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 its business activities and reduce the risk of pollution.
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. The steps to certification include:
Our ISO14001 toolkit is an effective way to put an EMS in place quickly and achieve certification to the standard. Our toolkit comes with 12 months of updates and support, helping you get your organization to certification fast. You can download a free sample document to begin your environmental compliance journey today!