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Jeffrey Eves

Standards

Are You Ready for ISO 14001:2015?

Supporting the ‘triple bottom line’

Published: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - 16:06

ISO 14001 is the world’s best-known environmental management system standard, and it provides a systematic framework to help organizations protect the environment through balanced socio-economic means.

In conjunction with an updated ISO 9001, a new version of ISO 14001 is being released in the middle of 2015, approximately a year from today. A draft version of the revised standard should be available later this year.

Increased attention to ISO 14001 comes as more and more companies are considering the importance of the “triple bottom line”—not only financial, but social and ecological concerns. In this way, by incorporating sustainability and strengthening the standard with respect to business management, the standard helps organizations be more sustainable and forward-looking, as opposed to just focusing on managing environmental aspects and compliance issues. 

In the 2015 version of the standard, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has made a point to reach out to small and medium-sized enterprises. In particular, the standard helps small enterprises control environmental effects in the value/supply chain, engage stakeholders, and communicate more effectively with those both in and out of the organization.

Specific structural changes are expected to several sections of ISO 14001, including:

• Section 4, “Context of the Organization”: This will be similar to the current Section 4.1 with respect to scope, but “context” may result in expansion with respect to evaluation of environmental interactions of the organization. Incidentally, changes to scopes will be interesting because many companies limit scopes to activities within the “fence line” of the facility. However, consideration of the life cycle of its products, services, and activities could mean a broadening of issues being managed by the environmental management system. The proposed draft standard says that the company cannot exclude activities, products, or services within its control or influence that may have significant environmental aspects.

• Section 5, “Leadership”: This section will stress greater emphasis on management responsibility and potential expansion into mitigating risks, sustainable resource use, climate change, biodiversity, and restoration of natural habitats.

• Section 6, “Planning”: Environmental aspects to consider include life-cycle assessment and determination of key performance indicators as a means for setting objectives.

• Section 7, “Support”: This section is being expanded to include communication strategy and external reporting procedures.

• Section 8: “Operation”: Again, this section will be expanded to include environmental considerations in design and procurement (similar to the language found in ISO 50001:2011).

• Section 10, “Improvement”: This is a new section, setting a goal of continuous improvement with respect to environmental performance.

Visit online for more information about ISO 14001, including case studies, on-demand webinars, and the latest developments on the 2015 version of the standard. You can also watch the following video, in which I am interviewed in depth about what to expect from ISO 14001:2015.

Jeff Eves is the green services program manager for Intertek's Business Assurance group, a Quality Digest content partner.

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About The Author

Jeffrey Eves’s picture

Jeffrey Eves

Jeffrey Eves is the green services program manager in North America for Intertek’s business assurance group. He is responsible for sustainability auditing and verification services for ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems, ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems, and Occupational Health and Safety (OHSAS) 18001 certification programs, sustainability assessment services, greenhouse gas verification services, and various environmental and safety-related, second–party, and supplier/vendor auditing services. Eves also manages Intertek’s green services global center of excellence while supporting business development, auditor recruitment, qualification, and development activities. He is a lead auditor for ISO 50001, ISO 14001, and OHSAS 18001.