ISO 14001-2015 4.3 Scope


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ISO 14001:2015 Clause 4.3 Determining the scope of the environmental management system







ISO 14001:2015 Clause 4.3 Determining the scope of the environmental management system


Clause 4.3 Breakdown


4.3     Determining the scope of the environmental management system


This is the only sub-clause of section 4 that specifically states there is a documented information requirement. Organizations need to define and maintain the scope of their EMS system and this should be available to interested parties (see clause 4.2). 


Neither clause 4.1 context of the organization, or clause 4.2 understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties needs to be documented information. The scope of the EMS system will need to be derived from an understanding of these two clauses, looking at areas such as, internal and external issues, compliance obligations (also see clause 6.1.3), identified boundaries, activities, products and services, ability to control and influence, which have been determined to be specific to the organization. 


Top management of an organization retain the discretion to include or exclude pacific parts or functions of their business from their EMS system, for example a subset of the larger organization or a nominated site (often used when first attempting certification). Organizations should not use the scope of the EMS system to circumvent products, services or facilities that have a significant environmental aspect. This could be considered an attempt to evade compliance obligations, or even mislead interested parties.


Although not directly mentioned within clause 4.3, organizations may find auditors looking for a material life cycle perspective to be part of their EMS scope. Within the ISO 14001:2015 standard, life cycle is defined as "consecutive and interlinked stages of a product (or service) system, from raw material acquisition or generation from natural processes to final disposal", with a side note stating "the life cycle stages include acquisition of raw materials, design, production, transportation/ delivery, use, end-of-life treatment and final disposal". 


It should be noted that if an organization has different sites at different locations within its EMS system, each site should have its own EMS scope. Whilst many aspects of the EMS system will be generic, each site will have a number of different aspects that are unique, such as neighbouring businesses and communities, changes in landscape such as nearby rivers, lakes environmentally sensitive areas, availability of resources, culture and cultural differences etc etc.  


ISO 14001:2015 Clause 4.3 Environmental Management System



Useful integrated management system cross references



ISO 9001-2015 4.3 - Determining the scope of the quality management system


ISO 45001-2018 4.3 - Determining the scope of the OH&S management system



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