementation or ISO 14001:2015 Internal & Supplier Auditor training courses to improve your knowledge about supplier management in Environmental Management Systems.  Contact Risk ZA on +27 (0) 31 569 5900, email info@riskza.com or using our contact form.

You can also download our FREE Guide: ISO 14001:2015 – How to Improve Supplier Performance and Transparency to find out more.

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ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management – Accelerate Business Performance

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The World Economic Forum describes the current competitive business landscape in a word: disruptive. How well an organisation approaches risk management in a climate of volatility can affect its ability to make robust and informed strategic decisions and achieve its objectives.

Download our FREE GUIDE ISO 31000:2018 How do I get started? where we investigate the 8 Principles that set out the requirements for a risk management initiative.

Traditionally, risk management played a supporting role at board level. However, over the past decade, organisations have adopted the view that risk management must be embedded in the general management of an organisation, and fully integrated across an enterprise with functions such as finance, strategy, internal control, procurement, continuity planning, human resources, and compliance.

Voices of stakeholders have become louder in their demand for transparency and accountability in managing the impact of risk, and evaluating the ability of leadership to embrace opportunities. The use of technology and economic globalisation have made risks increasingly entwined, placing even more emphasis on sound risk management within any organisation.

To keep pace with a rapidly evolving world and future threats, the International Organization for Standardization published a revised version of its Risk Management Standard in February 2018. Essentially, ISO 31000:2018 reflects the evolution of risk management thinking from a separate ‘siloed’ activity to an integrated management function. The overarching strategy of the standard is to embed risk management best practices on a micro-level within organisations so as to manage threats that stand in the way of enterprises achieving their objectives, and create value by finding and exploiting opportunity. This should grab the attention of anyone looking to gain competitive advantage, improve operations, or reduce costs within their organisation.

ISO 31000:2018 - Five Things to Know

1. It is clear and concise

The standard delivers a clear and concise guide to help all organisations manage risks. Risk management concepts are simply explained, giving diverse organisations and people the ability to access the tools that can drive change in order to protect and create value. ISO 31000:2018 is supplemented by ISO Guide 73:2009, a vocabulary index used to support ISO 31000:2018, and ISO 31010:2009 that focuses on risk assessment concepts, processes and the selection of risk assessment techniques.  ISO 31000:2018 has been trimmed down to just 15 pages, and risk management principles reduced from 11 to 8, which streamlines the process for implementation.

2. It is easy to implement

All organisations make decisions that shape their future every day. ISO 31000:2018 provides guidance on how to manage uncertainty to meet objectives, and how to implement risk management to support strategic decision making. This promotes intelligent risk taking at all levels of a business. Risk management best practices promote critical thinking about the role of uncertainty in decision making, and encourage the identification, assessment, and treatment of uncertainty that can impact daily business activities. Small organisations with limited room for exposure to adverse internal and external risks now have the ability to access invaluable tools to create a tolerable risk environment and protect value.

3. It creates and protects value

Creating and protecting value is the central tenant of ISO 31000:2018. If processes are not adding value, they are simply adding costs. The standard helps enterprises improve performance by embedding risk management into all business decision-making processes and making risk-based thinking a daily activity.

4. It reinforces integration

Integration is mentioned throughout the standard. Here are a few examples:

  • Risk management should be part of the organisational purpose, governance, leadership and commitment, strategy, objectives and operations.
  • Properly designed and implemented, the risk management framework ensures that the risk management process is a part of all activities throughout the organisation.
  • The organisation should continually improve the suitability, adequacy and effectiveness of the risk management framework and the way the risk management process is integrated.
  • The risk management process should be an integral part of management and decision-making and should be integrated into the structure, operations and processes of the organisation.

5. It focuses on leadership

Support from top management is essential for successful implementation of the risk management framework and processes. Leadership support for risk management becoming a strategic planning and decision-making tool creates a risk aware culture at all levels of the organisation.


ISO 31000:2018 can help create and protect value for any organisation by providing a flexible framework. If individuals are given the tools to promote critical thinking on how uncertainty can impact meeting objectives then the organisation should see an increase in value from an integrated risk management framework.

Ready to get started?

Risk ZA is a leading provider of enterprise risk management training programmes, which aim to improve your business performance. Contact us on +27 (0) 31 569 5900, email info@riskza.com or visit www.riskza.com.

PLUS! Download our FREE GUIDE ISO 31000:2018 How do I get started? where we investigate the 8 Principles that set out the requirements for a risk management initiative.

For more information or guidance on which ISO standard(s) and services would best suit the needs of your organisation, please email Risk ZA at info@riskza.com or contact us on 0861 Risk ZA / +27 (0) 31 569 5900.

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Can consumers ever be sure that the food they eat is 100% safe? In short, the answer is, no. We live in an environment where we are constantly exposed to bacteria. However, the recent deadly listeria outbreak, which killed over 200 people in South Africa, has been a major eye opener. Consumers are not only questioning food safety standards, but rightly insisting on a tougher approach to food safety.

Our FREE downloadable guide ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety Management Systems Implementation explores the steps necessary for a successful compliance.

After months of testing and cleaning at its Polokwane facility, Tiger Brands CEO Lawrence MacDougall has said that they will probably never know how the deadly ST6 listeria strain entered the facility. He has confirmed, however, that the factory followed all existing protocols and requirements in SA. Since the outbreak Tiger Brands has worked with international and local experts to further improve safety and prevent another outbreak, including changing the way its factories are arranged, and adopting technologies to reduce bacteria loads. Fallout from the listeria crisis has caused immeasurable harm to the brand, and this is the type of storm that only a giant like Tiger Brands can weather. For smaller food producers and suppliers in the value chain, the impact has been huge.

While the root causes of the listeria outbreak continue to puzzle scientists and industry experts, the frequency of these tragic food poisoning incidents, and loss of life, points to serious problems in the food supply chain. Head of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Food Safety and Zoonoses department, Dr. Kazuaki Miyagishima, reduces food contamination in Africa down to:

  • Poor food preparation;
  • Poor hygiene;
  • Inadequate conditions in food production and storage;
  • Lower levels of literacy, education and training; and  
  • Insufficient food safety legislation or implementation of legislation.

If consumers want safer food – and they do – where do we begin to find answers to solve these problems?

Improving Food Safety and Quality in South Africa

Food regulatory systems are the cornerstone of public health the world over, and South Africa is no exception. Numerous food-related regulations, grouped under the National Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act, are in place to protect consumer health. Government has also tightened industry regulations following the listeria outbreak, and processors of ready-to-eat meat products are now required to implement a hazard-analysis and critical control point system, by March 2019. While not all of these food safety regulations and systems apply to all sectors in the food industry, the following levels of protection should be in place where applicable.

A valid certificate of acceptability

A valid certificate of acceptability is issued by the local municipality in terms of Regulation 962 of the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics & Disinfectants Act. Its general hygiene requirements are basic, and it should ensure a facility is adequately designed and constructed to handle food. The regulation emphasises the importance of training food handlers, which is often a weakness in food safety systems. It also places the full legal liability for food safety on the person in charge. New requirements of the draft regulation known as R364, are far more stringent, and bring South Africa in line with the US and Europe.

Prerequisite Programmes

The majority of food hazards can be controlled by PRPs, which are the foundation for the HACCP system. Once the PRPs are in place, HACCP based procedures focus on controlling the steps in the production process which are critical to ensuring the preparation of safe food.

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point System (HACCP)

Any company involved in the manufacturing, processing or handling of food products should use HACCP to minimise or eliminate food safety hazards in their product. The HACCP system reduces the risk of safety hazards, and requires that potential hazards are identified and controlled at specific points in the process. As mentioned earlier, the HACCP regulations have been amended to include ready-to-eat meat and poultry processors, which have until 14 March, 2019 to comply.

FSSC 22000 Food Safety System Certification

The FSSC 22000 Food Safety Management System Certification Scheme uses the ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety Management Systems requirements for food safety, and the ISO Technical Standards for PRPs. Certification is recognised by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), and it affords food producers and food packaging manufacturers worldwide recognition for their food safety systems.

British Retail Consortium Food Safety Standard

The BRC Food Safety Standard provides prescriptive guidelines as to how food safety should be addressed. ISO FSSC 22000:2018 offers a good framework against which an organisation can develop its own food safety management system, and allows the organisation to choose the best way to control its own system.The BRC has a simple certification process, and only requires an onsite audit, whereas the FSSC 22000 certification standard requires a stage 1 and 2 audit, both to be done on site, plus periodic surveillance and unannounced audits. The role of certification bodies in supporting the food safety system has been identified as an area for improvement in the lessons learned from the listeria crisis.

Food Growers and GlobalG.A.P

GLOBALG.A.P. (Good Agricultural Practices) is a farm assurance programme, and a partnership between agricultural producers and retailers that endeavours to establish accepted standards and procedures in the agricultural sector. It is widely-used, and many customers for agricultural products require evidence of GlobalG.A.P certification as a prerequisite for doing business. The standard was developed using the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) guidelines, and is governed according to ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015 for certifications schemes.

ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety Management System

As we have discussed, food safety is all about preventing, eliminating, or controlling foodborne hazards so that food is safe to eat. There are many guidelines to follow and legal requirements in place. However, there has not been a single, internationally recognised food safety systems standard that applies to every link in the supply chain, and that worked regardless of local laws and customs. That is, not until June 2018, when the ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety Management Systems Standard was released.

In the short time since its release, ISO 22000:2018 has become synonymous with food safety worldwide. The ISO standard renders food safety management into a process of continuous improvement, which aims to prevent or eliminate food safety hazards or, if they can’t be completely eliminated, bring them within acceptable limits. It integrates the principles of the HACCP system, and incorporates steps developed by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, a subgroup of the WHO. Furthermore, ISO 22000:2018 combines the HACCP plan with prerequisite programmes. To have a complete quality management system in a food organisation, ISO 9000:2015 and ISO 22000:2018 can be integrated.

Food safety is not guaranteed by virtue of a standard. However, with compliance to ISO 22000:2018 throughout the food supply chain, consumers can have greater confidence in the safety and integrity of the food supply system, and can be reasonably assured that the food they purchase is safe for them and their families to eat.

Our FREE downloadable guide ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety Management Systems Implementation explores the steps necessary for a successful compliance.

For more information or guidance on which ISO standard(s) and services would best suit the needs of your organisation, please email Risk ZA at info@riskza.com or contact us on 0861 Risk ZA / +27 (0) 31 569 5900.

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ISO 14001:2015 – Internal Audits Drive Real Improvements

Confronted with dramatic environmental challenges, plus a slew of regulatory requirements, many organisations have implemented environmental management systems (EMSs). An ISO 14001:2015 based EMS is the most popular, used to meet compliance obligations, monitor environmental policies and procedures, manage resources and control environmental harms.

ISO 14001:2015 is a systems-based management tool centering around the Plan-Do-Check-Act method, which drives continual improvement. The standard outlines in Clause 9.2 that internal audits at set intervals are necessary to support the theme of continual improvement underpinning the management system.

The purpose of internal audits is to ensure that the organisation’s environmental policies, objectives, compliance obligations and performance requirements are met and recorded, and that any corrective action is taken where necessary.


Our FREE Downloadable Guide How To Conduct An Environmental Management Systems Audit explores more about the ISO 14001 Environmental Audit process. You can get hold of it by clicking the button below.

What to expect from an ISO 14001:2015 audit

A key point to emphasise is that the intended outcomes of ISO 14001:2015 have not changed. The EMS must:

  • Protect the environment.
  • Meet compliance obligations.
  • Enhance environmental performance.

ISO 14001:2015 does, however, have a number of new requirements that will change the focus of an audit, which include:

  • Context of the organisation
  • Leadership
  • Planning
  • Support
  • Documentation
  • Operations
  • Performance evaluation
  • Improvement

ISO 14001:2015 - Clause 9: Performance evaluation

Performance evaluation is about measuring and evaluating an EMS to establish whether it meets the organisation’s planned outcomes. Evaluation provides valuable information for continual improvement by:

  • Evaluating the EMS’s effectiveness.
  • Establishing whether requirements of the standard are being met.
  • Verifying whether compliance obligations have been met.
  • Reviewing the EMs’s suitability, adequacy, effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Demonstrating that planning has been properly implemented.
  • Assessing the performance of processes against outcomes.
  • Determining the need or opportunities for improvement.

Monitoring, measurement, analysis and evaluation

Monitoring in the sense of ISO 14001 means checking, reviewing, inspecting and observing  planned activities to ensure that they are occurring as intended. So, for example, if an operational control states that water quality will be inspected twice weekly, then this is a monitoring process. Monitoring and measurement :

  • Evaluates environmental performance;
  • Analyses root causes of problems;
  • Assesses compliance with compliance obligations;
  • Identifies areas for corrective action;
  • Improves performance and efficiency.

The Internal audit programme

Unlike an audit schedule or audit plan, an audit programme includes the full life-cycle of auditing. From the very decision to use audit as a tool through planning and initiating the audit, performing, reporting and follow-up, to improvement of the entire programme and its constituent parts.

All parts of the EMS should be audited at minimum yearly, this is typically dealt with in an annual audit schedule. The entire EMS can be audited at once or in parts for more frequent audits. To establish the frequency of EMS audits, consider:

  • The nature of your operations;
  • Risks and opportunities;
  • Statutory and regulatory requirements and compliance obligations;
  • Significant environmental aspects / impacts;
  • Results of your monitoring programme;
  • Results of previous audits.

There are two principle considerations when auditing:

Compliance/conformance audits – ensure that management arrangements, like procedures, are being followed in order to comply with the requirements of ISO 14001.

Performance Audits –  ensure that the outputs of the management arrangements are achieving their intended outcomes. For example, the results of engineering controls applied to mitigate air pollution are achieving the legal limits.

ISO 14001 demands an approach that combines both a compliance/conformance and a performance approach to auditing.

Who should perform an environmental audit?

ISO 19011:2018 – Guidelines for auditing management systems – contains information on how to choose an Environmental Auditor. Environmental Auditors should have personal attributes, such as ethics, open-mindedness, perceptiveness and tact. They should understand audit principles, procedures and techniques, and have gained experience by conducting audits. They should know the subject matter they are auditing against and how this applies to different organisations.

Audit Team Leaders should be able to plan and resource effectively, have good communication and leadership skills. Environmental Auditors should complete training and have attained an appropriate level of education. When seeking an External Auditor consider the skills outlined here.

Auditor qualifications

All auditors need to receive initial and ongoing training. EMS auditors should be trained in auditing techniques and management system concepts, environmental regulations, and facility operations. For performance audits, an auditor needs to have a good understanding of the standard and the EMS, and a broad understanding of environmental issues. Auditors should be reasonably independent of the area or activity that is being audited and can definitely not audit their own work.

An effective audit programme should:

  • Develop audit procedures and protocols.
  • Establish an appropriate audit frequency.
  • Train auditors.  
  • Maintain audit records.
  • Link audit results to the corrective action system.

NEW! ISO 19011:2018: Guidelines for auditing management systems

Auditors are the ears and eyes of top management because they can provide an independent appraisal of an organisation’s operations and activities. In addition, a skillful auditor will add value to a management system by finding opportunities for improvement. It’s important to note that ISO 19011:2018 has significantly raises the bar on what constitutes essential competencies that management-systems auditors need to possess or acquire.

Revisions to ISO 9001:2015 (QMS), ISO 14001:2015 (EMS), and ISO 45001:2018 (OH&S) are all based on Annex SL of ISO Directive 1, the ISO High Level Structure. Consequently, ISO 19011 includes an annex to deal with how to audit organisational context, leadership and commitment, compliance and the supply chain, amongst others. The new standard will help with the effective audit of these management systems and facilitate a uniform approach to the auditing process where multiple systems are in place.


Our FREE Downloadable Guide How To Conduct An Environmental Management Systems Audit explores more about the ISO 14001 Environmental Audit process. You can get hold of it by clicking the button below.

For more information or guidance on which ISO standard(s) and services would best suit the needs of your organisation, please email Risk ZA at info@riskza.com or contact us on 0861 Risk ZA / +27 (0) 31 569 5900.

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ISO 9001:2015 – The Global Gold Standard for Quality Management Systems

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ISO 9001 is the globally accepted quality management framework with which high-performing organisations in all sectors and of all sizes choose to build their quality management systems and attain excellence. Operational excellence leads to better performance, more efficient use of resources and continuous improvement. ISO 9001:2015 has a positive impact on quality, innovation and overall performance by providing organisations with the discipline to consistently surpass industry standards for quality.

ISO 9001 was first published in 1987 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and the latest update to the standard was released in September 2015 to meet business needs of today. Used by millions of organisations worldwide, ISO 9001 is the only standard in the ISO 9000 series to which organisations can certify, although certification is not a requirement. ISO 9001:2015 lays out the criteria organisations must meet to ensure their offerings consistently satisfy customer and regulatory needs.

To learn how to manage your business more effectively and improve performance on an ongoing basis, through ISO 9001:2015, download our FREE Downloadable Guide: THE 3 KEY STEPS TO SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENTING THE ISO 9001:2015 QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM & REAPING THE REWARDS

What is a Quality Management System?

A QMS is a collection of management arrangements to control business processes, part of which may include procedures, and responsibilities for achieving quality policies and objectives. It helps organisations to coordinate and direct activities to meet customer satisfaction and regulatory requirements and to improve their effectiveness and efficiency on a continual basis.

What benefits will ISO 9001:2015 bring to my organisation?

An article in the international magazine manufacturingnews.com shows that 85% of ISO 9001 certified firms report external benefits, such as higher perceived quality, greater customer demand, better market differentiation, greater employee awareness of quality issues, and increased operational efficiency. Results like a reduction in customer claims, improvements in delivery time, fewer defects, improvements in product cycle time, and on-time delivery are achievable after correct implementation of an ISO 9001:2015 based quality management system.

Implementing ISO 9001:2015 will help your organisation to:

  • Assess the organisation’s context to define who is affected by your work and what they expect from you. This will help to clearly state your objectives and identify new business opportunities.
  • Identify and address risks associated with your organisation.
  • Put customers first and ensure your organisation consistently meets customer needs and expectations, which can lead to repeat business, new clients and increased sales volume.
  • Work more efficiently as processes will be aligned and understood by everyone, which will improve productivity and efficiency and bring down costs.
  • Meet the necessary statutory and regulatory requirements.

Additional benefits of ISO 9001:2015:

  • Provides senior management with an efficient management process.
  • Sets out areas of responsibility across the organisation.
  • Identifies and encourages more efficient and time-saving processes.
  • Promotes evidence-based decision-making, which improves efficiencies and cost savings.
  • Creates a culture of continual improvement. ISO experts agree that the most important aspect to ISO improvements are attitudes within the organisation.

Benefits to customers:

  • Improved quality and service.
  • Delivery on time.
  • Fewer returned products and complaints.
  • Cost reductions.

Should my organisation certify?

ISO certification requires hands-on senior management involvement and resources, which may include the use of consultants. Third-party certification signals that an organisation has implemented the standard correctly, and for some organisations certification is necessary as certain government or public entities only contract suppliers that have been certified.


Learn more about ISO 9001:2015 and what it takes to successfully implement a Quality Management System by downloading this FREE guide: THE 3 KEY STEPS TO SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENTING THE ISO 9001:2015 QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM & REAPING THE REWARDS


Success with the ISO 9001:2015 QMS can take many forms: for some organisations, it is all about attracting new clients, while others see it as the blueprint for internal efficiency. The Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) was awarded ISO 9001:2015 certification in 2017. The company responsible for the Quality Audit, noted that VWSA has a functioning and effective management system, adhered to by employees.

Chairman and MD, Thomas Schaefer said: “VWSA’s QMS is based on ISO 9001 and automotive specific requirements. Top management supports development of the management system, and certification means that VWSA can live up to the high levels required to provide our customers with quality products.” 

Certification guarantees that VWSA has the management systems in place as a prerequisite for export to international customers; it also ensures continuation of their export programme and provides assurance to customers, suppliers and employees that they are compliant with international standards. 

For more information or guidance on which ISO standard(s) and services would best suit the needs of your organisation, please email Risk ZA at info@riskza.com or contact us on 0861 Risk ZA / +27 (0) 31 569 5900.

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ISO 45001:2018 – How to become an OHS Auditor

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ISO 45001:2018 has been heralded as a ‘game changer’ in the world of voluntary safety management standards. Earlier this year, ISO 45001 was approved by voters of countries from around the world, and has been praised by the American Society of Safety Professionals as a ‘watershed moment’. It is one of the most significant developments in workplace safety over the past 50 years, presenting an opportunity to move the needle on reducing occupational health and safety risks.

The addition of ISO 45001 to the suite of ISO management system standards reinforces that Occupational Health & Safety is a key area of business performance for organisations, and that OH&S is about a lot more than legal compliance. When it is well integrated into the management of an organisation, good OH&S management is an enabler and an asset for a business rather than a cost.

To assist you in understanding the requirements for an ISO 45001:2018 OHS Management System Auditor, we have created a free guide with points from ISO 19011:2018: 10 STEPS TO AUDITING AN ISO 45001:2018 OHS MANAGEMENT SYSTEM.

Key considerations in the new standard

  • Setting the organisational context. Organisations will have to look beyond their own health and safety issues and consider what society expects from them, in regard to health and safety issues.
  • Increased top management accountability in a number of areas.  
  • Worker engagement. Siloed management systems have hampered effective OH&S management, and in respect of ISO 45001 workers need the opportunity to contribute and participate in all aspects of the Health & Safety Management System.  
  • Communication and risk management. ISO 45001 requires that risks and opportunities be established with all workers as part of the planning and implementation process of an OHSMS and that consultation be ongoing.

Auditing of Occupational Health & Safety management systems forms an important part of the process to demonstrate continual improvement. Continual improvement is a core component of every ISO management system. ISO 45001 further refines this, and ‘preventive action’ now becomes a distinct concept of the system as a whole. This means organisations will need to adopt a systemic approach for measuring and monitoring OH&S performance and compliance on a regular basis, as an integral part of the management system function.

Auditors needed for ISO 45001 OHS Management systems

As more organisations move towards seeking validation of their management system against ISO 45001, the demand for auditors will continue to rise. Whether you are new to safety management systems or transitioning from OHSAS 18001, the journey towards becoming a competent ISO 45001 auditor begins by becoming familiar with:

  • The high level structure for management systems based on Annex SL and how this affects auditing.
  • The new requirements for understanding the organisation and its context and how they may be audited.
  • The new and enhanced requirements for leadership and worker participation and how this affects auditing.
  • Risk-based thinking in an OHSMS and how this extends to requirements for risks and opportunities and how these may be audited.
  • The changes from a procedural approach to a process approach and how they may be audited.
  • How to adapt your auditing technique to accommodate the new and amended requirements in ISO 45001:2018.
  • Migration time frames for ISO 45001 and their impact on existing OHSAS 18001 certified organisations.

How can Risk ZA assist you?

To encourage the internal and supplier auditing functions, Risk ZA has developed a practical 2 Day ISO 45001:2018 Auditing course. The course provides the theoretical and practical knowledge of OHS auditing required to determine the conformance of the management system arrangements and its performance; based on outcomes. Delegates complete practical exercises and other assessments which relate to the requirements of ISO 45001:2018, hazards and other significant factors which influence the organisations OHS performance.

Persons attending this course will be able to facilitate internal Occupational Health & Safety management system audits based on the ISO 45001:2018 Standard and the ISO 19011 Standard for management system auditing. Plan and facilitate audits, set and recommend corrective actions, follow up and close out audit findings.

This course is recommended for Occupational Health and Safety Practitioners, Line Managers, Supervisors, and Management.

Download our free guide

Uncover the tools necessary for an ISO 45001:2018 Auditor by downloading our FREE downloadable guide: 10 STEPS TO AUDITING AN ISO 45001:2018 OHS MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

For more information or guidance on which ISO standard(s) and services would best suit the needs of your organisation, please email Risk ZA at info@riskza.com or contact us on 0861 Risk ZA / +27 (0) 31 569 5900.

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Why Should ‘I’ consider ISO 45001?

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Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) should be a major concern of organisations not only in sectors such as Mining and Construction where safety is critical, but in all sectors, including those which are often seen as ‘safe’, such as the Services industry. OHS is a legal requirement in South Africa, nevertheless workplace accidents that make headlines like the deadly collapse of the Grayston Drive pedestrian bridge on Gauteng’s M1 highway in October 2015, are just the tip of the iceberg. In the construction sector alone, two workers die on average every week in South Africa, and worldwide large-scale disasters, as seen in the factory building collapse in Bangladesh, are responsible for debilitating injuries, untold suffering and loss of life.

To assist you in learning a bit more about the standard and its relevance, we have created a free guide for you to download: “10 Steps to implementing an ISO 45001:2018 OHS Management System“.

Why the need for ISO 45001:2018 for workplace safety?

Occupational health and safety management systems are not new. Various countries have their own standards, although the only international documents are the International Labour Organization’s  Guidelines on OSH Management Systems and OHSAS 18001. ISO 45001:2018 now replaces the world’s reference for workplace health and safety, OHSAS 18001. The International Organization for Standardization is confident that wide adoption of ISO 45001 will reduce the horror stories of poor OHS management by enabling organisations globally to manage risks and improve operational performance. Irrespective of whether an organisation chooses to adopt ISO 45001:2018 or not, this management systems standard will become the norm, and organisations should be familiar with developments in worker safety.

What does ISO 45001:2018 mean for your organisation?

ISO 45001 is the first international OHS standard to formally acknowledge that creating a safer and healthier workplace goes hand in hand with a more productive, efficient and sustainable business. It sets out to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses, and improve productivity and efficiency by providing requirements and processes for enterprises to meet regulatory requirements, to manage risks and opportunities and to continually improve on performance. Organisations certified to OHSAS 18001 will need to become accredited to the new standard by 12 March 2021, and for enterprises new to OHS management systems standards, the key differences between ISO 45001:2018 and OHSAS follow.


New structure

An important difference between ISO 45001 and OHSAS 18001 is the High-level Structure. ISO now provides a common structure, identical core text, and terms and definitions for all revised standards so that management systems standards have the same look and feel, and to facilitate integration between systems, whether it be ISO 9001 (Quality Management), ISO 14001 (Environmental Management), or any other discipline.

From compliance to the process of risk management

While the goal of both standards is to prevent harm, ISO 45001 has new requirements for assessing risks and opportunities. It takes a proactive approach to risk control that starts with identifying all risks arising from an organisation’s activities and including these in the overall management system for ongoing identification and evaluation. OHSAS 18001 takes a reactive approach of ‘hazard control’ and delegates these responsibilities to safety management staff rather than integrating the responsibilities into the overall management system.

Leadership commitment

In ISO 45001, management commitment is central to the standard’s effectiveness in an organisation’s safety culture. Instead of providing oversight for the programme, the shift in ISO 45001 is to managerial ownership. Top management must demonstrate leadership by developing, leading and promoting a culture that supports and provides resources for the intended outcomes of the OHS management system.

Workers play a big part

OHSAS talks about ‘persons under the organisation’s control’; ISO 45001 uses the term ‘worker’. Worker essentially means everyone: paid, unpaid, regular, temporary, seasonal, casual, and part time; plus, top management and both managerial and non-managerial people; as well as those employed by the organisation, or by others such as external providers, contractors, and agency workers. Workers have greater participation, with employee and management collaboration on the Occupational, Health and Safety management system (OHSMS). Barriers to worker participation, which may include, language or literacy, or practises that discourage worker participation, need to be removed or reduced.

ISO 45001 – What to do next?​

Adopting the ISO 45001 standard means that health and safety becomes everyone’s responsibility, which is potentially its greatest strength. An organisation is only as good as its people – and to assist workers join in on developing and managing the OHSMS, training and education are essential.

How can Risk ZA assist you?

Risk ZA can help your organisation in adopting or migrating to the new standard. We are able to assist you in establishing an effective Health & Safety Management Systems by providing comprehensive training both in the standard’s requirements and against local OHS Acts.

To assist you in learning a bit more about the standard and its relevance, we have created a free guide for you to download: “10 Steps to implementing an ISO 45001:2018 OHS Management System“.

For more information or guidance on which ISO standard(s) and services would best suit the needs of your organisation, please email Risk ZA at info@riskza.com or contact us on 0861 Risk ZA / +27 (0) 31 569 5900.

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Sustainability through Natural Resource Stewardship

Sustainability through Natural Resource Stewardship
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For decades ISO standards have helped to ensure the quality, safety, reliability, and efficiency of products and services. However, organisations now need to tackle a range of longer-term strategic challenges to address stakeholders’ expectations of good governance, environmental stewardship, sustainability and social responsibility.

When the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) begins developing a standard, leading minds gather to debate issues such as strategic risk management, environmental performance, quality assurance, supply chain management and socially responsible behaviour to achieve global agreement on organisational best practices, expectations and guidance.

Sustainability starts with Governance & Risk Management

ISO 31000:2018 Standard on risk management takes these issues into account and supports sustainability by providing direction on how organisations can integrate risk-based decision-making into governance, planning, management, reporting, policies, values and culture.

The ISO 31000:2018 definition of risk is different to the traditional approach to financial risk management, in that the Standard defines risk as being the effect of uncertainty on objectives. These effects can be either a positive  or negative deviation from the objective, and may result in opportunity or threat. Sustainable-thinking helps organisations to set responsible objectives, and the Standard’s risk assessment process supports this approach. Unlike the financial approach that restricts risk management to loss, ISO 31000:2018 adopts the concept of a positive outcome as well.

The Standard helps to embed sustainability into the core business to allow teams to collaborate using the principles, framework and process of risk management in ISO 31000. The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) promotes this thinking on risk to CFOs, and states that accounting is fundamentally a social practice and not a technical one.

“When we understand the full dimensions of accounting we also get to appreciate how morality is at its core.” – IFAC

The benefits of Environmental Stewardship

Morality is central to the concept of stewardship, which is the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care. Environmental stewardship recognises that we cannot live without the many and varied benefits of ecosystem services, such as benefits derived from agroecosystems, forest ecosystems, grassland ecosystems and aquatic ecosystems.

For some corporates, stewardship represents how they are defining their role in environmental management challenges. Water is the ultimate shared resource. But water can only be managed sustainably if all users work together to ensure that it is responsibly governed and shared. A collaborative approach helps to build trusted relationships between multiple sectors as well as across silos within government and industry, and allows for the type of technical, behavioural and political changes necessary to improve water governance at global, national and community levels.

Case study: The Coca-Cola Company

Clean water is the vital ingredient in Coca-Cola’s beverages, and for various processes in the manufacturing cycle. The organisation’s approach to water stewardship is written into the corporate water strategy, which aims to return as much water to nature and to communities as it uses by 2020. Coca-Cola has applied the same  comprehensive risk assessments that the organisation uses for its strategy to understand global water challenges. The strategy takes into account water management at bottling plants and extends to catchment management, sustainable communities, and raising awareness to inspire other people and organisations to act.

Community & Global Partnerships

To meet the goal of replenishing all the water it uses, Coca-Cola invests in community water partnership projects. One of the largest collaborations is with the United States Agency for International Development and local bottling companies to protect and improve sustainability of catchments, increase people’s access to water and sanitation, and improve water use in 23 countries, including Africa. The company raises global awareness of water stewardship through The 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG), and the CEO mandate.

Reducing water use across the organisation

The company manages its water use ratio through a system-wide sustainability standard. Bottling plants assess water used to make beverages, and water usage in by surrounding communities.

The benefits from water stewardship for Coca-Cola include, watershed protection and conservation; expanding community drinking water and sanitation access, and improving water for productive use.

Coca-Cola is an ISO champion

Coca-Cola is the largest user of ISO management system standards, integrating ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 22000 and ISO 26000 into its total management system. To establish a governance process, businesses within the system implement, document and maintain a safety and quality system aligned to the organisation’s total management system.

For ISO 14001 alone, the organisation’s achievements for water sustainability, energy-savings, reducing CO2 emissions and total waste to landfill are impressive.

For more information or guidance on which ISO standard(s) and services would best suit the needs of your organisation, please email Risk ZA at info@riskza.com or contact us on 0861 Risk ZA / +27 (0) 31 569 5900.

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