Policy update: Bringing the 14001 standard up to date

28th April 2015

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Related tags

  • Business & Industry ,
  • Certification ,
  • EMS ,
  • Auditing ,
  • Management


Brian Gallacher

Businesses may want to review their certification body in the light of the revised ISO 14001, says Martin Baxter.

The working group revising the international standard for environmental management systems, ISO 14001, has finalised the technical requirements of the new version. After a final edit and translation, a ballot of ISO members will be conducted during July and August, with 14001: 2015 set for publication early in September. The International Accreditation Forum has set a three-year transition period for accredited certification.

The revision contains significant additions and enhancements to the 2004 edition, including requirements to: understand the strategic context of the organisation and the needs and expectations of interested parties; integrate environmental management in core business processes; and evaluate risks and opportunities. Significant additional emphasis is given to continual improvement of performance.

Having finalised the content of the new standard, attention is now turning to implementation. The transition to the new standard offers an opportunity to breathe new life into an EMS to ensure maximum value is gained – a focus of the iemaSTS 14001 transition course. Inevitably, the changes will pose questions of interpretation. IEMA will be providing opportunities for members to share their experiences to enhance the consistency of implementation.

The revision will also shine a light on external certification audits – in the way that certification bodies (CBs) assess conformity to the new requirements and ensure assessors have the competence to undertake this role effectively. IEMA has significant concerns about this, as we have heard that some certification bodies claim there are no significant changes in the new standard. Having been involved throughout the process of drafting the revision, I know this is not the case. If your certification body is telling you that nothing much has altered, they are wrong and it is probably time you changed your CB.

Martin Baxter is executive director of policy lead at IEMA; @mabxteriema on Twitter.


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