The much anticipated changes to ISO 14001 have arrived with the publication of ISO 14001:2015 on the 15th of September 2015. The standard has been revised to ensure it continues to meet the expectations of organisations and maintains relevance in today’s market in order to keep pace with changes in technology.
“The new standard significantly raises the bar on the expectations it sets for how organisations manage their environmental performance. With over 300,000 companies certified to ISO 14001 globally, this will deliver a step-change in business performance and deliver significant benefits to the environment. The standard shifts business focus on the environment from compliance with regulations and direct operations, to placing the environment at the heart of their thinking and strategy” said Martin Baxter, IEMA’s Chief Policy Advisor and UK appointed expert to the ISO 14001 revision working group.
The key improvements to the standard include:
- Greater commitment from leadership
- Increased alignment with strategic direction
- Greater protection for the environment, with a focus on environmental performance
- More effective communication driven through a communications strategy
- Greater focus on life-cycle thinking from development to end-of-life
There are several benefits to ISO 14001:2015, which include:
- ISO 14001:2015 follows the new Annex SL structure. All new management system standards will follow this new structure, making it easier to implement multiple integrated management systems.
- Environmental management will now be integrated and aligned with an organisation’s business strategy, optimising the performance of the Environmental Management System (EMS). This will allow organisations to become more sustainable, save money and help preserve the world’s resources for another generation.
- Improved environmental performance will allow organisations to reduce risk of regulatory fines and identify opportunities to save money.
- Greater involvement in the management system by the leadership team will allow the whole organisation to be motivated towards the organisation’s goals and objectives.
The transition period for certification to ISO 14001:2015 will conclude in September 2018.