The revision of ISO 14001, the international environmental management system standard, is set to progress to the next stage with the latest “overwhelmingly positive” ballot on the latest draft.

Welcoming the strong support within the international standards community for moving the revision of ISO 14001 to a draft international standard (DIS), Martin Baxter (pictured), Executive Director - Policy at IEMA and the UK’s appointed expert on the current revision to ISO 14001 said: "We're delighted with the overwhelmingly positive ballot on moving the revision forward. The changes being proposed are significant, integrating environmental management into organisational strategy and decision-making and adding further emphasis on improving environmental performance."

As part of the recent round of commenting on the second committee draft of the revision to ISO 14001, ISO members were balloted on whether to move to the next stage of the process - the publication of a DIS; over 80% supported this progression meaning that the move can go ahead.

IEMA is actively engaged in the revision of the standard and published its position statement setting out key issues that need to be addressed. In developing its position, IEMA’s member survey of environment and sustainability professionals showed that:

  • Over 90% supported proposals for aligning environmental management systems with an organisation’s strategy;
  • Over 84% supported placing greater emphasis on reducing environmental impacts across the whole life-cycle of products and services including supply chains and in the development and use of products and services;
  • 92% considered that ISO 14001 needs to strengthen requirements on organisations to demonstrate their legal compliance and environmental performance improvements;
  • 88.5% believe that IS0 14001 should require organisations to consider impacts from a changing environment. Organisations face growing risks from scarcity of natural resources to a changing climate, such as flooding. ISO 14001 should provide a framework for organisations to manage the risks and maximise opportunities from a changing environment, helping them to safeguard the future of their business and deliver environmental improvements.

In its annual survey of certifications, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) confirmed significant growth in the number of ISO 14001 environmental management system certificates at the end of 2012, up 9% on the previous year to 285,844.

The next meeting of the international working group that is drafting the standard will be held from 25th February to 1st March to consider the comments submitted during the latest consultation.

Baxter said: "The focus of the forthcoming meeting will be to address the comments and build a stronger consensus on the changes that are being proposed. We'll then enter a further round of consultation with users before moving to the final stages of the revision process."


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