The ISO14001 international standard for Environmental Management Systems (EMS) – Requirements was revised by the ISO in 2015. ISO14001 specifies the requirements that your EMS will need to meet in order for your organization to become certified to the standard. The requirements in ISO14001 are supplemented by guidance contained in Annex A of the standard and ISO14004. The latter is well worth reading as it fills in some of the gaps in understanding how the requirements in ISO14001 should be met and gives more clues about what the auditor may be looking for.
There are many reasons why a business should implement ISO14001 to improve environmental performance, such as:
When looking at environmental management, the emphasis is usually on the procedures used to manage the environmental impact of business activities.
The function of the EMS is to wrap itself around the procedures and ensure (among other things) that:
The ISO14001 standard consists of a number of major headings which will be common across other standards and which are:
Sections 1 to 3 don’t contain any requirements and so an organization wouldn’t be audited against those. They are worth a read, however, as they provide some useful background to what the standard is about and how it should be interpreted. Section 0 is the introduction to the standard.
Sections 4 to 10 set out the compulsory requirements of the standard. The auditing process is to check whether all of the requirements are being met by the organization. Requirements are not optional and if they are not being met then a nonconformity will be raised by the auditor, and the organization will need to address it to gain or keep their certification to the standard.
There’s no obligation to go for certification to ISO14001 and many organizations choose to simply use the standard as a set of good practice principles to guide them along the way to running their business in an environmentally friendly way.
For certification, the steps to are similar of all the ISO standards, and involve:
Once certified, you will then have an annual surveillance audit to confirm your compliance, and then every three years there will be a re-certification audit, which is when you will be re-issued certification.
Our ISO14001 toolkit is an effective way to implement the requirements of the standard to prepare for certification. Written by an ISO14001 auditor, our toolkit comes with more than 50 documents, document reviews and email support with our qualified consultants.
We also offer ISO14001 consultancy and internal auditing services to organizations in the UK, EU and +/- two hours of the UK time zone. So if you need a bit of extra help with implementation, or your internal audit requirements need meeting, click the links to see how we can help.
You can find out more information about putting an Environmental Management System in place by downloading our implementation guide using the form below: