The revision of ISO 14001 has now been made available as a Draft International Standard (DIS).
This is an important stage as it clearly indicates the direction of the changes, although amendments will still be made for the final version. There will be a three months ballot and commenting period for the National Member Bodies.
Being the world’s most recognized and used framework for environmental management systems, the changes are of interest to many users and stakeholders.
Global Service Responsible for ISO 14001 in DNV GL, Tor Gunnar Tollefsen says “Except for some modifications in 2004, the 14001 standard has in general remained unchanged since its launch in 1996. Therefore, the new ISO 14001:2015 is an important step forward, to make the standard relevant for future environmental challenges and as means for organizations to achieve sustainable business performance.”
The new 14001 adapts the common ISO framework for management system standards which include a common high level structure, common terms and text. Users of the standards will recognize the benefits of this aligned structure.
What is new?
These are some of the key changes compared with the 2004-edition:
Broader environmental view, including consideration of aspects in the life cycle perspective. Additionally to use environmental requirements as input to the product/service design process.
Risk and opportunity management, including systematic determination and monitoring of internal and external issues that can affect the management system and through determination of needs and expectations of interested parties
Stronger emphasis on leadership and commitment from top management to take accountability for the effectiveness of the management system.
More focus on objectives as drivers for improvements, and related planning required to achieve the goals.
More specific requirements related to performance evaluation, including the need to determine criteria and indicators to analyze and evaluate its environmental performance. Additionally to determine what, how and when to monitor and measure.
More emphasis on environmental requirements in the procurement of goods and services and to control outsourced processes.
Extended requirements related to internal and external communication, including need to determine what, when and how (methods) to communicate.
Several of the changes above are induced as a result of the common structure.
“We believe that the changes seen at this stage are promising and will foster the success of environmental management. In addition it is clearly a benefit that other major standards like ISO 9001 follows the same structure,” says Tor Gunnar Tollefsen.
Next steps and transition period
Publication of the standard is expected June/July in 2015. After publication there will be a three year transition period for certified organizations, which also is an indication that the changes are considered substantial.
It is recommended for organizations to start planning for the transition as early as possible. The draft standard can be purchased from ISO and relevant national bodies.
Start building your understanding on what the changes mean for your organization and management system. DNV GL may support this journey through organized webinars, training sessions, etc. to inform you about the changes. Also our auditors are there to help and guide. At the same time our audit methodology (Next Generation Risk Based Certification) already supports in elevating your management system in the right direction.