ISO 14001 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
ISO 14001 defines criteria for an EMS. It does not state requirements for environmental performance but rather maps out a framework that a company or organization can follow to set up an effective EMS. It can be used by any organization that wants to improve resource efficiency, reduce waste, and reduce costs. Using ISO 14001 can provide assurance to company management and employees as well as external stakeholders that environmental impact is being measured and improved. ISO 14001 can also be integrated with other management functions and assists companies in meeting their environmental and economic goals.
ISO 14001, like other ISO 14000 standards, is voluntary, with its main aim to assist companies in continually improving their environmental performance and complying with any applicable legislation. The organization sets its own targets and performance measures, and the standard highlights what an organization needs to do to meet those goals, and to monitor and measure the situation.
The standard does not focus on measures and goals of environmental performance, but of the organization. The standard can be applied to a variety of levels in the business, from the organizational level down to the product and service level.
ISO 14001 is known as a generic management system standard, meaning that it is relevant to any organization seeking to improve and manage resources more effectively. This includes:
single-site to large multi-national companies
high-risk companies to low-risk service organizations
the manufacturing, process, and service industries, including local governments
all industry sectors, including public and private sectors
original equipment manufacturers and their suppliers
All standards are periodically reviewed by ISO to ensure they still meet market requirements. The current version is ISO 14001:2015, and certified organizations were given a three-year transition period to adapt their environmental management system to the new edition of the standard. The new version of ISO 14001 focuses on the improvement of environmental performance rather than the improvement of the management system itself. It also includes several new updates all aimed at making environmental management more comprehensive and relevant to the supply chain. One of the main updates asks organizations to consider environmental impact during the entire life cycle, although there is no requirement to actually complete a life cycle analysis. Additionally, the commitments of top management and the methods of evaluating compliance have also been strengthened. Another significant change linked ISO 14001 to the general management system structure, introduced in 2015, called the High Level Structure. Both ISO 9001 and 14001 use this same structure, making implementation and auditing more uniform. The new standard also requires the holder of the certificate to specify risks and opportunities and how to address them.