The revision of ISO 14001, one of ISO’s most widely used standards, has now entered its last stage, with the new version due to be published by the beginning of October 2015.
All ISO standards are reviewed every five years to establish if a revision is required in order to keep it current and relevant for the marketplace. The future ISO 14001:2015 will respond to latest trends and ensure it is compatible with other management system standards, such as ISO 9001:2015 (also in the last stage of approval).
The New ISO 14001 Structure
The key changes relate to:
- Increased prominence of environmental management within the organisation’s strategic planning processes
- Greater focus on leadership
- Addition of proactive initiatives to protect the environment from harm and degradation, such as sustainable resource use and climate change mitigation
- Improving environmental performance added
- Lifecycle thinking when considering environmental aspects
- Addition of a communications strategy
In addition, the revised standard will follow a common structure, with the same terms and definitions as a number of other management system standards such as ISO 9001. This makes them easier, cheaper and quicker for those companies who use more than one, not to mention helping out the auditors.
When will ISO 14001:2015 Take Affect?
This will vary from organisation to organisation in terms of how much change will be needed. There will be a three-year transition period for certified organisations which will start when the standard is published. However, the standard writers and certification bodies are already encouraging organisations to make a start.
The first step is to gain an understanding of the new and enhanced requirements. Then do a Gap Analysis. Some will prefer to wait until the standard is formally issued before launching into redeveloping the quality management system, but we believe there is work that you can usefully get on with now.