ISO 14001 has been implemented by 100,000s of organisations all over the world as governments have put pressure on both the public and private sector to set a benchmark for environmental performance. However, in a fast-paced world, it’s been important that ISO 14001 has remained relevant.
With this in mind, September 2015 marked the launch of the revised ISO 14001:2015, an updated standard intended to reflect international best practice for years to come.
ISO 14001:2015’s structure has been brought into line with other ISO management standards for improved continuity, which will be good news for those with multiple standards in place.
The main changes are:
- Stronger requirements on the involvement of top management and the emphasis of environmental management within strategy, and core business processes
- The addition of a communications strategy
- Greater focus on environmental performance improvement across the value chain
- The addition of proactive initiatives to protect the environment (e.g. sustainability and climate change)
- A consideration of the environmental impacts across the lifecycle
The real challenge for some will be the focus on incorporating the environment into the core thinking of the business, which can only happen with management involvement. As a result, those responsible for their ISO 14001 environmental management system will need to have access to the leaders of the business and the confidence to challenge them.
This will be made easier if a strong business case is made. While an ISO 14001 certificate provides external value in the shape of a marketing and competitive edge, the new ISO 14001:2015 is a great opportunity to benchmark your organisation and ensure your green efforts are truly delivering to the bottom-line.
What should be my next step?
If you hold certification to ISO 14001 already, then it’s time to start planning for the transition to the new version – the outgoing ISO 14001:2004 will become obsolete in September 2018. That means you will need to be ready to be audited against the standard by then.
Once you’ve ascertained how you will communicate the changes, and who will be involved, you can the start reviewing the new standard. To support you, we offer a Gap Analysis audit to help set out the road-map to make the transition.