The ISO 14001 standard was published in 2015. It outlines requirements for an environmental management system (EMS), with an emphasis on sustainability.
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ISO 14001 doesn’t set out any specific requirements for environmental performance. Instead, you’ll identify your own goals and areas of improvement within the framework established by the standard. The standard is broken down into ten clauses, we’ll begin with Clause 4.
Context of the Organisation
The ISO14001 standard isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ standard, because every business is different. With this in mind, Clause 4 requires the organisation to identify:
- What issues and conditions are relevant?
- What are our compliance obligations?
- What external issues affect our business?
- What internal issues affect our business and management system?
The ISO14001:2015 standard requires the organisation create an environmental policy and to outline roles and responsibilities throughout the company.
In order to comply with ISO 14001's leadership requirement, you’ll need to demonstrate that your leaders know your environmental objectives and are working to create a culture of continual environmental improvement.
Under Clause 6 organisations are required identify and plan for any activity that could impact the environment.
To meet the requirement, you will need to identify significant environmental aspects and impacts such as:
- Energy usage
- Air emissions
- Waste management
- Water pollution
After you’ve identified potential risks and opportunities, you’ll need to determine your environmental objectives and plan specific actions to achieve those targets.
Clause 7 is the largest section in the IS0 14001:2015 standard. This clause looks at your resources, communication, and documentation for your EMS.
Under the standard, it’s up to individual companies to determine what documentation is necessary for an effective management system, such as how you’ll measure training effectiveness and demonstrate competence.
This clause requires you to identify which of your activities might impact the environment and define operational controls to minimise that impact.
To meet this requirement, you’ll also need to have a documented emergency preparedness and response plan for potential accidents that could affect the environment.
This clause requires you to determine how you’ll monitor, measure, analyse, and evaluate your EMS.
To meet this requirement, you’ll need to evaluate both your environmental performance, as well as ways to improve your management system. This includes creating a system of internal audits and management review to ensure your EMS is running correctly.
One of the most prominent themes in ISO 14001:2015 is a commitment to continual improvement.
To that end, the last clause requires you to determine how you’ll deal with nonconformity, including corrective actions, as well as actions for continual improvement actions.
As with all consultancy services, we can provide you with as much or as little support as you need. If you’d like to talk through your ISO aspirations, please contact us.
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