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 ISO 45001 which will make integration easier. There were changes to the structure, key concepts and terminology of the standard.
Transition if you already had ISO14001:2004, you had:
- 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.
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.
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.
There is a new emphasis on the need for evaluation in addition to the current requirements for monitoring, measurement and analysis.
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.
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.
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
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