Introduction to ISO 14001:2015 (Part 1)

Internationally, ISO 14001 is the acceptable standard for determining the requirements for an environmental management system. It offers greater capacity for organizations looking to improve their environmental performance by being able to use resources more efficiently as well as reducing waste in a way that guarantees competitive advantage and trust from stakeholders.

What Is an Environmental Management System?

An environmental management system is the process through which organizations use a holistic approach to identify, manage, monitor and control issues in their environment. There are other ISO standards which use High-Level Structure for managing different types of systems. These include ISO 9001 and ISO 45001 which are use for quality management and occupational health and safety management respectively. The best part is that ISO 14001 can easily be integrated into any of the already existing ISO management system.

The ISO 14001 can be used by different types of organizations be it small or large, government, private, or not for-profit. All that is required is for an organization to put all environmental issues into consideration in its operations. For instance, environmental issues like air pollution, water and sewage issues, waste management, soil contamination, climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as resource use and efficiency must all be considered.

ISO 14001, just like all other ISO management system standards, supports the continuous improvement on an organization’s existing systems and approach to environmental issues. Recently, the standard has been revised, with key improvements toward the increased dominance of environmental management with input from organization’s strategic planning processes and leadership that commit strongly to proactive initiatives for boosting environmental performance.

What Benefits Will ISO14001 Bring to My Business?

Obviously, organizations adopt a strategic approach for the improvement of its environmental performance for many different reasons. Some of the reports by users about benefits of the standard are provided below:

  • Shows conformity with current and future statutory and regulatory needs
  • Enhances leadership involvement as well as the engagement of employees
  • Elevates a company’s reputation and the confidence of all stakeholders through strategic communication
  • Guarantees the achievement of strategic business aims through the incorporation of environmental concerns into the management of business.
  • Offers competitive and financial advantages based on improved efficiencies and reduced costs
  • Promotes a better environmental performance of suppliers by making them integral part of the organization’s business systems

Why Was ISO 14001 Revised?

Of course, all ISO standards are regularly updated so they can remain relevant to the marketplace. With the update, the ISO 14001:2015 will respond more to the latest trends. This will include the increasing recognition by companies on the need to consider both the external and internal elements that may influence their environmental impact. This can be as result of the climate volatility and the competitive context in which these organizations work. Also, the changes made to the revised version make it easier for the standard to be more compatible with other management system standards.


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