Presidents's blog - ISO 37000

By NZISM Master account


Kia ora koutou members and supporters of NZISM. A book review: I’m always on the lookout for a good read, and this week I took the time to settle down with a copy of the International Standard ISO 37000 Governance of Organisations – Guidance (2021). I’ll be honest, it’s not the type of book that’s going to keep you up to 2am just to get to the last chapter, and it did take a couple of goes. However, as far as standards go, it’s one that makes you think about how organisations’ are governed, and how we could be better and potentially more strategic in our approach.

Interestingly, it is the first-ever international benchmark for good governance and while, of course, I had a health and safety lens over it, what interested me most about it was the focus on performing effectively while behaving ethically and responsibly. It wasn’t about making money, and it covered how organisations should look beyond their self-interests towards ‘sustainable development” ie:

  • development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

It explains this further outlining that:

  • sustainable development is about integrating the goals of a high quality of life, health and prosperity with social justice and maintaining the Earth’s capacity to support life in all its diversity (

Personally, I rather like the thought of an organisation considering a “high quality of life” as a something to work towards.

This document is quite detailed, which is helpful given that it is explaining sometimes complex concepts. The part I really found useful was the section on overseeing performance ( It gave good guidance on what the governing body of an organisation should consider with regards to its performance, and therefore assess and take appropriate action. From a health and safety perspective I can see two key uses for the performance section, namely as potential a set of questions that could be asked by those governing the organisation, and also a useful construct for those reporting upwards, when perhaps the questions being asked by the governing body are less than optimal.

I’m not sure this document will be a bestseller. However, if components of governance overlap with the work that you do, it would be a worthwhile resource for aspects that could be incorporated into your organisation or your activities. At $250, it’s a bit pricey – but it might be what you’re looking for if you need to augment your governance knowledge.
International Standard ISO 37000 Governance of Organisations – Guidance (2021)

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Ngā mihi

Robyn Bennett

President, NZISM