ISO 14001:2015 A Step Closer

  • ISO 14001

It was back in February last year we announced ISO 14001 was under revision, being one of the first of ISO’s management standards to follow the new Annex SL structure. After gathering feedback from a diverse range of stakeholders, we have now received the news that January 2015 has been given tentatively as the date we will see ISO 14001:2015 published.

Before this happens, in a similar manner to ISO 27001:2013’s development, a draft version of the revised standard developed in March was published for comment and a vote. Following this, further revisions will be made with a final draft being anticipated in the Summer of 2014.

For anyone with ISO 14001 certification already, there is no need to do anything in preparation at this stage. Only when the revised standard is finally published in 2015 will we understand exactly what changes have made the final cut. Rest assured, there will then be a transition period for organisations to meet any new requirements and we will work with our clients to ensure a smooth, hassle-free changeover.

Expected ISO 14001:2015 requirement changes

ISO 14001 has forged a reputation as being the de facto standard for environmental management. However, as the world has moved towards sustainability and social responsibility (i.e. the impact on everyone, not just the organisation’s internal impacts), ISO 14001’s study group recommended further emphasis on these matters.  As a result, there is expected to be alignment with the ISO 26000 Social Responsibility standard. Essentially, the aim is to consider the life-cycle impact of your activities and your supply chain in more depth.

As mentioned previously, ISO 14001:2015 will ‘align’ with Annex SL’s structure, as will the upcoming ISO 9001:2015. Underneath Annex SL’s main clauses, anticipate the following:

The scope of the Environmental Management System (EMS) has been expanded to include external impacts on the organisation.

This section will reference common terms and core definitions outlined in Annex SL and those specific to an EMS.

This clause includes requirements relating to understanding the internal and external issues of the organisation and the needs and expectations of stakeholders.

Top management leadership and commitment has been strengthened requiring EMS requirements to be implemented into the organisation’s business strategy and ensuring the EMS achieves its intended outcome(s).

Policy commitments have been broadened to include supporting environmental protection. Examples such as climate change mitigation and adaption are given.

This clause includes consideration of a life cycle perspective when evaluating environmental aspects.

This has is replaced by ‘Legal requirements and voluntary obligations’.

The committee draft requires that performance indicators are to be defined for each environmental objective.

A new clause introducing a requirement to ensure that upstream and downstream processes related to significant aspects are controlled or influenced.

As expected the committee draft reinforces the evaluation process with the introduction of a requirement upon the organisation to maintain knowledge and understanding of its compliance status.

Overall, the revisions will further strengthen the credibility of ISO 14001 and keep the standard relevant for years to come. You can keep up-to-date with the latest ISO 14001:2015 news by signing up our Bulletin using the sign up form at the bottom of this page.

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Written by Neill Gatley

EMS Scheme Manager - Experienced management systems Lead Auditor and EMS Scheme Leader. Assessing clients management systems to the requirements of ISO 14001, ISO 9001, ISO 27001, ISO 45001, OHSAS 18001.