ISO 14001 - Basics

ISO 14001 is a globally recognized method for implementing environmental management systems that can enhance an organization's performance by ensuring that the business is following better environmental practices without compromising quality, performance, or service.

ISO 14001 lays down a framework for a company or organization to follow certain protocols in order to set up an effective environmental management system. It also integrates an environmental management strategy to meet its ecological obligation. The certification gains the trust of customers and stakeholders that the business is running effortlessly with sustainable environmental practices through the efficient usage of all available resources efficiently with less waste. With ISO 14001 in place, the business can maintain profitability while bringing down the impact of business activities on the environment. The efficient implementation of ISO 14001 systems can significantly decrease likelihood of legal, civil, or consumer repercussions.

Any organization can implement this standard no matter its size, type, or nature. This environmental management system standard requires that environmental impact is being measured, monitored, and continuously improved.

ISO 14001 - History

ISO 14001 is part of the ISO 14000 family of standards that was first published in 1996 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

After 1996, the first revision of the standard occurred in 2004 with some minor changes making it more intelligible and also making the connection with other standards like ISO 9001 easier. The latest revision was in the year 2015 with new requirements and environmental targets.

What is New in ISO 14001:2015?

ISO 14001 standard was last revised in the year 2015 and is framed as per a high-level structure. The new structure comprises the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) Approach and also integrates well with various management systems.

Important changes in the standard are listed below:

  • Involvement of the top management in leadership roles and commitment activities
  • Enhanced focus on risk-based thinking
  • Understand the organization’s context, roles, responsibilities, and requirements of the interested parties
  • Considering the life cycle perspective
  • Enhanced flexibility in using the documentation

ISO 14001 Certification Process

The below steps can help you in getting certified to the ISO 14001 EMS standard:

  • Understanding the requirements
  • Perform initial review and gap analysis
  • Create a plan to integrate EMS into your organization
  • Educate your employees to work with ISO 14001
  • Documentation of the process
  • Implementation
  • Internal audits
  • Certificate registration

Key Requirements of ISO 14001

ISO 14001 places a strong emphasis on continual improvement while taking a holistic approach to various environmental concerns. This standard has a set of requirements that can be applied to any organization no matter its size, type, etc. However, the standard does not define how to meet those requirements.

The requirements of ISO 14001 standard are classified as clauses and are segmented into 10 clauses with clauses 1 to 3 having no requirements and instead deal with the scope, terms used, and understanding the standard itself. Clauses 4 to 10 deal with the requirements of the standard.

Clause 4: Organisational context – This section covers the general requirements of knowing the context of the organization like identification of issues, interested parties, and assessing risks.

Clause 5: Leadership – The top management in the organization can identify roles and responsibilities to champion the EMS while also showing commitment and necessary legal requirements.

Clause 6: Planning – This section emphasizes the importance of identifying and planning EMS risks and opportunities and also an organization’s environmental aspects.

Clause 7: Support – This section is the most extensive and is concerned with the resource requirements such as competency evaluation, training, EMS awareness, etc.

Clause 8: Operation – This is a small but important section that deals with planning and operating efficiently along with how to prepare and respond to emergency environmental circumstances.

Clause 9: Evaluation – This is the second-largest clause, explaining how to monitor, measure, analyze, and evaluate the EMS procedures, as well as the legal compliance.

Clause 10: Improvement – This section deals with the non-conformity issues in the EMS processes and improves the process by corrective actions when a problem is identified.


Benefits Associated with ISO 14001:2015

Implementing ISO 14001:2015 can bring a plethora of benefits to your company:

  • Improves reputation of the company along with winning the confidence of the stakeholders
  • Improve strategic communication
  • Compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements (present and future)
  • Increase leadership activities and enhanced employee engagement
  • Achieve strategic goals by incorporating environmental issues into business management
  • Achieve a competitive advantage by improving efficiencies and reducing costs
  • Improve the supplier performance by encouraging better environmental processes and by integrating the suppliers into the business systems of the organization

How to Implement ISO 14001:2015

Some major steps are listed below:

  1. Identifying Legal Requirements – It's critical to learn about all of the stages and requirements involved with implementing the ISO 14001 standard.
  2. Defining EMS Processes and Procedures – Identifying the processes and procedures to bring consistency and eliminate negative environmental impacts while also responding to emergencies.
  3. Management Support – It is vital to obtain management support to implement ISO 14001.
  4. Implementing EMS Processes and Procedures – This entails identifying and tracking waste in the system, as well as documenting critical processes and procedures to avoid environmental damage.
  5. Employee Training Awareness – All employees must be aware of the importance of implementing the ISO 14001 standard and should be given sufficient training on any changes to the standard.
  6. Monitoring & Measuring – These are records that are required during the auditing to display and prove that your processes meet the requirements of the standard.
  7. Conducting Internal Audits and Management Review –This is an important step in implementing an EMS. Organizations are required to internally audit their processes and conduct a management review before being audited by a certification body.
  8. Choosing a Certification Body – Looking for the right certification body is an important step to implementing ISO 14001 standard as they are the ones who will audit your processes and issue you the certificate.

Omnex Certificate Accreditation – Exemplar Global QM, AU & TL

Omnex is an Exemplar Global Certified TPECS provider for Exemplar Global QM, AU, and TL Competency Units. Our seminar leaders have conducted implementations and coaching, training and competency development, and auditing in QMS, EMS, and OH&S at various client locations around the world.

Omnex ISO 14001 Implementation Methodology

Omnex can assist your organization in conducting a discovery analysis (or assessment) or a best-in-class assessment of the environmental management systems to assist it in developing a process that results in efficiency and savings. These systems can be assessed either individually or for other management systems at the same time.

Omnex will help improve your current processes to see the gaps in the systems as well as review best-in-class practices depending on the scope of the assessment. Omnex assessments always focus on savings and improvements within the organization. The last day of the assessment mainly emphasizes feedback and planning with the customer team. A phase-wise implementation plan, along with defining the core team, and defining responsibilities are completed as a part of the discovery. This can also be done at the beginning of an implementation, when a standard is revised, or when a customer is ready for a system overhaul. Omnex has dealt with more than 10,000 management system implementations worldwide and the services are tailored to the needs of a specific organization.