|ISO 14001 is an Environmental Management Standard (EMS).
It defines a set of environmental management
requirements for environmental management systems. The
purpose of this standard is to help all kinds of
organizations to protect the environment, to prevent
pollution, and to improve their overall environmental
ISO 14001 certification provides an organizationís
customers, suppliers, employees and other stakeholders with evidence
of the operations commitment to environment protection.
Since it was first published in 1996, ISO 14001 has
rapidly become the most important environmental standard
in the world. Thousands of organizations use it,
environmentalists support it, and governments actively
encourage its use. ISO 14001 applies to all types of
organizations. It doesnít matter what size they are or
what they do.
Benefits of ISO 14001
ISO 14001 drives protection of environment and help organizations:
- Reduce costs and increase profit through reduced waste and energy, reuse and recycle through 3R concept.
- Optimize use of resources (electrical, water and materials).
- Increase competitiveness.
- Reduce costs as a result of potential lower insurance rates.
- Environmentally responsible and commitment to environment protection.
- Cost saving through improved efficiency and productivity.
- Boost companyís public image.
How to use ISO 14001
If you donít already have an Environmental Management
System (EMS), you can use this ISO 14001 standard to
establish one. And once youíve established your EMS, you
can use it to manage the environmental aspects of your
organizationís activities, products and services, and to
improve its overall environmental performance.
Environmental performance is all about how well you
manage and control your environmental aspects and the
impact they have on the environment.
You can also use this standard to demonstrate that you
are doing everything you can to protect the environment
and improve your environmental performance. You can
demonstrate your organizationís commitment in several
- You can simply announce to the world that your EMS
complies with the ISO 14001 standard (if it actually
- You can ask your customers or other interested parties
to confirm that your EMS complies with the ISO 14001
- You can ask an ISO 14001 registrar or external auditor
to verify that your EMS complies with the ISO 14001
ISO 14001 expects organizations to comply with all of
the requirements that make up the standard. No
exceptions. According to ISO, every ISO 14001
requirement must be built into every EMS. However, the
size and complexity of Environmental Management Systems
vary quite a bit.
How far you go is up to you. The size and complexity of
your EMS, the extent of your documentation, and the
resources allocated to it will depend on many things.
How you meet each of the ISO 14001 requirements, and to
what extent, depends on many factors, including: -
- The size of your organization.
- The location of your organization.
- The scope of your organizationís EMS.
- The content of your environmental policy.
- The nature of your activities, products, and services.
- The environmental impact of your environmental aspects.
- The legal and other requirements that must be met.
Your general approach
If you donít already have an EMS, ISO 14001 suggests
that you start with a review of your organizationís
environmental status. Your environmental review should:
- Identify your organizationís environmental aspects.
Study normal and abnormal operating conditions, as well
as accidents, disasters, and emergency situations.
Identify the environmental aspects associated with all
operating conditions and situations.
- Clarify the legal and other requirements that apply to
your organizationís environmental aspects. Legal
requirements include National and International as well
as local and regional laws and regulations. Other
requirements include agreements that have been
established with governments, customers, community
groups and others as well as commitments, guidelines,
principles, or codes of practice that influence how your
environmental aspects ought to be handled.
- Examine your organizationís current environmental
management policies, procedures, and practices. Pay
special attention to your organizationís purchasing and
contracting policies, procedures, and practices.
- Define the scope of your EMS. When ISO 14001 asks you to
define the scope of your EMS, it is asking you to define
its boundary. You can choose to apply ISO 14001 to the
entire organization or only to a specific operating unit
or facility. Once youíve made this decision, youíve
defined the scope or boundary of your EMS. Henceforth,
all activities, products, and services that falls within
this boundary must comply with the ISO 14001 standard.
Once youíve considered the above factors, you can begin
the development of your organizationís unique
Environmental Management System.
But if youíve already established an EMS and you simply
need to update it to meet the new standard, you need to
do a Gap Analysis. A Gap Analysis will compare your
current EMS with ISOís new ISO 14001 standard.
This comparison will pinpoint the areas that fall short
of the standard (the gaps). Once you know where to focus
your attention, you can begin to make the changes that
are needed to comply with the new ISO 14001 standard.