ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System

ISO 14001 improves environmental performance

Whether you’re developing or formalizing your environmental management system (EMS), ISO 14001 certification can deliver more than regulatory compliance and the ability to meet supplier requirements.

ISO 14001 helps businesses of all sizes across all sectors make their day to day operations more sustainable. Sustainability can ultimately save money, improve brand reputation, engage employees and build resilience against uncertainty as well as the ability to rapidly adapt to change.

ISO 14001 standard provides guidance on how to consider multiple aspects of your business procurement, storage, distribution, product development, manufacturing, etc.- so that it reduces its impact on the environment. It also drives you to evaluate how you manage emergency response, customer expectations, stakeholders and your relationships with your local community.

Depending on how your organization operates today, this may not require a lot of change beyond documenting what and how you do or it may mean a number of changes that can result in a more efficient business, cost or waste reductions and give stakeholders peace of mind.

Benefits of the new standard

Strategic environmental management

There is a new requirement to understand the context of an organisation when determining external and internal issues relating to its activities and the environment. Actions to address these issues within the Environmental Management System (EMS) are also required.


A new clause has been added with particular responsibilities for top-level management to express their leadership and commitment to environmental management. Top-level management may assign this responsibility to others, but will retain accountability.

Protecting the environment

Environmental policy shall incorporate a commitment to the ‘protection of the environment’, this includes ‘prevention of pollution’ and ‘other’ commitments, such as sustainable resource use, climate change mitigation and adaptation, protection of biodiversity and ecosystems.

Environmental performance

The key focus is on improving performance related to the management of environmental aspects. The organisation shall decide on criteria to evaluate its environmental performance, using correct indicators.

Lifecycle Thinking

The organisation will need to extend its control and influence of its environmental impacts from raw material acquisition/generation to end-of-life treatment. This does not imply a requirement to perform a lifecycle assessment (LCA), however the organisation will need to carefully consider the stages of product/service that can be controlled or influenced.


Emphasis on internal and external communication, and equal treatment of both, has been added. The decision to communicate externally is retained by the organisation while taking into account its compliance obligations.

ISO 14001: 2004 Transition

Organizations already certified to ISO 14001:2004 have three years from publication of the new version in which to transfer. This transition period ends in September 2018.

I’m interested in certifying to ISO 14001. What should I do?

We provide training courses to help you understand the requirements of ISO 14001:2015. We also offer one-day, half day management briefs for executives.

Our experts can carry out a gap analysis against the requirements of ISO 14001:2015 to make the transition smooth and transparent. This exercise will provide your organisation with structured assistance to highlight the extent to which existing systems and controls cover the requirements of ISO 14001:2015, or to identify an implementation action plan, where needed.