EMS - Environmental Management System (ISO 14001:2015)

What is an environmental management system?

An environmental management system helps organizations identify, manage, monitor and control their environmental issues in a “holistic” manner. Other ISO standards that look at different types of management systems, such as ISO 9001 for quality management and ISO 45001 for occupational health and safety, all use a High-Level Structure. This means that ISO 14001 can be integrated easily into any existing ISO management system. ISO 14001 is suitable for organizations of all types and sizes, be they private, not-for-profit or governmental. It requires that an organization considers all environmental issues relevant to its operations, such as air pollution, water and sewage issues, waste management, soil contamination, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and resource use and efficiency. Like all ISO management system standards, ISO 14001 includes the need for continual improvement of an organization’s systems and approach to environmental concerns. The standard has recently been revised, with key improvements such as the increased prominence of environmental management within the organization’s strategic planning processes, greater input from leadership and a stronger commitment to proactive initiatives that boost environmental performance.

What benefits will it bring to my business or organization?

  • Demonstrate compliance with current and future statutory and regulatory requirements.
  • Increase leadership involvement and engagement of employees.
  • Improve company reputation and the confidence of stakeholders through strategic communication.
  • Achieve strategic business aims by incorporating environmental issues into business management.
  • Provide a competitive and financial advantage through improved efficiencies and reduced costs.
  • Encourage better environmental performance of suppliers by integrating them into the organization's business systems.

Why was ISO 14001 revised?

All ISO standards are reviewed and revised regularly to make sure they remain relevant to the marketplace. ISO 14001:2015 will respond to the latest trends, including the increasing recognition by companies of the need to factor in both external and internal elements that influence their environmental impact, such as climate volatility and the competitive context in which they work. The changes also ensure that the standard is compatible with other management system standards.

What are the key improvements?

ISO 14001:2015 now requires:

  • Environmental management to be more prominent within the organization’s strategic direction.
  • A greater commitment from leadership.
  • The implementation of proactive initiatives to protect the environment from harm and degradation, such as sustainable resource use and climate change mitigation.
  • A focus on life-cycle thinking to ensure consideration of environmental aspects from development to end-of-life.
  • The addition of a stakeholder-focused communication strategy.