Last edited 05 Jul 2016

ISO 14001:2004 Environmental management system -- Requirements with guidance for use

Note: In September 2015, a new edition of this ISO was published, ISO 14001:2015 Environmental management systems. Requirements with guidance for use. Organisations have been given a three-year transition period from the publication date to migrate their environmental management system to the new edition. After this, companies that opt for third party certification will have to seek certification to the new version of the standard.

See ISO 14001:2015 Environmental management systems. Requirements with guidance for use for more information.


[edit] Introduction

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 14000 series provides international guidance for companies on aspects of environmental management.

ISO 14001:2004 Environmental management system -- Requirements with guidance for use, provides the requirements for environmental management systems. The standard provides guidance rather than fixed prescriptions and covers all aspects that are within the control of a company or other organisation, from energy consumption to waste disposal. A company adhering to ISO 14001:2004 demonstrates that environmental impacts are being considered and reduced wherever possible.

[edit] Key components

ISO 14001 is a voluntary standard aimed at helping a company to improve its environmental performance while complying with environmental legislation. It can be used by any organisation, including charities and the voluntary sector.

The standard is based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act approach, and a general requirement of the standard is that an environmental management system should be established and continually improved and documented. More specifically, there are 17 elements of the standard that must be met (ref British Standards 2004 and Det Norske Veritas (DNV) GL):

  • Definition of the organisation's environmental policy and comprehensive environmental management system.
  • Identification of environmental aspects and impacts, and significant potential environmental impacts.
  • Identification of environmental compliance requirements.
  • Development of objectives and targets and their environmental management programmes.
  • Defined resources, roles, responsibilities and authorities for environmental management.
  • Development of competence, training and awareness procedures.
  • Communication of the environmental management system to all stakeholders.
  • Development of environmental management system documentation.
  • Development methods for document control.
  • Development of operational control methods.
  • Development of emergency preparedness and response procedures.
  • Development of procedures for monitoring and measuring operations that may have significant environmental impacts.
  • Development of a procedure for evaluating compliance with legal requirements and other requirements.
  • Development of procedures for the management of non-conformance, corrective and preventative actions.
  • Development of a records management system.
  • Programme for the completion of internal environmental management system audits.
  • Development of procedures for senior management review.

[edit] Certification to the ISO 14001 standard

In order to obtain ISO 14001 certification, an organisation's environmental management system is assessed by a third party certification body (ISO itself is not a certification body) that ensures compliance with the standard. If successful, an ISO 14001:2004 certificate is issued which is valid for three years (ref ISO Certification). The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredits the certification bodies within the UK (ref United Kingdom Accreditation Service).

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