ISO 14001:2015 is an Environmental Management System developed to identify, control and manage environmental concerns for industry and commerce.
ISO 14001:2015 and its supporting standard such as ISO 14006:2011 focus on environmental system to achieve this. The other standard in the family focus on specific approaches such as audits, communications, labelling, and life cycle analysis, as well as environmenal challenges such as climate change.
Concerns about the effects of industry on the environment have been well documented for many years and many organisations developed environmental management systems to their own specification, mainly aimed at legislative compliance.
In 1992 BSI published BS 7750 - A Specification for Environmental Management Systems. Following this initiative the International Standards Organisation developed ISO 14001 in 1996. This standard was revised, mainly to give clarity and eliminate certain misconceptions in December 2004.
The standard follows the Plan - Do - Check - Act continuous improvement cycle common to many British, European and International standards and is commended for its ease of use and implementation.
The planning stage consists of identifying environmental and legal issues and developing a programme to reduce the negative effects, whist complying with the legal requirements.
The doing stage requires the organisation to put in place the expertise and controls to manage the most significant risks, by training, appropriate documentation, planning and management of activities and potential emergencies.
The doing stage requires the organisation to put in place the expertise and controls to manage the most significant environmental risks.
Checking requirements include monitoring of improvement, evaluation of compliance with legal and other requirements, internal audit and handling non-conformities. Finally, the organisation needs to act on the data it has gathered, by reviewing the results of audits and other monitoring mechanisms. Part of this requirement is a periodic Management Review.
The standard is based upon eight management principles. These are:
System approach to management
A factual approach to decision making
Mutually beneficial supplier relationships
Some of the accepted benefits of compliance to ISO 14001:2015 are:
Protection of the environment
Creating marketing opportunities
Possible new products or services
Improved pro-active community image
Demonstrated compliance with legal requirements
Improved Management Focus
Provides clear guidance on company requirements
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