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ISO14001:2015 – what’s the difference?

WHAT ARE THE CHANGES TO ISO 14001:2004?
Thanks to a new common structure, ISO 14001:2015 has a higher level of compatibility with other management system standards, such as ISO 9001:2015, ISO 27001:2013 and the forthcoming ISO 45001 which will make integration easier. There have been changes to the structure, key concepts and terminology of the standard.

Transition if you already have ISO14001:2004, you have:

  • Three years to transition (deadline of 15 September 2018)
  • Existing certifications can be upgraded at any point in the three years
  • ISO 14001:2004 certificates will have valid until dates of the transition deadline.

CHANGES TO STRUCTURE
The new standard will follow the ten section structure defined in Annex SL, common to all recent ISO Standards.

CONTEXT OF THE ORGANISATION

This is a new requirement to identify the internal and external factors and conditions that affect an organization. Examples of internal issues could include an organization’s culture and capabilities, whilst external issues could include the effects of climate change, flooding and the availability of natural resources to name but a few. The organization needs to identify the stakeholders of its EMS and any requirements they have.

LEADERSHIP

There is an explicit and enhanced requirement for top management to demonstrate leadership and commitment relating to the system, this can’t wholly be outsourced, or delegated.

STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT

Top management needs to ensure that the environmental policy and environmental objectives are consistent with the overall business strategy, and that management review outputs include any implications for the strategic direction of the organization. More audit time will be spent in discussion with the organization’s leaders.

RISK AND OPPORTUNITIES

This is a new concept introduced in the ‘planning’ section of the standard. It requires the organization to identify the risks and opportunities associated with aspects and impacts, compliance obligations (previously known as legal and other requirements), and other necessary issues or requirements, and take action to address them.

LIFE-CYCLE PERSPECTIVE

The identification of aspects and impacts should now be done whilst considering a life cycle perspective, i.e. from raw material acquisition, or generation from natural resources to end-of-life treatment. A life cycle perspective should also be taken when establishing supply chain controls.

SUPPLY CHAIN CONTROL AND INFLUENCE

Environmental requirements need to be established and considered throughout the procurement and design activities of the organization’s products and services.

PERFORMANCE EVALUATION

There is a new emphasis on the need for evaluation in addition to the current requirements for monitoring, measurement and analysis.

AUDITING

The standard is written for the benefit of organizations, not auditors. Auditors will need to understand and recognise the extent and type of evidence that would be acceptable to confirm conformity to the 2015 requirements. ISO 14001:2015 auditors will be engaging in dialogue with business leaders, seeking understanding and explanations from them about policy, strategy and environmental objectives, and ensuring these are compatible. The audit experience from the client perspective is likely to be different, but revisions to the audit process will deliver more added value to the organizations being audited.

IN CONCLUSION
ISO 14001:2015 incorporates more business management terminology and concepts and will ensure that systems will be integrated into the organization’s overall business processes rather than being separate entities. The changes will require effort from organizations to implement, however the overall result will be a more effective management system capable of achieving better results in environmental performance.

VIDEO BRIEFING
Please watch the video briefing from Martin Baxter, Executive Director of Policy at IEMA, where he explains the likely changes and new concepts including:

  • Top management
  • Risk and opportunities
  • Compliance and obligations
  • Environmental performance and improvement

HOW WE CAN HELP YOU
You will need to prepare for change and adapt your environmental management system to meet the new requirements and transitional timelines of ISO 14001:2015, but don’t worry, we will help you to understand the changes, interpret the new concepts and act on the implications.

KEEP IN TOUCH
Get a Quote – We’ll give you a clear indication of the costs of transitioning and maintaining certification.

Credit to NQA as the source for this information. © Copyright NQA 2016