ISO 14001:2015

 Environment Management System

ISO 14000 Is A Family Of Standards Related To Environmental Management That Exists To Help Organizations (A) Minimize How Their Operations (Processes, Etc.) Negatively Affect The Environment (I.E., Cause Adverse Changes To Air, Water, Or Land) (B) Comply With Applicable Laws, Regulations, And Other Environmentally Oriented Requirements, And (C) Continually Improve In The Above. ISO 14000 Is Similar To ISO 9000 Quality Management In That Both Pertain To The Process Of How A Product Is Produced, Rather Than To The Product Itself. ISO 14001:2015 Sets Out The Criteria For An Environmental Management System (EMS). It Does Not State Requirements For Environmental Performance,  But 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 Drive Down Costs. Using ISO 14001:2015 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 Is Voluntary, With Its Main Aim To Assist Companies In Continually Improving Their Environmental Performance, While Complying With Any Applicable Legislation. Organizations Are Responsible For Setting Their Own Targets And Performance Measures, With The Standard Serving To Assist Them In Meeting Objectives And Goals And In The Subsequent Monitoring And Measurement Of These. The Standard Can Be Applied To A Variety Of Levels In The Business, From Organizational Level, Right Down To The Product And Service Level. Rather Than Focusing On Exact Measures And Goals Of Environmental Performance, The Standard Highlights What An Organization Needs To Do To Meet These Goals. 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
  • Manufacturing, Process, And The Service Industries, Including Local Governments
  • All Industry Sectors Including Public And Private Sectors
  • Original Equipment Manufacturers And Their Suppliers.


Plan Do Check Act Methodology Of EMS

        1.  Plan–  Establish Objectives And Processes Required

Prior To Implementing ISO 14001, An Initial Review Or Gap Analysis Of The Organization’s Processes And Products Is Recommended, To Assist In Identifying All Elements Of The Current Operation And, If Possible, Future Operations, That May Interact With The Environment, Termed “Environmental Aspects” . Environmental Aspects Can Include Both Direct, Such As Those Used During Manufacturing, And Indirect, Such As Raw Materials. This Review Assists The Organization In Establishing Their Environmental Objectives, Goals, And Targets, Which Should Ideally Be Measurable; Helps With The Development Of Control And Management Procedures And Processes; And Serves To Highlight Any Relevant Legal Requirements, Which Can Then Be Built Into The Policy .

   2.  Do–  Implement The Processes

During This Stage, The Organization Identifies The Resources Required And Works Out Those Members Of The Organization Responsible For The EMS’ Implementation And Control . This Includes Establishing Procedures And Processes, Although Only One Documented Procedure Is Specified Related To Operational Control. Other Procedures Are Required To Foster Better Management Control Over Elements Such As Documentation Control, Emergency Preparedness And Response, And The Education Of Employees, To Ensure That They Can Competently Implement The Necessary Processes And Record Results . Communication And Participation Across All Levels Of The Organization, Especially Top Management, Is A Vital Part Of The Implementation Phase, With The Effectiveness Of The EMS Being Dependent On Active Involvement From All Employees.

      3.  Check–  Measure And Monitor The Processes And Report Results

During The ‘Check’ Stage, Performance Is Monitored And Periodically Measured To Ensure That The Organization’s Environmental Targets And Objectives Are Being Met. In Addition, Internal Audits Are Conducted At Planned Intervals To Ascertain Whether The EMS Meets The User’s Expectations And Whether The Processes And Procedures Are Being Adequately Maintained And Monitored.

        4.  Act–  Take Action To Improve Performance Of EMS Based On Results

After The Checking Stage, A Management Review Is Conducted To Ensure That The Objectives Of The EMS Are Being Met, The Extent To Which They Are Being Met, And That Communications Are Being Appropriately Managed; And To Evaluate Changing Circumstances, Such As Legal Requirements, In Order To Make Recommendations For Further Improvement Of The System . These Recommendations Are Incorporated Through Continual Improvement: Plans Are Renewed Or New Plans Are Made, And The EMS Moves Forward.

 PDCA Cycles At Strategic And Operational Levels

Continual Improvement Process

The Core Requirement Of A Continual Improvement Process (CIP) Is Different From The One Known From Quality Management Systems. CIP In ISO 14001 Has Three Dimensions:

  • Expansion: More And More Business Areas Get Covered By The Implemented EMS.
  • Enrichment: More And More Activities, Products, Processes, Emissions, Resources, Etc. Get Managed By The Implemented EMS.
  • Upgrading: An Improvement Of The Structural And Organizational Framework Of The EMS, As Well As An Accumulation Of Know-How In Dealing With Business-Environmental Issues.

Overall, The CIP Concept Expects The Organization To Gradually Move Away From Merely Operational Environmental Measures Towards A Strategic Approach On How To Deal With Environmental Challenges. 

Concepts Of Environmental Control:

We All Have An Impact On The Environment By The Mere Act Of Living From Day-To-Day. An EMS, In Its Simplest Form, Asks Us To Control Our Activities So That Any Environmental Impacts Are Minimized.However Unstructured Approach May Lead Us To Improve In The Wrong Direction Or, Indeed, May Leave Us Without Any Clear Direction At All. It Is Tempting To Control And Minimize Those Impacts We Feel We Can Tackle Easily. Our Attitude Towards Environmental Issues Is Influenced By A Topical Environmental Event, And Therefore, We Can Be Influenced To Act Without Thoroughly Understanding Some Of The More Complex Issues. We May Focus On, And Minimize, Environmental Impacts Which Are Trivial In Nature Compared With Other Impacts Which Are Far More Significant And Require More Considered Thought Processes. Unless A Structured Approach Is Taken The Organization May Focus On What It Believes To Be Its Environmental Impacts, A Belief Based Upon ‘Gut Feel’ And Ease Of Implementation. In Reality, This Does Not Address Real Issues But Promotes A ‘Green’ Feel-Good Factor Or Perceived Enhancement Of Image – Both Internal And External To The Organization – Which Is Not Justified. For Example, A Company Engaged In The Extraction Of Raw Materials By Mining May Have An Environmental Objective To Save Energy. By Implementing A ‘Save Energy By Switching Off Lights’ Campaign In Its Site Offices It May Feel It  Has Achieved ‘Green’ Status And May Proudly Boast Of Such An Environment Friendly Approach. There Will Be Some Energy Saved By Administration Personnel Switching Off Lights And Heating When They Are Not Being Used For Long Periods. However, Such Savings In Energy Are Trivial Compared To The Massive Impact That The Mining Industry Has On The Environment: The Visible Impact Of The Site And Surrounding Land,  The Associated Increased Noise Levels From The Operation Of Such A Site, The High Use Of Energy Both In Extraction Technology And Transport Activities, The Use Of Chemicals In The Purification Process And Of Course, The Use Of Non-Renewable Resources (The Raw Material That Is Being Mined). Unless The Mining Company Considers The Relative Scale And Significance Of Environmental Impacts, Then By Claiming To Be ‘Green’ It Has Really Missed The Whole Point Of Environmental Control And Impact Minimization.An Organization Must Move Away From This ‘Gut Feel’ Approach To A Structured System That Demands As A Minimum From The Organization, An Understanding Of The Concepts Behind And Strong Linkages Between:

  • Identifying All Environmental Aspects Of The Organization’s Activities.
  • Using A Logical, Objective (Rather Than Subjective) Methodology To Rank Such Aspects Into Order Of Significant Impact Upon The Environment.
  • Focusing The Management System To Seek To Improve Upon And Minimize Such Significant Environmental Impacts.

 Benefits Of ISO 14001

ISO 14001 Was Developed Primarily To Assist Companies With A Framework For Better Management Control That Can Result In Reducing Their Environmental Impacts. In Addition To Improvements In Performance, Organizations Can Reap A Number Of Economic Benefits Including Higher Conformance With Legislative And Regulatory Requirements  By Adopting The ISO Standard. By Minimizing The Risk Of Regulatory And Environmental Liability Fines And Improving An Organization’s Efficiency, Benefits Can Include A Reduction In Waste, Consumption Of Resources, And Operating Costs. Secondly, As An Internationally Recognized Standard, Businesses Operating In Multiple Locations Across The Globe Can Leverage Their Conformance To ISO 14001, Eliminating The Need For Multiple Registrations Or Certifications. Thirdly, There Has Been A Push In The Last Decade By Consumers For Companies To Adopt Better Internal Controls, Making The Incorporation Of ISO 14001 A Smart Approach For The Long-Term Viability Of Businesses. This Can Provide Them With A Competitive Advantage Against Companies That Do Not Adopt The Standard ). This In Turn Can Have A Positive Impact On A Company’s Asset Value. It Can Lead To Improved Public Perceptions Of The Business, Placing Them In A Better Position To Operate In The International Marketplace . The Use Of ISO 14001 Can Demonstrate An Innovative And Forward-Thinking Approach To Customers And Prospective Employees. It Can Increase A Business’s Access To New Customers And Business Partners. In Some Markets It Can Potentially Reduce Public Liability Insurance Costs. It Can Serve To Reduce Trade Barriers Between Registered Businesses. There Is Growing Interest In Including Certification To ISO 14001 In Tenders For Public-Private Partnerships For Infrastructure Renewal.

Some Of The Core Concepts Of ISO 14001:2015 Are:




Context Of The Organization

  The Range Of Issues That Can Affect, Positively Or Negatively, The Way An Organization Manages Its Environmental Responsibilities.



Issues Can Be Internal Or External, Positive Or Negative And Include Environmental Conditions That Either Affect Or Are Affected By The Organization.


Interested Parties

Much More Detail About Considering Their Needs And Expectations, Then Deciding Whether To Adopt Any Of Them As Compliance Obligations.



Requirements Specific To Top Management Who Are Defined As A Person Or Group Of People Who Directs And Controls An Organization At The Highest Level.


Risk.....And..... Opportunities

Refined Planning Process Replaces Preventive Action. Aspects And Impacts Now Part Of Risk Model



There Are Explicit And More Detailed Requirements For Both Internal And External Communications.


Documented Information

Replaces Documents And Records


Operational Planning And Control

Generally More Detailed Requirements, Including A Consideration Of Procurement, Design And The Communication Of Environmental Requirements ‘Consistent With A Life Cycle Perspective’


Performance Evaluation

Covers The Measurement Of EMS, Operations That Can Have A Significant Environmental Impact, Operational Controls, Compliance Obligations And Progress Towards Objectives.


Nonconformity And Corrective Action

More Detailed Evaluation Of Both The Nonconformities Themselves And Corrective Actions Required.




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