If you operate an ISO 14001 environmental management system (EMS) – certified to the 2004 issue of the standard, then you have 1 year left to transition to the revised 2015 version.
ISO 14001:2015 The Changes
ISO 14001:2015 has changed significantly (when compared to its predecessor) and has also introduced a number of entirely new requirements. Overall, there has also been a change in emphasis.
A key theme of ISO 14001:2015 is leadership and commitment to ensuring that environmental considerations are part of the strategic decision making process.
Environmental management must be part of everyday business activities – it cannot be viewed as an independent exercise. Whereas previously, top management could essentially delegate the EMS, there is now increased emphasis (and specific requirements) setting out the need for senior management involvement. Additionally, the EMS will need to consider potential impacts of the environment to determine internal and external risks and opportunities.
Other new requirements focus upon life-cycle analysis of operational aspects and the need to define performance indicators.
The Good News
We have seen a fair bit of scaremongering about the changes needed. In my experience, external assessors all state that it’s a lot of work. However, whilst there is a fair bit to think about, it can be managed in a straightforward and efficient way.
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To date, we have helped numerous clients transition to the new standard, with limited fuss. Effective environmental management systems are a force for good. For those organisations participating in GRESB, see my colleague and fellow director Ed Gabbitas’ blog on the benefits of an EMS for more information on this matter.
However, all too often, companies get bogged down in detail and procedure. Updating your EMS to meet ISO 14001:2015 requirements presents the ideal opportunity to take stock and review how your approaches can be enhance to help deliver continual improvement.