ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems

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ISO 14001:2015 is the international standard that specifies the requirements for an environmental management system (EMS).

An EMS is 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 provides a framework for businesses to stay commercially successful while also considering their environmental responsibilities.

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ISO 14001 is applicable to any organisation seeking 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.

Benefits of ISO 14001

Implementing an ISO 14001-compliant EMS will help your organisation meet its environmental objectives and:

  • Reduce waste management expenses.
  • Save on the consumption of energy and materials.
  • Lower distribution costs.
  • Enhance its corporate reputation.
  • Gain a competitive advantage and the ability to win contracts.
  • Improve compliance and corporate risk management.
  • Enhance 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.

ISO 14001 Certification

Accredited certification to ISO 14001 demonstrates that you have implemented best practice. According to the latest ISO Survey, there are more than 300,000 certifications to the Standard in more than 170 countries around the world.

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).

Integration with other management system standards

ISO 14001 follows Annex SL, which sets out the high-level structure, core text for sub-clauses and requirements, and several common terms and core definitions for newer ISO management system standards.

Organisations that have implemented or are certified to any of the other Annex SL ISO management system standards should have many of the components common to most management systems in place.

Expanding the management system scope to address environmental issues and the environment-specific requirements in ISO 14001:2015 should then be relatively straightforward.

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Key resources for your ISO 14001 project

ISO 14001 2015 Standard

ISO 14001 2015 Standard

ISO/IEC 14001:2015 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 continually improve its environmental performance. It supersedes ISO 14001:2004.

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ISO 14001 Toolkit

ISO 14001 Toolkit

For organisations to prove their compliance with the ISO 14001 Standard, appropriate documentation is required. Development of that documentation can be a significant undertaking, especially for larger and more complex organisations. This toolkit includes all the tools, documentation and direction needed to streamline your implementation project.

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ISO 14001 Step by Step - A Practical Guide

ISO 14001 Step by Step - A Practical Guide

This book provides practical advice on how to meet the requirements of ISO 14001:2015, the international standard for an EMS (environmental management system).

With an EMS certified to ISO 14001, you can improve the efficiency of your business operations and fulfil compliance obligations, while reassuring your employees, clients, and other stakeholders that you are monitoring your environmental impact.

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