Revision of ISO 14001: Environmental Management System

24/07/14

Scope of the revision and background:

International Organization for Standardization have now published Draft International standard (DIS) ISO 14001:2014 incorporating  major changes in the structure of the standard and redefining its elements for better clarity and coverage.The revision of ISO 14001 was launched in early 2012. The revision is based on the High Level Structure for Management System Standards and its identical text, common terms and core definitions (referred to as ‘Annex SL Structure’)

--consider the final report of the ISO/TC 207 SC 1 "Future Challenges for EMS"

--ensure the maintenance and improvement of the basic principles of ISO14001:2004,

--and also the retention and improvement of its existing requirements

"Future Challenges for EMS" (work on revamping of EMS as part of sustainability; including EMS in strategic business management, environmental impacts in value/supply chain)

What are the emerging changes?

Strategic Environmental Management – Inclusion of environmental management within the organization’s strategic planning processes. A new requirement to understand the organization’s context has been incorporated to identify and leverage environmentally-related organizational risks, including opportunities. Particular focus is on issues or changing circumstances related to the needs and expectations of interested parties (including regulatory requirements) and local, regional or global environmental conditions that can affect, or be affected by, the organization. Once identified as critical, actions to mitigate adverse risk or exploit beneficial opportunities are integrated in the operational planning of the environmental management system.

Leadership – To ensure the success of the system, a new clause has been added that assigns specific responsibilities for those in leadership roles to promote environmental management within the organization.

Protecting the environment – The expectation on organizations has been expanded to commit to proactive initiatives to protect the environment consistent with the context of the organization.

Environmental performance – There is a shift in emphasis with regard to continual improvement from improving the management system to improving environmental performance. Consistent with the organization’s policy commitments the organization would, as applicable, reduce emissions, effluents and waste to levels set by the organization.

Lifecycle thinking – In addition to the current requirement to manage environmental aspects associated with procured goods and service, organizations will need to extend its control and influence to the environmental impacts associated with product use and end-of-life treatment or disposal. This does not imply a requirement to do a life cycle assessment.

Communication – The development of a communications strategy with equal emphasis on external and internal communications has been added. This includes requirements on the quality of information communicated and mechanisms to make suggestions on improving the environmental management system by persons working for or on behalf of the organization. The decision to communicate externally is retained by the organization but the decision needs to take into account information reporting required by regulatory agencies and the expectations of other interested parties.

Documentation Reflecting the evolution of computer and cloud based systems for running management systems, the revision incorporates the term ‘documented information’, instead of ‘documents’ and ‘records’. To align with ISO 9001, the organization will retain the flexibility to determine when ‘procedures’ are needed to ensure effective process control.

To Summarize:

The major Changes will be

1.Restructuring of the main elements of ISO 14001

2.Incorporation of Annex SL

3.New requirement related to the life cycle assessment of goods and services  and

4.More focus on management of outsourced processes.

 

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