ISO 14001 revision makes 'good progress'

2nd July 2012


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IEMA

A new edition of 14001 capable of helping environment professionals to better embed the environment into the heart of their organisation is a step closer, according to IEMA's Martin Baxter

The International Organisation for Standardisation's (ISO) working group responsible for revising 14001, the environmental management systems (EMS) standard, met for the second time on 24-27 June 2012 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The EMS standard is being revised in line with a new high-level structure for all management system standards recently adopted by ISO (see Annex SL p141-154), and will also consider a series of wide-ranging recommendations from ISO's EMS Future Challenges report.

Commenting after the meeting, Martin Baxter, IEMA's executive director of policy and the UK’s representative on the group, said: “The revision is in its early stages and we're making good progress.

“Although no decisions have been made on any of the specific recommendations, the group is starting to develop a much better understanding of how they might be addressed.”

Work during the meeting focused on developing text relating to the strategic context for organisations and on understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties.

These are two new elements for 14001 which feature in the new high-level structure and will help to ensure that an EMS becomes more closely aligned to an organisation's overall strategy.

This high-level evaluation will then help to set the framework within which organisations consider their more detailed environmental aspects and impacts, and legal and other requirements.

Organisations will also need to consider how these relate to more generic business risks and opportunities in developing their EMS.

“Taking the existing 14001 requirements and incorporating them into the new structure has exposed some issues that will need to be addressed,” confirmed Baxter.

“Overall though, it should mean organisations being more focused about building environment into their core business processes, which has to be a good thing.”

The results from IEMA’s recent survey of members were circulated to all meeting participants, ensuring that 14001 users are able to input into the process from the beginning.

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