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22 October 2013

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ISO 14001:2015 - Latest updates

ISO 14001:2015 - Latest updates

It was in 2012 we reported that change was coming for the ISO 14001 environmental management standard, with our update this July revealing the standard will follow ISO’s new Annex SL structure (as used by the recently published ISO 27001 revision) and will be updated to reflect the move towards sustainable development. The Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA) – a leading contributor to the UK’s working group – also hinted a desire to see the strengthening of ISO 14001’s requirements whilst still ensuring that the standard is ‘approachable’ for a wide range of organisations. After all, the standard is working, with well over 250,000 users.

After a meeting held by ISO earlier this month in Colombia, IEMA have now posted an update of ISO 14001’s revision, with an agreed draft text now ready for the next round of consultations by the various working groups operating around the world. This should be circulated through national standard bodies at the end of October, where there will then be a 3 month commenting period.

Anyone is free to comment, but IEMA themselves will be engaging their 15,000 strong members as part of the consultation process between now and the end of the year. This is in keeping with ISO’s aims for users to have direct influence in the revision of standards, to ensure they remain both relevant and effective.

Martin Baxter, IEMA's executive director of policy and the UK's nationally appointed expert to the working group, commented;

“The revision is making good progress and incorporating key concepts that will help organisations improve their environmental performance. This latest working group meeting brought significant progress on addressing risks and opportunities, including those relating to external environmental conditions that can impact on organisations. Requirements relating to control and influence across the value chain were also further developed”.

Key changes in the revised draft standard include:

  • Understanding the organisation’s strategic context and engagement with interested parties
  • Greater focus on environmental performance improvement across the value chain
  • Evaluating organisational risks and opportunities in the context of external environmental conditions (e.g. adapting to climate change, resource availability)
  • Strengthening requirements on the involvement of top management and integration of environmental management into core business processes and alignment with business strategy
  • Greater clarity on external communication, including emphasis on data quality and assurance

Martin Baxter commented;

“The proposed changes will mean organisations need to focus on building environment into their core business.  We’ll be working with IEMA members to ensure that environment and sustainability professionals are able to implement the changes in their organisations and add maximum business value”

The revised standard is currently scheduled for publication in the first half of 2015 (June is the estimate), so will be titled ISO 14001:2015.

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