Top 7 Things Your Organization Should Know about the 2015 Revision of ISO 14001

The International Standard ISO 14001, the world’s first international environmental standard, has been helping companies throughout the world improve their environmental sustainability and operational efficiency since the early 90’s. This standard on Environmental management Systems is going through some changes to allow it to continue to be relevant in today’s market.

The newest version of ISO 14001 will take effect this September. Here is what you need to know to start preparing for the publication of the new standards:

1. Facilities that are ISO 14001 certified under the 2009 standard will have between 2 and 3 years to transition to and receive certification under the new standard.

2. The structure of the standard has been significantly changed. It has been updated to be consistent with other ISO standards and all future updates will follow this format. A consistent management system structure will allow organizations with multiple management systems to easily integrate and manage them simultaneously. The new structure will be:

0 – Introduction
1 – Scope
2 – Normative References
3 – Terms and Definitions
4 – Content of Organization
5 – Leadership
6 – Planning
7 – Support
8 – Operation
9 – Performance Evaluation
10 – Improvement

3. The scope has been increased to include all environmental aspects within the sphere of influence of your organization. This would include determining the aspects of the facility’s raw material stream’s (e.g. emissions from production of paints that are used on final products) impacts to the environment and how choosing suppliers affects that stream.

4. There is a new emphasis on top management having full responsibility for the environmental management system. They will need to understand the company’s strengths and weaknesses and how these influence the risks.

5. In addition to identifying the environmental aspects associated with the company’s operations, the ISO14001:2015 requires that organizations identify what risks (good – opportunities, negative – threats) that aspects represent to the organization. The risks are based on the uncertainty of the aspects and impacts. They come from both the aspects and impacts and from legal obligations, and should be addressed in an action plan.

6. The new edition also specifically identifies interested parties. You are now required to identify interested parties (i.e. trade organizations, environmental groups, local communities, etc.) and what the interested parties’ needs are. It is up to the management team to decide if the individual party needs are relevant to the company’s goals and commitments.

7. While the current version of the standard is not finalized, it does have 92% approval from the interested parties. With that, a gap analysis between your current management system and the new standards can be a great exercise to determine any changes or deficiencies.

Please contact CTI if you would like to know more about what you can do to stay in compliance with the new ISO 14001 standard.

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