The Annex SL is a new addition to the standard of the ISO 9000 family. It arose to meet a market demand.

In addition to ISO 9000, many other ISO standards had similar requirements, but with completely different definitions and terminologies. By integrating different management systems, such as quality and environment for example, the level of complexity increased and resulted in a number of inconsistencies.

Aiming to facilitate this process, in 2010, ISO created Annex SL. It includes the HLS (High Level Structure), which has since been adopted by many of the new standards.

Due to its universal nature, Annex SL can be applied to different standards that have similar requirements. This “shared” structure allows for greater compatibility between standards with different scopes. In this way, it facilitates the entire process of integration of different management systems.

With Annex SL, the standards become similar in their main structure, in the sequence of chapters and in their terms and definitions. In addition, integration of different management systems can be carried out any time the organization deems it necessary, in order to maintain the compliance of their products and services.

Some standards that already incorporate HLS:

ISO 9001:2015 - Quality management systems
ISO 14001:2015 - Environmental management systems
ISO 55001:2014 - Asset management system
ISO/IEC 27001:2013 - Information security management systems

Prior to the appearance of Annex SL, each organization handled multiple management systems differently. Quite often, this led to an overburdening of resources, budget overruns and communication problems, among other problems. Now, all this can be optimized.

Integrating different management systems provides a number of benefits for an organization, among which we can highlight:

  • Better alignment between the processes and business strategies of the organization.
  • Optimization of the performance of all management systems. The integrated approach to processes provides a complete view of the whole organization.
  • Reduced duplication of documents and resources. This makes processes simpler to maintain and manage.
  • Simpler auditing processes, maximizing productivity and eliminating unnecessary costs.
  • Promotion of continuous improvement, reducing risks and identifying opportunities.

In summary, the high level structure of Annex SL provides benefits to organizations by simplifying the entire process of integration of different standards. It transforms separate management systems into an integrated management system, which works in conjunction with other systems, aligned with the company’s strategic objectives.

Learn more about Annex SL on the ISO blog.

Marcelo Becher


Marcelo Becher

Specialist in Strategic Management from PUC-PR. Business and market analyst at SoftExpert, a software provider for enterprise-wide business processes automation, improvement, compliance management and corporate governance.

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