ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System
Requirements with Guidance for Use (hereinafter referred to as “ISO 14001") is an international standard on environmental management established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in March 1996, and updated in Nov. 2015.
Scope of ISO 14001:2015
The scope of ISO 14001 covers all types of organizations and all types of activities, including:
- – Establishments in the private and public sectors;
- – Commercial organizations;
- – Manufacturing and service companies;
- – Educational establishments;
- – Research institutes;
- – Governmental bodies.
What does ISO 14001 include?
For example, requirements for:
- – Planning and implementing an environmental management system;
- – Conducting a site assessment to determine potential impacts on the environment;
- – Defining objectives and targets to prevent pollution and reduce energy consumption;
- – Establishing operational controls to meet environmental performance standards;
- – Documenting processes, verifying conformance to requirements, and maintaining records;
- – Communicating environmental policy, objectives, and targets throughout the organization;
- – Subscribing to a suitable environmental labeling or certification scheme.
How does ISO 14001 support organization
ISO 14001:2015 can help your business to reduce costs, minimize risk and increase customer satisfaction by improving resource efficiency – making it attractive to potential customers through our products and services.
ISO 14001:2015 focuses on the environmental performance of an organization, its products or services that directly or indirectly impact the environment, by continually reducing their negative impacts and improving their positive contributions to society and the environment.
The standard is applicable to all types of organizations – regardless of size, product type, or geographic location. ISO 14001 can be integrated into other management systems (such as quality, health, and safety) or used on its own.
Why do I need ISO 14001?
Establishing an environmental management system is becoming increasingly important for companies wanting to:
- – Improve their competitive position;
- – Mitigate risks related to the environment;
- – Seek opportunities in growing environmental markets;
- – Comply with environmental regulations.
By using ISO 14001, organizations can prove that they are continuously improving their environmental performance – offering increased efficiency and reduced costs for the business.
Out of 1000 companies who apply for product certification, 80% use ISO 14001 to prepare their CSR reports.
ISO 14001 allows your company to:
- – Meet legal and other requirements related to environmental management;
- – Conduct a site assessment to determine potential impacts on the environment;
- – Take appropriate action to control any negative impacts you may have on the environment while realizing cost savings through waste reduction initiatives;
- – Comply with the requirements of environmental management tools such as ISO 50001 (energy management), EMAS, and ecolabels;
- – Increase competitiveness by reducing operating costs, increasing performance and improving your organization's image.
For whom is ISO 14001 intended?
Organizations that want to establish a formal process for continuous improvement of their environmental performance and want to:
- – Meet the requirements of environmental management systems;
- – Comply with environmental regulations or voluntary commitments;
- – Demonstrate due care for their impact on the environment.
ISO 14001 is intended for companies that affect, or could potentially affect, the environment as part of their activities. As such, ISO 14001 is an excellent tool for environmental authorities, manufacturers of industrial equipment, providers of services to the construction industry, operators of commercial buildings and owners and managers of landfills.
Have we not heard enough about ISO 14001?
ISO 14001:2015 is prepared by the Technical Committee (TC 207), which consists of approximately 600 experts worldwide. TC 207 has the responsibility of managing the preparation and approval process for International Standards dealing with environmental management systems, including ISO 14001.
The new version is an improvement over the last one which was released in 1996; it includes an increased focus on developing eco-efficient products, sustainable consumption and production (SCP) processes, reduced reliance on hazardous substances as well as a harmonized approach to risk assessments across the whole standard.
The new revision also includes specific guidance on how to manage the environmental impact of products – from design, production, and distribution right through to their end-of-life – without going into too much detail about how each aspect should be weighed up against the other. The emphasis has shifted from an overly prescriptive approach to a more customer-centered one that highlights the benefits of embedding environmental considerations into your wider business practices.
ISO 14001 Revision Highlights
– The revised standard includes new terminology, structure, and concepts developed in response to user needs. It is built upon the foundation of ISO 14001:2004 while retaining the same structure and processes. The new ISO 14001:2015 is intended to update, rather than replace, earlier versions which should continue to be used for existing certified sites or past environmental activities that need to be reported upon.
– Key changes that affect product management include the replacement of design, production and logistics terms with more specific references drawn from 3 new International Standards;
– Furthermore, the requirement to consider life cycle thinking has been expanded, and the list of hazardous substances is no longer limited to 26 specific chemicals. Instead, consideration must also be given to any substances that are known or likely to cause significant adverse environmental impacts even if the quantities present fall below pre-determined thresholds.
ISO 14001 and Product Life Cycle Management
– Activities must include the use of product responsibility criteria to identify and select products that have improved environmental performance while meeting all other requirements. This will require companies to consider the entire life cycle of each product, from materials used during production, through usage by customers, including ultimate disposal.
– The processes involved in developing environmentally preferable products are being clarified. This is intended to encourage the use of methods, such as ecological footprinting and life cycle assessment, in order to identify the types of product-related influences that may be significant for each organization.
– ISO 14001:2015 includes specific references to new technology which enables manufacturers to design products with recycled materials or less hazardous substances. In practice, this may well include the use of 3D printing, nanomaterials and biopolymers. This is to encourage manufacturers to think about how design changes might reduce the use or generation of hazardous substances and other impacts on the environment.
– The revised standard also includes new provisions for addressing the potential environmental impact of products should they be lost or abandoned somewhere in their supply chain, either during distribution or when installed at the customer site.
– ISO 14001:2015 also calls for more consideration to be given to your organization's entire network of sites and suppliers. This applies not only to the activities required by ISO 14001 itself but also how each supplier's management system might impact on the environment. A new requirement to consider “complex supply chains" will require companies with multiple sites and suppliers for any part of their product to demonstrate that they are managing these effectively.
This could include oversight of how individual companies might be influencing the environmental performance of other subcontractors or suppliers down the chain, or even what products they choose to buy from your company.
– Moreover, the revised standard continues to call for carefully targeted performance reviews of suppliers but also makes it clear that you should not rely on a supplier's environmental management system as a substitute for your own. Instead, all parts of your organization should be actively engaged in promoting responsible environmental practices throughout the supply chain.
ISO 14001 and Product Life Cycle Thinking
– The management of a product life cycle must be considered throughout the organization and not just from an engineering design perspective. This means that companies must also take into account issues such as materials selection, use and return, salvage, and final disposal.
– In practice, this could mean that individual components will need to be evaluated in terms of their environmental impact and the potential benefits of using a different material or manufacturing method need to be weighed against any disadvantages.
– ISO 14001:2015 requires companies to use product responsibility criteria to identify options for reducing environmental impacts from products during development. This may well include considering the replacement of hazardous substances with less harmful alternatives, as well as looking at innovative ways to reduce product weight, volume, and (where relevant) electrical consumption.
– This is intended to encourage companies to think about using more easily recycled materials or minimizing the number of hazardous substances used in construction. It also reflects the fact that some countries' regulatory bodies may restrict the use of such substances even where such restrictions are not required by international standards.
– ISO 14001:2015 also calls for companies to promote “appropriate product take-back" at the design stage, which applies not only to products sent for recycling but also items that are potentially reusable or can be remanufactured into new products. At this point, it is also worth emphasizing that the revised standard includes specific references to product stewardship and extended producer responsibility. This is an approach that requires manufacturers to take direct responsibility for the environmental impact of their products throughout the supply chain, including after sale and end of life.