The world’s most recognised environmental standard – ISO 14001 – has just been revised in order to enhance its relevance in a fast-paced world.
As planned, the new and improved ISO 14001:2015 was published today and is now available to purchase through our eStore.
A new structure
ISO 14001:2015 will join other management standards in the adoption of a High Level Structure known as Annex SL. This means they will all use identical core text, common terms and core definitions. This is great news for anyone implementing more than one ISO management standard, with the improved compatibility making integration much more straight-forward.
How is ISO 14001:2015 different?
For any management system to be truly incorporated at a strategic level, leadership involvement is essential. To ensure the success of the Environmental Management System (EMS), a new clause has been added that assigns specific responsibilities for those in leadership roles to promote environmental management.
To help this, the development of a communications strategy with equal focus on external and internal communications has been added. Just as importantly, there is a requirement on establishing mechanisms so that staff can make suggestions on improving the EMS.
ISO 14001 set itself apart by pulling together all environmental issues in a holistic way. The revision takes things further with strengthened requirements based upon protecting the environment, with organisations urged to consider matters such as the prevention of pollution, sustainable resource use, climate change mitigation and the protection of ecosystems.
The new lifecycle perspective in ISO 14001:2015 is aimed at getting organisations to engage more with the supply chain, doing what it can to control and influence every step of delivery. This includes the acquisition of raw materials, to the design and production stage, to transportation, to the use and end-of-life treatment including final disposal.
How is existing certification affected?
The publication announcement means the transition deadline is now set – September 2018 will mark ISO 14001:2004 as obsolete.
Many use ISO 14001 certification to help them stand out from the competition, where having a certificate also helps them pre-qualify for or win work outright. It would therefore undoubtedly be advantegous to be an early adopter in order to further demonstrate competitive advantage.
As UKAS is yet to take Certification Bodies through the mandatory assessment process, an immediate transition to ISO 14001:2015 is not yet possible. However, there is nothing stopping organisations preparing for the move with the standard now published. In order to help explain the changes in further detail, we are running Revision Seminars from October.