3 massive changes to the New ISO 14001:2015 standard

05 September 2014

What are the changes and how to comply.

You may have heard that the ISO 14001:2004 Standard (the Standard) as we know it has been under consultation since back in February 2012 when the first working draft was developed in Berlin.  A brand new international Standard is expected to be published in June 2015.  Three implications for an organisation certified to the Standard or preparing for certification are explained below.

Change 1 - Top Management Support

You may be aware that environmental management systems (EMS) require senior management to help facilitate implementation of the system.  This has often been interpreted as a requirement that top management must agree to EMS implementation and sign the environmental policy – job done. The new Standard states that senior management must be engaged in the operation of the EMS and include environmental performance as key criteria to consider when making strategic business decisions.  It's time for top management to ‘roll up their sleeves’ and get involved in the EMS process.

Change 2 – Understand the Risks

Under the new Standard you must consider the environmental risks alongside the business risks facing the organisation. This includes applying a life cycle analysis to the activities and products of the company, considering the impacts on the environment from cradle to grave. Another important consideration is the impact of products and services up and down the supply chain, so you'll need to consider how your procurement and provision of goods and services to customers may impact the environment. Get ready to update your procurement procedures.

Change 3 – Your Policy

Have you reviewed your Environmental Policy recently? When you do keep in mind that the criteria for polices is changing. Under the new Standard, organisations will be required to encompass a broader range of environmental commitments. Your policy will need to state that your organisation considers the bigger environmental picture when it comes to environmental impacts; for example, instead of just stating a commitment to pollution prevention, it will be necessary to take another step and state the organisation’s intent to reduce its contribution to climate change.

So there you have it, three big changes to the Standard which are coming your way.  Don’t forget, these are just three changes of many so be sure to take a good look at the new draft Standard if you get the chance. There are lots of exciting changes aimed at providing benefits to the triple bottom line - financial, social and environmental.


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