< Back to Insights

COSO vs. ISO 31000 for Enterprise Risk Management (ERM)

Risk management is an integral part of any organization. But what are the differences between the two main frameworks for risk management, COSO and ISO 31000? Let’s explore these two frameworks and discuss why it matters to your organization.


An Introduction to the COSO

The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) established a framework in 1992 to help organizations manage risk. This framework has been widely accepted and is used by many organizations around the world. Understanding how to implement the COSO framework is essential for businesses that want to be successful in their risk management practices. Let’s take a look at what the COSO framework is and how to use it effectively.


What is the COSO Framework?
The COSO framework is a set of principles, processes, and structures designed to help organizations effectively manage risk. The primary objective of this framework is to create an environment in which risks can be identified, monitored, and managed more effectively. It also promotes transparency and accountability within an organization by providing guidelines for effective communication, oversight, and decision-making regarding risk management activities.

How Does it Work?
The COSO framework consists of five components that help organizations identify, monitor, and manage risks: Control Environment; Risk Assessment; Control Activities; Information & Communication; and Monitoring Activities. Each component includes specific elements or objectives that should be incorporated into an organization’s risk management processes. These include establishing proper policies and procedures; performing periodic risk assessments; implementing controls to mitigate identified risks; communicating information about risks throughout the organization; and monitoring results regularly.

By following these steps, an organization can ensure that its risk management activities are properly documented, communicated, and monitored on an ongoing basis. This helps ensure that any potential risks are identified quickly so they can be addressed before they cause significant damage or losses to the organization. Additionally, having a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of risk management can help organizations make better decisions when evaluating investments or other business opportunities.

The COSO framework provides businesses with a set of principles and processes that can help them identify, monitor, and manage risks more efficiently. By incorporating the five components outlined by COSO into their risk management practices—Control Environment; Risk Assessment; Control Activities; Information & Communication; and Monitoring Activities—organizations can ensure that their activities are properly documented, communicated throughout the organization, and monitored on an ongoing basis for maximum effectiveness. Whether you’re just getting started with your risk management efforts or looking for ways to improve existing processes, understanding how to implement the COSO framework is essential for success in today’s ever-changing business landscape!

See also  Looming Layoffs for Disney Signals A Decrease In Risk Appetite

An Introduction to the ISO 31000 Framework

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) provides a framework to help organizations manage their risk. This framework is known as ISO 31000, and it offers guidance on how to develop a risk management policy, what types of tools should be used, and how to assess risks. Let’s take a look at the key elements of the ISO 31000 framework and some best practices for implementing it.


The ISO 31000 standard is an international standard that outlines principles and generic guidelines for managing risk. It consists of seven steps that provide guidance in developing a risk management process to identify, analyze, evaluate, treat, monitor, communicate, and review risks. The framework also provides guidance on how to establish criteria for determining acceptable levels of risk.

Best Practices for Implementing ISO 31000
When implementing the ISO 31000 framework, organizations should follow these best practices:

  • Develop a clear and detailed policy document that outlines the organization’s goals, objectives, approach to risk management and roles/responsibilities of each team member involved in the process.
  • Involve all stakeholders when developing the policy document; this will ensure everyone understands their role in managing risks within the organization. ESG compliance can be included in this process when applicable; by ensuring sustainability goals are met at each stage of the process from identification through evaluation and treatment.
  • Utilize available tools such as software programs or checklists to facilitate risk management processes. These tools can help streamline processes and ensure consistency throughout the organization.
  • Establish criteria to evaluate risks based on severity or importance; this helps organizations prioritize which risks need to be addressed first or require more attention throughout the organization’s operations.
  • Ensure regular review and updates are made to existing policies as needed; this helps organizations stay ahead of changing regulations or industry standards while ensuring they remain compliant with applicable laws/regulations or internal policies/procedures.
See also  Automation is the Future of Risk Management

Risk management is an important component of any successful business strategy; without proper oversight over potential threats or challenges facing an organization, it’s difficult to create long-term plans that ensure growth or profitability. The ISO 31000 framework provides a comprehensive set of guidelines for businesses looking to implement their own risk management program into their operations. By following best practices such as developing clear policies, utilizing available tools/software programs, establishing criteria for evaluating risks based on severity/importance, and conducting regular reviews/updates as needed—organizations can ensure they have an effective system in place for managing potential risks within their operations while remaining compliant with applicable laws/regulations or internal policies/procedures.

Comparing the Two Frameworks (COSO vs ISO 31000)

Both COSO and ISO 31000 provide comprehensive guidance on developing effective risk management strategies for organizations of all sizes. However, there are some key differences between the two approaches that businesses should consider when determining which approach is best suited for their needs. For example, COSO relies more heavily on internal control activities while ISO 31000 puts a greater emphasis on communication with stakeholders and creating a culture open to change. Additionally, while both frameworks focus on managing potential losses associated with identified risks, only COSO also addresses opportunities within its framework.


Risk management is essential for any organization’s success – no matter what size or industry you may be in – but not all frameworks are created equal. When evaluating which framework best suits your organization’s needs it is important to understand the difference between COSO’s ERM Framework and ISO 31000’s global standard for risk management so you can choose the one that best addresses your specific goals and objectives. Ultimately, selecting the framework that works best for your organization will help ensure you have an effective strategy in place to manage potential losses associated with identified risks as well as capitalize on new opportunities when they arise!

See also  What is Corporate Policy Management?

Are you looking to integrate the COSO or ISO 31000 frameworks in your organization? Take a look at Empowered System’s Enterprise Risk Management solution and request a free demo of Connected Risk today!

Share this article

GDPR Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner Skip to content