ISO 14001 has become the de facto standard for designing and implementing an environmental management system.
An environmental management system - often called an EMS - needs to be tailored to your particular company, because only your company will have the exact legal requirements and environmental interactions that match your specific business processes.
However, the ISO 14001 requirements provide a framework and guidelines for creating your environmental management system so that you do not miss important elements needed for an EMS to be successful.
A brief history of ISO 14001
In March 1992, the British Standards Institute (BSI) published the world’s first environmental management systems standard, BS 7750, as part of a response to growing concerns about protecting the environment. Prior to this, environmental management had been part of larger systems such as ‘Responsible Care’ (a voluntary initiative developed autonomously by the chemicals industry in Canada). BS 7750 supplied the template for the development of the ISO 14000 series in 1996.
Prior to the development of the ISO 14000 series, organisations voluntarily constructed their own Environmental Management Systems (EMS), but this made comparisons of environmental effects between companies difficult: therefore, the universal ISO 14000 series was developed.
An EMS is defined by ISO as: “part of the overall management system, that includes organizational structure, planning activities, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes, and resources for developing, implementing, achieving, and maintaining the environmental policy.”
Why you should use ISO 14001:2015 as your Environmental Management System
ISO 14001 is an EMS which provides a structure for measuring and improving your environmental impact. The areas you’ll need to look at would be:
ISO 14001 enables companies to put in place an effective environmental management system which is designed to address the balance between a company’s environmental impacts while maintaining profitability.
Common requirements between ISO 9001 and ISO 14001
When you implement an ISO 14001 management system you’ll find that the requirements are very common between the ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 standards. Both require you to:
However, ISO 14001 has three distinct requirements in addition to the above:
We’ll go into more detail about these over the coming months, so if you’re considering getting ISO 14001 then stay tuned!
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