ISO 14001-2015 5.3 Organizational roles


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ISO 14001:2015 Clause 5.3 Organizational roles, responsibilities and authorities







ISO 14001:2015 Clause 5.3 Organizational roles, responsibilities and authorities


Clause 5.3 Breakdown


5.3    Organizational roles, responsibilities and authorities


"'s not actually necessary to employ an environmental manager..."


ISO 14001:2015 makes no direct mention to job designations and the closest reference to be found is the term 'top management'.  Indeed you would need to look at ISO 14004:2016 to see any mention of a specific environmental role such as an Environmental Manager, and then this role only appears twice.  This falls in-line with the ethos of the standard, which provides the principles and guidelines for a common management framework to support environmental protection. However, it doesn't dictate how an organization should structure itself in meeting the intent of the standard.  However, many organizations, especially larger ones, still prefer to have a single point of contact between top management and the role of environmental representative.  The option to push audits, whether compliance, internal or external through a single point of contact is highly desirable in the eyes of many managing directors and chief executive officers...


Traditional environmental manager communication flow...


This model can have issues whereby managers can renege on their environmental responsibilities under the presumption that it's a function of the Environmental Manager.


14001:2015 5.3 Organization Roles - with Environmental Manager





Removing the role of a designated environmental management representative, and placing environmental responsibilities at source, will result in environmental responsibilities being discharged across multiple managers.  This introduces more direct lines of two-way communication to top management, culminating in ownership of environmental protection being embraced more intrinsically throughout the organization.


To meet the requirements of ISO 14001:2015 clause 5.3 the standard is looking to see that top management have assigned roles with sufficient responsibility, authority, awareness and competency to manage the EMS system. 


All managers will have generic environmental management system responsibilities, such as;


Assure fulfilment of compliance obligations

Promote continual improvement

Report on opportunities for improvement

Report on EMS system performance


Other environmental management system responsibilities may be more specific to job roles, such as;


Considering environmental aspects during design phase - Designers, Engineers, Architects etc.

Review EMS system operation - top management

EMS system competency - Training Manager

Waste Management - Facilities Manager

Material Management - Procurement Manager

Supplier Requirements - Procurement Manager

Identify Customer Expectations - Sakes / Marketing


However, as far as the standard is concerned the way in which organizations are structured and how they assign roles and responsibilities is not prescribed, and to the most part the standard requires compliance without dictatorship...


Useful integrated management system cross references


ISO 9001


ISO 9001-2015 5 Leadership

ISO 9001:2015 5.3 Organizational Roles


ISO 45001


ISO 45001-2018 5 Leadership

ISO 45001-2018 5.3 Organizational roles


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