ISO 14001:2015 is the international standard that specifies the requirements for an environmental management system (EMS) – a framework for an organisation to control the environmental impacts of its activities, products and services, and to continually improve its environmental performance.
ISO 14001 has undergone a revision and the new, updated Standard was published in September 2015. ISO 14001:2015 requires businesses to adopt a more strategic, integrated and holistic approach when implementing and managing an EMS.
The Standard enables businesses to remain commercially successful without overlooking their environmental responsibilities, and applies to those environmental aspects that the organisation can control and over which it can be expected to have an influence.
There are now over 301,000 ISO 14001 certificates across the world, with an increase of over 17,000 in 2014 alone.
ISO 14001 is applicable to any organisation that wishes to:
- implement, maintain and improve an EMS;
- assure itself of its conformance with its stated environmental policy;
- demonstrate such conformance to others;
- seek certification of its environmental management system by an external organisation;
- make a self-determination and self-declaration of conformance with this international standard.
What are the benefits of using ISO 14001?
- A reduction in waste management expenses
- Savings in the consumption of energy and materials
- Lower distribution costs
- Corporate reputational benefits
- A competitive advantage and the ability to win contracts
- Improved compliance and corporate risk management
- Better stakeholder relationships and customer trust
ISO 14001:2015: a summary of the changes
- The introduction of Annex SL, a common framework to all management systems
- A stronger emphasis on embedding sustainability into the organisation and demonstrating leadership in the EMS
- A life cycle approach to procurement, design and the delivery of products and services
- The inclusion of risks associated with threats and opportunities of external conditions
- Improved engagement with interested parties and other forms of communication
- An emphasis on data quality and assurance
Why have changes to ISO 14001 been introduced?
- To bring the Standard in line with changes in technology and business practices
- To incorporate a common format (Annex SL) to make implementation easier
- To facilitate a better understanding of environmental impacts and risks
- To enable a better response to external conditions (e.g. adapting to climate change or resource availability)
- To support improved planning by reducing threats and increasing opportunities.
- To integrate the EMS into the business, thereby avoiding a tick-box approach
Transitioning requirements for ISO 14001:2015
Companies are now expected to start aligning with the new standard and to bring their practices into line with the latest requirements. A three-year transition period to ISO 14001:2015 has been set by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF). Read further transitioning planning guidance from the IAF here >>
Related products and resources
All IT Governance ISO 14001 products are currently being updated to conform to ISO 14001:2015.
The essential ISO 14001 EMS toolkit
The ISO 14001 EMS Environmental Management System Documentation Toolkit contains a full suite of templates that will help you prepare for and implement an EMS that complies with ISO 14001. The policy and procedure templates found in the ISO 14001 EMS Environmental Management System Documentation Toolkit are generally applicable across all industries and virtually every business. Click here to find out more about the ISO 14001 EMS Environmental Management System Documentation Toolkit.
ISO 14001 Step by Step - A Practical Guide
This pocket guide, intended to help you put in place an EMS, is specifically focused on ISO 14001. It is designed to enable industry managers, who may be lacking in specialist knowledge, to achieve compliance with the Standard. A step-by-step approach makes the guide easy to follow.
ISO 14001 Environmental Management Consultancy
Our ISO 14001 consultancy service uses methodologies and tools that have been developed and honed through many years' experience. With our wide-ranging expertise across a broad spectrum of management systems, we can identify linkages and improvements to drive business efficiency and bottom-line benefits through your whole operation.
Additional support options range from acting as a mentor and coach to your internal project team through to coming in and running the project for you. Either way, we focus on enabling a suitable transfer of skills and knowledge so that you can easily maintain your own environmental management system and ISO 14001 certification after your successful initial certification audit.