ISO 14001:2015

ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management

ISO 14001:2015 specifies the requirements for an environmental management system and can be implemented in any type of organization, regardless of size, structure, products or services offered. The application of the environmental management standard in two similar organizations may be different depending on the context of the organization (different compliance obligations, different commitments in environmental policies, environmental objectives, different environmental technologies, etc.).

The implementation and certification of the environmental management system in accordance with the ISO 14001:2015 standard demonstrates the organization's commitment to the protection of the environment by implementing its environmental policy and objectives, taking into account the requirements of the interested parties, the environmental aspects generated by its own activity, their impacts on the environment, but also the risks and opportunities associated with the context of the organization, in order to develop the business in the long term and to achieve the desired sustainable development.

ISO 14001:2015 emphasizes the use of perspective life cycle (the consecutive and interrelated stages of the realization of a product or service, from the acquisition of raw materials or their generation from natural resources to reintegration into nature at the end of the life cycle) so that the organization can control the way its products or services are designed, made, distributed, used and disposed of. Approaching from this perspective prevents the unintentional transfer of environmental impacts elsewhere in the life cycle.

The approach based on the life cycle of products/services results in the efficient use of natural resources, efficient waste management, increased attention to climate change or ecosystem degradation, thus contributing to the environmental pillar of sustainable development.

ISO 14001:2015 promotes the implementation of the leadership principle and the adoption of risk-based thinking. Commitment at all levels of the organization under the leadership of top management determines the success of the environmental management system. Through this commitment, organizations can prevent or minimize harmful impacts on the environment or improve beneficial impacts on the environment, especially those with strategic or competitive implications. The identification of risks and opportunities, but especially the adoption of measures to treat the risks, determines the increase in the performance of the organization and the prevention of unwanted effects. One of the key purposes of an environmental management system implemented starting from risk-based thinking is to act as a prevention tool.

ISO 14001:2015, structured according to the PDCA Cycle („Plan-Do-Check-Act”), promotes the adoption of the process-based approach for the effective documentation, implementation and improvement of the environmental management system. The procedural approach involves the systematic definition and management of all the processes in the organization and the interactions between the processes in order to fulfill the organization's objectives in accordance with the environmental policy.

The ISO 14001:2015 standard was adopted for the following reasons:

adapting to changes in the business environment (the need to achieve the desired goal of sustainable development, globalization, regionalization, customer requirements and needs, the information revolution);

greater applicability for service provider organizations;

integration with other standards for management systems (quality, information security, etc.);

adoption of Annex SL (High Level Structure) and its terminology;

the introduction of new concepts related to the environment and management (product life cycle, risk-based thinking, leadership).

Important changes

The ISO 14001:2015 standard brought important changes compared to the previous edition, its structure and adopted terminology being in accordance with Annex SL of the ISO Directives - High-level structure, identical base text, common terms and basic definitions – developed by JTCG (Joint Technical Coordination Group), annex which:

  • aligns the format, text, terms and definitions used by all management system standards including IWA documents (International Workshop Agreement);
  • allows the addition of specific requirements for each standard.