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The Revision of ISO 14001 Progresses

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Revisions of the new ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Standard have continued with ISO confirming they remain on track to publish the new standard by the end of the year.

ISO 14001 is the world’s most popular Environmental Management System (EMS).  More than 14,000 organisations are certified to the scheme in the UK, and almost 270,000 organisations are certified worldwide.  The current standard has been in circulation since 2004, but a major review process began in 2012 to revise and update the standard to reflect advancements in environmental priorities and demands.

A Working Group have been working on drafting and revising the existing standard since then, and recently met again to address comments and disagreements that arose during the consultation of the Draft International Standard which was published in the summer of 2014.

Recent changes following the consultation have included a rewording of the clause dealing with ‘risk and opportunities’ and ‘conforming with compliance obligations’, where there were debates on how organisations may interpret their specific requirements under these terms.  The Working Group is due to meet again at the end of April 2015 to complete these final points.

The new ISO 14001 standard is being hotly anticipated by many organisations, especially those already certified to the scheme.  Emerging changes from the review process to date indicate an increased prominence on environmental management within an organisation’s strategic planning processes, new clauses that assign responsibilities to those in leadership roles and a shift in emphasis in regard to continual improvement, from improving the management system to improving environmental performance.

The new standard will also focus more on life-cycle thinking and end-of life treatment, as well as having a greater emphasis on external and internal EMS communications.

The revised ISO 14001 standard is due to be published by September 2015.

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