New structure proposed for ISO 14001

27th February 2012

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The revised 14001 will be one of the first international management systems standards to adopt a new format, confirms International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO)

At the first meeting of the working group established to revise 14001, the environment management systems standard, it was agreed to structure the new version around ISO's recently launched high-level structure for management system standards. The new structure will mean a significant change to the existing standard, which was published in 2004.

Martin Baxter, IEMA's executive director of policy and the UK's nationally appointed expert to the working group, said: "The new structure includes some important new elements which will help to elevate the status and importance of environment management in organisations to a more strategic level, whilst retaining the operational strength that 14001 has typically been built around."
Following a series of workshops with practitioners across the UK and Ireland, IEMA confirms that there is strong support for the new structure.

"It will help organisations to better integrate environment management into the core parts of their business, rather than being treated as an isolated bolt-on," said Baxter.

"With are more than 250,000 users in 155 countries worldwide, and with the new version of 14001 likely to be in use well into the mid-2020s, it is essential to develop a standard that enables organisations to meet future environmental challenges, rather than simply trying to solve existing problems."
The decision to use the new structure follows ISO's long-standing attempts to develop a harmonised, common framework for all its management system standards, which include ISO 9001, on quality management systems, and ISO 27001, for IT security.

Following a ballot in 2011, those developing new or revising existing standards have been mandated to use the new structure.

The working group revising 14001 met for the first time in Berlin for a three-day meeting on 22 February and began the process of integrating the existing standard into the new structure, and identifying key issues that will need to be worked through in future sessions. These include 24 key recommendations from an international study group, which reported in 2010 on the future challenges for environment management systems.

The working group will next meet in Bangkok, Thailand at the end of June 2012.

Coming up: The March 2012 issue of the environmentalist will feature an expert panel of professionals discussing the future revision of 14001 and how the standard needs to be improved.


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