ISO 14001: 2015 - has reached the Final Stage- FDIS 

Environmental standard  ISO 14001 is in its final stage before publication .The Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) is now open for vote among National Standard Bodies. As per ISO TC 207/SC 1, the committee responsible for developing the standard, ISO 14001:2015 is expected  to be published on 16 September 2015.

Why is ISO 14001 being revised?

All ISO standards are reviewed every five years to establish if a revision is required in order to maintain their relevance. ISO 14001:2015 will respond to latest trends and will be compatible with other management system standards due to adoption of a common structure making it more convenient for integration with other management system.

What are the changes in ISO 14001?

Some of the significant changes in ISO 14001:2015 have been highlighted below

1) Strategic Environmental Management  

   There is an increased prominence 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 opportunities for the benefit of both the organization and the environment. 
   Particular emphasis is on Issues or Changing circumstances related to the needs and expectations of interested parties (including regulatory requirements); local, regional or global environmental conditions that can affect, or can be affected by the organization. 
   Once prioritized, actions can be taken to mitigate adverse risk or exploit beneficial opportunities are integrated in the operational planning of the environmental management system.

2) 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.

3) Protecting the Environment

   The expectation on organizations has been expanded to commit to proactive initiatives to protect the environment from harm and degradation which can include prevention of pollution, sustainable resource use, climate change mitigation and adaptation, protection of biodiversity and ecosystems, etc.

4) Environmental Performance

   There is a shifting emphasis with regard to continual improvement, from improving the management system to improving environmental performance. Organization would, as applicable, reduce emissions, effluents and waste to levels set by the organization.

5) Lifecycle Perspective –

   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.

6) Communication:

   The development of a communications strategy with equal emphasis on external and internal communications has been added. This includes a requirement on communicating consistent and reliable information, and establishing mechanisms for persons working under the organization's control to make suggestions on improving the environmental management system. 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.

7) 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.

How organizations can benefit from EMS ISO 14001 standard?

ISO 14001 standard requires conformity to certain requirements and Organizations conforming to such requirement reap several benefits which may include:

  • Compliance to Legal requirements and improving the organization’s environmental performance
  • Greater  management commitment and employee engagement 
  • Improved public image, achieving strategic objectives, and integrating with business management systems
  • Improved environmental performance, less disruption of business which provides a competitive advantage and gives financialbenefit to the organization. A good way of doing business

What are the Drivers for using ISO 14001?

Some of the strongest environmental drivers for adopting ISO 14001 standard may include:

  • Structured approach to reduce the risk of adverse environmental impact
  • Demonstrate Visible Commitment of management towards environmental protection and conservation

Business management drivers may include

  • Legal requirements,
  • Customer requirements and
  • Creation of a better corporate image

Conclusion & Further Learning

Join TCB course on ISO 14001:2015 Standard Interpretation which has been developed in accordance with IRCA requirements for conversion auditor .The course consists of Standard Clause by clause interpretation, discussion on Ideal Documentation structure, and workshops on Conformity assessment,matrix, and development of check list, audit process and development of an audit program.
Please contact tsa@tr-cbl.com or Click here to submit your request online.

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