The revised edition of the international standard for environmental management systems – used by over 250,000 organisations worldwide – has just moved a step closer to completion, with an agreement reached on the draft text for the next round of consultation. IEMA has worked with members throughout the revision process and will continue to provide support to the working group as the revision progresses.

The International Organisation for Standardisation's (ISO) working group responsible for revising the ISO 14001 standard met on 6th - 11th October in Bogota, Colombia. During the meeting, an agreement was established to circulate the draft text by the end of October 2013 to all national standards bodies for a 3-month commenting and ballot period.

IEMA will again engage its 15,000 members as part of the consultation process between now and the end of 2013, ensuring that users of the standard have the opportunity to influence and feed into this next crucial stage of the standard’s development.

Commenting after the meeting, Martin Baxter, IEMA's Executive Director - Policy and one of the UK’s representatives on the group, said: “The revision is making good progress and incorporating key concepts that will help organisations improve their environmental performance.”

This latest working group meeting bought significant progress on addressing risks and opportunities, including those relating to external environmental conditions that can impact on organisations. Requirements relating to control and influence across the value chain were also further developed”.

The EMS standard is being revised in line with a new high-level structure for all management system standards adopted by ISO, and a series of wide-ranging recommendations from ISO's EMS Future Challenges report. Key changes in the revised draft standard include:

  • Understanding the organisation’s strategic context and engagement with interested parties
  • Greater focus on environmental performance improvement across the value chain
  • Evaluating organisational risks and opportunities in the context of external environmental conditions (e.g. adapting to climate change, resource availability)
  • Strengthening requirements on the involvement of top management and integration of environmental management into core business processes and alignment with business strategy
  • Greater clarity on external communication, including emphasis on data quality and assurance

The proposed changes will mean organisations need to focus on building environment into their core business. We’ll be working with IEMA members to ensure that environment and sustainability professionals are able to implement the changes in their organisations and add maximum business value” said Baxter.

The revised standard is currently scheduled for publication in the first half of 2015.


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