Introduction to ISO 14001:2015 (Part 2)

In order for ISO 14001 to be fully operational with the desired impacts on environmental performance, there is need for a greater leadership commitment.

What Are the Key Improvements?

ISO 14001:2015 requires the following to be fully operational:

  • Organizations should place greater priority on environmental management in its strategic direction.
  • A greater leadership commitment.
  • Establishment of proactive measures like sustainable resource use and climate change mitigation with the aim of protecting the environment from harm and degradation.
  • A deliberate attention on life-cycle thinking with genuine consideration for understanding environmental aspects from development to end-of-life.
  • The implementation of a stakeholder-inclusive communication strategy.

Due to the fact that ISO 14001 is sharing the same structure, terms and definitions with other management systems, issue of integration becomes easier.

I am certified to ISO 14001:2004. What does this mean for me?

Organizations are allowed a 3-year transition period to migrate to the new standard after its publication. Once the window lapses, you will have to seek certification to the new version. For additional information and guidance, you can consult the International Accreditation Forum’s transition planning guidance document at

Should I be certified to ISO 14001?

You don’t have to be certified for your organization to benefit from using the ISO 14001 standard. However, having a third-party certification puts your organization in the good books with your buyers, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders as an establishment that have properly implemented the standard. Your certification comes in handy as an attestation for the proper implementation of the standard where an independent certification body audits your practices against the requirements of the standard. Additionally, certification helps to show how well organizations comply with the regulatory or contractual requirements.

Does ISO perform certification?

ISO develops and publishes system standards, it does not perform certification. If you need information about the certification process and how to find a certification body by visiting our ISO14001 Environmental Management page.

How do I get started with ISO 14001:2015?

There are lots of resources out there including the ISO 14001 checklist for small businesses that provide detailed guidance on how to use the standard. We, however, provide the following tips to get you started:

Tip 1: Define your objectives. Ask yourself what you want to achieve by using the standard.

Tip 2: Get the support of senior management. It is important that the decision-makers in your organization support and commit to the objectives of effective environmental management system.

Tip 3: Have a sound overview of existing processes and systems relevant to your environmental impact. Doing this will give you a better understanding of your environmental management system requirements as well as being able to identify any systemic gaps easily.


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