ISO 14001:2015 – Environmental Management Systems
Published in September 2015, the ISO 14001:2015 Standard supersedes ISO 14001:2004.
ISO 14001:2015 is part of the ISO 14001 Family of Standards.
Why was the ISO 14001 Standard updated and what were the changes?
The business world is continually changing and the Environmental Management Standard has been updated to better fit today’s needs. The environmental context for businesses is more challenging these days in meeting stakeholder expectations, along with the general expectation that modern organisations will become environmental stewards and perform accordingly in all areas of operation.
There’s been a shift towards more service-based businesses worldwide in recent years, and the terminology of the ISO 14001:2015 Standard has been adjusted to make it easier for these service-based organisations to interpret the true intent of the Standard.
A “risk-based thinking” approach has been introduced, to determine the requirements of the business and its management systems. This new approach has enabled a considerable reduction in the prescriptive requirements of the old ISO 14001:2004 Standard, which have been replaced by performance-based requirements, providing greater flexibility for the management systems to suit the needs of the individual organisation. There is now no mandatory requirement for documented procedures! The organisation determines its own requirements to effectively manage its own processes!
There’s more focus on continually identifying opportunities for improvement for future needs and expectations in enhancing the organisation’s environmental performance.
There’s a greater focus on management demonstrating leadership and commitment, and taking greater accountability for the effectiveness of the environmental management system, ensuring integration of the requirements within the business processes, and ensuring it achieves its intended outcomes.
A common framework for all Management System Standards has been introduced to provide greater consistency across all the ISO Management Standards.
The ISO 14001 Standard
The ISO 14001:2015 Standard is all about minimising any negative impacts on the environment (via adverse changes to air, water or land), complying with applicable environmental laws and regulations, and continually improving in these areas.
ISO 14001:2015 provides a framework for better management control with the goal of reducing environmental impact, and higher conformance with environmental legislative and regulatory requirements.