A newly revised ISO standard will facilitate even further the application of the ISO 14000 series on environmental management. By establishing a common vocabulary, the standard will ensure the effectiveness of communication, key for the implementation and operation of environmental management systems (EMS).

This third edition of ISO 14050:2009, Environmental management – Vocabulary has been fully updated to include the latest developments in the field. The standard now provides clear and concise definitions of all concepts and terms used throughout the ISO 14000 series in the three official ISO languages, English, French and Russian, as well as in Arabic and Spanish. The standard also provides equivalent terms in Dutch, Finnish, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese and Swedish.

An ISO survey published last year showed that up to the end of 2007 at least 154 572 certificates  of compliance with ISO 14001:2004 (requirements for environmental management systems) had been issued in 148 countries. Commenting on these results, Håvard Hjulstad, Convenor of the ISO/TC 207 Terminology Coordination Group which developed the standard, said “Given the global context, and the extent of the application of the ISO 14000 standards, it is clear now more than ever that ISO 14050 is crucial for ensuring that all the users of these standards are on the same page, no matter where in the world they are.”

Mr. Hjulstad added, “ISO 14050 will clarify any doubts that users of the ISO 14000 series may have concerning terminology and concepts, which is particularly important given the key role communication plays in the standards. By helping to maintain consistency, the ISO 14050 will also be very helpful to developers of standards, in particular those working on translations.”

Currently there are 21 published standards in the ISO 14000 series. ISO 14001 and ISO 14004 provide requirements and guidelines for establishing an EMS. The rest address specific environmental aspects including labeling, product design, performance evaluation, greenhouse gases, life cycle assessment, communication, and auditing. ISO 14050 compiles the terms in all these standards in one practical document.

ISO 14050:2008, Environmental management – Vocabulary, was developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 207, Environmental management. It is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details). It may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat, price 238 Swiss francs, through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing & Communication department (see right-hand column).