ISO 14001



This guidance document aims to give a basic overview of the changes to ISO 14001, resulting from the review and revision of the 2004 standard. It is not intended to give an exhaustive and in-depth explanation of all requirements in the new standard.

ISO standards are reviewed and revised on a regular cycle, typically every 5-10 years, and 2015 sees ISO 14001:2004 reaching the end of that review process. A draft international standard (DIS) was published, and after extensive review the final draft international standard (FDIS) was published in July. The ISO 14001:2015 standard was published in September 2015.

The ISO organization has developed a common Higher Level Structure (HLS) for management system standards, issued under an ISO Directive;

That directive has a series of annexes, of which we are interested in “Annex SL – Proposals for management systems standards”. This annex states that all management system standards will use a consistent structure, common text and terminology, and this is enacted through “Appendix 2 – High level structure, identical core text, common terms and core definitions”.

Some revised and new standards have already implemented this requirement – for example ISO 27001:2013 Information Security Management Systems (revised) and ISO 55001:2014 Asset Management Standard (new).

ISO 14001 has therefore been revised in accordance with the new HLS, but it also contains additional content.

A whole range of country-level committees feed into the overall ISO committees which meet to decide on the revisions. The committee for ISO 14001 is TC 207. If you are a member of IEMA, or a trade federation, you can access the latest version(s) of the draft Standard(s) and even comment on the content.

After the new standards are published, there will be a transition period for fully complying with them. This period will be 3 years, but it is strongly recommended that you start thinking now about how it will impact you, and review what changes might be needed.

Rilascio Certificazione ISO 14001

How we can help

We are here to support you during the transition, through;

■■ direct contact, e.g. with your lead auditor as part of scheduled audits

■■ open webinars and transition training

■■ classroom transition training courses, tailored to your needs

■■ gap analysis, either as a separate activity or combined with scheduled audit activity

■■ combination of training and gap analysis

■■ “Questions on the ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 revisions” – pls concat us at

QMS ITALIA S.r.l. offre il valore di uno specialista di terza parte indipendente, capace di amplificare il valore il Vostro Sistema di Gestione e di fornire la certificazione di conformità allo standard.

1. Scope

This section explains the scope of the standard – i.e. what it is for and what it encompasses. It introduces the requirements of an environmental management system which supports the fundamental ‘environmental pillar’ of sustainability, together with the key intended outcomes of a management system including:

  1. enhancement of performance;
  1. conforming to compliance obligations; fulfilment of objectives

This section also makes clear that any organization claiming compliance with the revised standard should have incorporated all requirements of the standard within their environmental management system.

2. Normative references

As with ISO 14001:2004 there are no normative references associated with ISO 14001:2015. The clause is included simply in order to maintain consistent alignment with the ISO High Level Structure (HLS).

3. Terms and definitions

This clause lists the terms and definitions that apply to the standard – these are referenced where necessary back to other ISO 14001 standards (e.g. ISO 14031:2013). The ISO 14001:2015 standard extends the list of terms and definitions from the ISO 14001:2004 standard, combining the mandated HLS terms and definitions together with the more specific terms and definitions associated with environmental management systems.

4. Context of the organization

This clause sets out the requirements for an organization to take a high level overview of the business, considering the key internal and external factors which impact it, and how it should respond in the form of a defined management system.

4.1 Understanding the organization and its context

This clause requires the organization to consider a wide range of potential factors which can impact on the management system, in terms of its structure, scope, implementation and operation.

The areas for consideration quoted in the Annex A guidance of the standard are wide-ranging, including;

  1. environmental conditions related to climate, air quality, water quality, land use, existing contamination, natural resource availability and biodiversity, that can either affect the organization’s purpose, or be affected by its environmental aspects;
  2. the external cultural, social, political, legal, regulatory, financial, technological, economic, natural and competitive circumstances, whether international, national, regional or local;
  3. the internal characteristics or conditions of the organization, such as its activities, products and services, strategic direction, culture and capabilities (i.e. people, knowledge, processes, systems).

4.2 Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties

Clause 4.2 requires the organization to determine the need and expectations of “interested parties”, both internal and external. Previous versions of the draft standard also contained the term “stakeholder”, which many organizations will be more familiar with – the terms are synonymous and there is no need to consider them to be any different. Interested parties could include;

  • Employees n Contractors
  • Clients/Customers n Suppliers
  • Regulators
  • Shareholders n Neighbours
  • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) n Parent organizations

What is clear is that whilst the consideration of context and interested parties needs to be relevant to the scope and the standard, the assessment needs to be appropriate and proportionate.

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