ISO 14001 is the international standard for environmental management systems published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It is a voluntary standard that assists organizations to establish, implement, maintain and improve their Environmental Management System.
An Environmental Management System (EMS) consists in a framework that helps a company achieve its environmental goals through consistent control of its operations. The assumption is that this increased control will improve the environmental performance of the company. The EMS itself does not dictate a level of environmental performance that must be achieved; each company’s EMS is tailored to the company’s business and goals. The EMS helps thus a company to addressing its regulatory demands in a systematic and cost-effective manner. This proactive approach can help reduce the risk of non-compliance and improve health and safety practices for employees and the public. An EMS can also help address non-regulated issues, such as energy conservation, and can promote stronger operational control and employee stewardship.
Basic Elements of an EMS:
- Reviewing the company’s environmental goals
- Analyzing its environmental impacts and legal requirements
- Setting environmental objectives and targets to reduce environmental impacts and comply with legal requirements
- Establishing programs to meet these objectives and targets
- Monitoring and measuring progress in achieving the objectives
- Ensuring employees’ environmental awareness and competence
- Reviewing progress of the EMS and making improvements
Key clauses of ISO 14001:2015
Following the new structure of the Annex SL, ISO 14001 is organized into the following main clauses:
- Clause 4: Context of the organization
- Clause 5: Leadership
- Clause 6: Planning
- Clause 7: Support
- Clause 8: Operation
- Clause 9: Performance evaluation
- Clause 10: Improvement
Environmental management standardization evolves with ISO 14001:2015 by adding:
- Greater emphasis on process approach, risk management, monitoring performance and metrics; Better focus on interested parties;
- More careful analysis of the context of the organization needed for ensuring environmental improvement.