ISO 14001 Environmental management systems, one of ISO’s most widely used standards, has recently been revised.
Why was ISO 14001 revised?
All ISO standards are reviewed every five years to establish if a revision is required in order to keep it current and relevant for the marketplace. ISO 14001:2015 is designed to respond to latest trends and ensure it is compatible with other management system standards.
The timeline is below. Learn more about the process of standard development.
What are the main changes to the standard?
The key changes relate to:
- Increased prominence of environmental management within the organization's strategic planning processes
- Greater focus on leadership
- Addition of proactive initiatives to protect the environment from harm and degradation, such as sustainable resource use and climate change mitigation
- Improving environmental performance added
- Lifecycle thinking when considering environmental aspects
- Addition of a communications strategy
In addition, the revised standard follows a common structure, with the same terms and definitions as a number of other management system standards such as ISO 9001. This makes them easier, cheaper and quicker for those companies who use more than one, not to mention helping out the auditors.
Who was responsible for the revision?
The revision was conducted by an ISO technical committee called ISO/TC 207/SC 1, which is comprised of experts nominated by their National Standards Bodies and liaison organizations. See the ISO/TC 207/SC 1 homepage for more details.
I am certified to ISO 14001:2004. What does this mean for me?
Organizations are granted a three-year transition period after the revision has been published to migrate their environmental management system to the new edition of the standard. After this transition period, companies that opt for third party certification will have to seek certification to the new version of the standard. The former version, ISO 14001:2004, and any certification to it, will be out of date. See further guidance from the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).
Do I have to be certified to the new standard?
No, certification is not compulsory. For further information about certification and other types of third party assessment, this see our page on conformity assessment.
How do I find out more?
See the ISO/TC 207/SC 1 homepage.