ISO 14001 is the international standard for designing and implementing an Environmental Management System (EMS.) The most recent version has been updated and published in 2015 and is known as “ISO 14001:2015.”
Understanding the ISO 14001 standard and its requirements can be a bit challenging if this is the first time you are reading about management system standards. So, let’s make things a bit easier.
International standards such as ISO 14001 provide companies with a structured framework for helping companies understand the environmental impact of their operations and what corrective actions they can take to continually improve their products and services so that you can reduce their carbon footprint.
Implementing ISO 14001 isn’t very straightforward either. It forces companies to take a close and hard look at their operations and it requires a tailor-made system that fits your unique challenges and environmental interactions.
Here are the requirements for obtaining ISO 14001 certifications.
ISO 14001 Requirements
The ISO 14001 requirements are broken down into 10 sections, also known as clauses, called Annex SL. But, because the first three ones are just introductory and focus on describing the standard, we will only discuss the last seven.
Section 4: The Context of the Organisation
This standard doesn’t work in the same way for every company. As we mentioned above, ISO 14001 requires a custom approach that looks at the specifics of your organisation. And, it makes perfect sense if you think about it. The environmental objectives of a manufacturing company will be very different than the ones of a transportation company.
That’s why section four of ISO 14001 implementation deals with understanding your company. It requires both an external and internal audit for identifying the issues your company is facing, the interested parties and their expectations, as well as the scope of your Environmental Management System.
Section 5: Leadership
One of the things that make ISO 14001 so effective is that it enables top management involvement and accountability. You can’t just nominate one person to take over all the environmental aspects of your company. Instead, the roles and responsibilities are shared within the organisations and it starts from the top-down.
Section 6: Planning
Not only that you need to identify all the way your processes and operations are interacting with and affecting the environment, but also identify the opportunities, and set objectives for improvement.
Look at clear environmental aspects, such as water and air pollution, energy usage, waste management, and so on. Get up to date with the local and national regulations and create a specific plan that will help your company comply.
Section 7: Support
This section focuses on all the resources you will need for implementing ISO 14001. Create a comprehensive list of what you will need to design an effective management system.
Section 8: Operation
This clause will require you to look at your operations and identify the ones that impact the environment. Moreover, you also need to define operational controls that will enable you to reduce your impact.
Section 9: Performance Evaluation
Implementing the EMS is only part of the process. You also have to establish how you will monitor and evaluate the environmental performance of your system.
Section 10: Improvement
As mentioned above, ISO 14001 focuses not only on identifying the operations that impact the environment but also on the best measures that can bring continual improvement. Under this section, you will have to determine how you will deal with the processes that are not in line with the standard and what corrective measures you will take for ensuring compliance.
Limiting the environmental impact of our companies and protecting our environment are some of the most important factors in today’s business ecosystem. A focus on sustainability will benefit organisations in many ways, from streamlining and improving operations to improving trust and establishing yourself as a leader in your industry. Implementing ISO 14001 can be a bit challenging, but with the right approach, you can ensure continual improvement.
Can We Help?
If you are interested in getting certified for ISO 14001, then it would be best to work with a team who understands the requirements and can help you make the standard part of your organisation’s processes.
Here at Best Practice Biz, we have the knowledge, expertise, and resources to support companies in Australia through their certification process and ensure a seamless integration of their EMS.
Don’t hesitate to fill the form below if you have any questions or contact us directly at 1300 402 602.