ISO 14001:2015 Introduction


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ISO 14001:2015 Introduction


Ethical reasons for this standard.


It is not acceptable for businesses to operate in a manner that is detrimental to the environment, and governments all around the world are clearly beginning to understand the concerns of both environmental activist and their own electorate, particularly to such issues as climate change, natural resource depletion, damages to ecosystems and the loss of biodiversity.


Within the introduction of ISO 14004 environmental management systems – general guidelines on implementation. The opening paragraph of the introduction to this standard states "Achieving a balance between the environment, society and the economy is considered essential to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Sustainable development is a goal achieved by balancing the three pillars of sustainability: the environment, society and the economy".  Variations of this statement can be found throughout those concerned about the environment of the planet...


The aim of this international standard is to provide a system whereby environmental management systems can be established, implemented, maintained and continuously improved, using the principal of the plan, do, check, act (PDCA) approach. By adopting this standard, organizations are looking to provide governance and due diligence over their activities, products and services which impact the environment, to assist in their sustainable development and long-term success, whilst minimizing their effect upon the environment.


Some areas you will need to look at in regards to the standard include:


context in which the organisation operates

needs an expectation of interested parties

environmental policy

environmental objectives

top management commitment to the EMS system

identify your environmental aspects which can result significant impacts on the environment

organisational risks and opportunities

increase awareness of the organisations interaction with the environment


To successfully implement the ISO 14001 standard it needs to be led by top management; however, the success will also depend on commitment from all levels and functions within the organisation and interested parties. The opportunities can include:


Protecting the environment

controlling or influencing all aspects of products or services

using a life cycle perspective

financial benefits

energy conservation

market benefits

enhanced business reputation

enhanced community relations

legislation compliance

improving control costs

reducing accidents and incidents (and potential claims)


ISO 14001 main clauses


4. Context of the organization

5. Leadership

6. Planning 

7. Support

8. Operation

9. Performance evaluation

10. Improvement


The standard does however state that "Adoption of this international standard, however, will not in itself guarantee optimal environmental outcomes..."


Organizations may wish to operate an integrated management system which will align the requirements of their quality, occupational health and safety and environmental management systems. Many clauses of these three standards will align, for example, documented information, management review, audit requirements, continuous improvement etc, this provides opportunities to reduce duplication and streamline the system to be more efficient. (environmentally friendly)

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