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Quality Digest


18-Month ISO 14001 Transition Plan Now Available

Published: Monday, January 24, 2005 - 23:00

ISO recently released a formal transition plan for organizations working toward compliance with ISO 14001: 2004.The transition plan is designed to help organizations registered to ISO 14001:1996 update their EMS to be consistent with the new version of the standard. After May 15, 2006, the International Accreditation Forum will only recognize registrations to the 2004 version of 14001.

“I encourage all organizations to begin implementing ISO 14001:2004 as soon as possible in order to benefit from its easier-to-understand language, clearer intention and increased compatibility with the ISO 9001 quality management system standard that many of them also implement,” says Alan Bryden, ISO secretary-general.

The IAF estimates that 18 months is sufficient for the transition to ISO 14001:2004, compared to the three-year transition considered necessary for ISO 9001:1994-registered organizations transitioning to ISO 9001:2000. The 18-month transition plan is for implementation by certification bodies accredited by IAF members performing ISO 14001 audits. The main points are:

  • For up to six months after the Nov. 15, 2004, publication date of ISO 14001:2004, it’s up to the certification bodies and their clients to agree on whether audits are conducted according to the 1996 standard or its revision. After May 15, 2005, audits should conform to ISO 14001:2004.
  • During this period, no additional audits will be added to the auditing cycle solely to assess revisions made to existing EMSs to conform to the requirements of ISO 14001:2004.
  • Nonconformities to ISO 14001:2004 may be raised against organizations currently registered to the old version but won’t adversely affect certification until the end of the 18-month transition period.
  • Existing ISO 14001:1996 certificates will be renewed as ISO 14001:2004 certificates only after the EMS has been successfully audited as conforming to the new version. All existing certificates must be renewed to the new version before the end of the 18-month transition period.
  • Eighteen months after the Nov. 15, 2004, publication date of ISO 14001:2004, no ISO 14001:1996 certificate will be considered valid by the IAF.

For more information, visit www.iso.org or www.iaf.nu.



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For 40 years Quality Digest has been the go-to source for all things quality. Our newsletter, Quality Digest, shares expert commentary and relevant industry resources to assist our readers in their quest for continuous improvement. Our website includes every column and article from the newsletter since May 2009 as well as back issues of Quality Digest magazine to August 1995. We are committed to promoting a view wherein quality is not a niche, but an integral part of every phase of manufacturing and services.