Survey results: the future of 14001

11th May 2012


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IEMA members want the updated ISO 14001 to better consider the impacts of climate change on businesses and how to link environment management systems to decision making, reveals poll

Additions and enhancements are needed to future proof ISO 14001 and help organisations manage their impact on the environment. That is the central message from IEMA members in a survey on the proposed revision to the international standard for environment management systems (EMSs).

The survey findings will contribute to IEMA’s position on the revision to 14001, which must be prepared ahead of the next international working group meeting in June.

A total of 1,651 members responded to the online poll, which was open from 4–18 April. The main findings include:

  • practitioners find the current version of 14001 to be a flexible and effective standard, but additions and enhancements are needed;
  • environment professionals believe 14001 should require organisations to link the EMS to the strategic decision-making processes – 95% agree with the need for such a requirement, which would ensure that environmental considerations are accounted for at an early stage and across all areas of an organisation;
  • the majority of respondents believe that 14001 should require organisations to consider the impacts from a changing environment on the business, in addition to its impacts on the environment (86% in favour). This is important for maintaining the resilience of the business against, for example, challenges from climate change and resource security;
  • practitioners want new requirements introduced for evaluating progress, such as the use of self-determined key performance indicators, and the demonstration of continual improvement to help organisations achieve further improvements in their environmental performance;
  • the introduction of maturity matrices as a guidance tool to help evaluate and plan the development of the EMS is supported – IEMA is in the process of developing one with practitioners; and
  • an EMS is a key aspect of the role of 78% of respondents.

ISO 14001 has been used by more than 250,000 organisations around the world to improve their environmental performance since its inception in 1996. Feedback by respondents reveals that IEMA’s activities to ensure that EMS users are given the opportunity to outline their expectations from the review of the standard are appreciated. Examples of comments by members can be found below.

Contributions from the IEMA member survey, consultations, the Institute’s workshop series report and the high-level roundtable hosted by the environmentalist will all help to inform the overall UK position on the revision.

IEMA’s position will be presented to the ISO mirror committee – the body that develops consensus on what changes should be implemented – by IEMA’s executive director of policy, Martin Baxter, who is the UK’s appointed representative on the international 14001 revision group, on behalf of the British standards development body (BSI).

IEMA would like to thank all of the IMEA members who contributed to this research. The 1,651 respondents will be among the first to see the IEMA position, which will also be published for all members to read in the June issue of the environmentalist.

Further updates on the ISO revision will continue into 2012 through to the eventual implementation of the revised standard in 2015.

Respondents’ views on the IEMA poll

“As a newcomer to IEMA and a life-long member of the Chartered Institute of Building, I am amazed at the level of interaction IEMA has with its members. The position IEMA is taking on this ISO revision is commendable.”

“I am very grateful to IEMA for allowing me to voice my views.”

“IEMA are of great assistance in briefing and updating members on EMS developments and this is much appreciated.”

“IEMA gives members the opportunity to have a democratic voice in contributing towards improving the standard.”

“IEMA has exhibited and implemented high professional standards to assist business with regard to the revision process.”

“It is important for bodies such as IEMA to be involved with revision processes for such centrally important standards and tools as ISO certifications, which are recognised as global and trustworthy benchmarks.”

“Thank you for the opportunity for IEMA members to contribute to the debate!”

“Thank you IEMA for your effort and representation!”


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