Martin Baxter, IEMA's executive director, policy and engagement and one of the UK's appointed experts on the working group, provides members with a progress report on the revisions to ISO 14001.
“The country ballot on the DIS in November 2014 showed 92% of ISO member bodies supported moving to the next stage. The step was for the working group to consider comments on the DIS made during the consultation period, which ended in October. Key issues covered in the six-day meeting in Tokyo were the clause relating to ‘risks associated with threats and opportunities’ and the term ‘compliance obligations’.
“Feedback at IEMA workshops on the DIS highlighted that the clause dealing with risks and environmental aspects needed greater clarity. After much discussion, the working group agreed to revert to using ‘risks and opportunities’ and to define this as a term in its own right. The clause was also restructured and should give users a much clearer understanding of what is required.
“On the use of the term compliance obligations, a letter from the ISO central secretariat highlighted its desire to limit the scope of compliance obligations and to ensure that the revised standard does not imply that an organisation should comply, stating that ‘it goes without saying’ that companies need to comply with the law. For an EMS standard not to be clear that legal compliance is an expectation would significantly undermine the credibility of the standard and those using it, so the working group spent a significant amount of time reviewing the DIS to make appropriate clarifications. It eventually agreed that the words compliance obligations will be used.
“Overall, the content is heading in the right direction and, although the contentious issues have been addressed, it was not possible to address all of the comments made during the consultation. As a result, another meeting to finish going through the comments has been set for the week commencing 20 April 2015 in London. After the meeting, the group will (hopefully) confirm the next steps. The revised standard remains on course to be published in September 2015.”
To keep up to date with further developments on the revision of 14001 and all other EMS policy activity, visit lexisurl.com/iema71559.