ISO 14001: 2015 consultants -Environmental Management System


After the adoption of QMS Standards – which eventually lead to ISO 9001 - it was recognised that the same Plan Do Check Act elements could be applied to environmental management systems.

From the 1970s onwards there was greater international awareness of modern society’s impact on the environment and what we know call sustainability. BSI introduced BS 7750 in 1992 and early versions of ISO 14001 were developed from 1992 onwards.

The current version is ISO 14001:2015. It is key to remember that this is an environmental management system (EMS) for environmental policy, compliance, training, improvement and operational controls.

ISO 14001 is not evidence of any particular scientific or technological standards or approaches being used by an organisation to manage their environmental impact - as is sometimes mistakenly believed - although it can be adapted by organisations who have such processes and want to manage their development through an EMS framework.

ISO 14001 is used for certification/registration although there is no necessity to have this third party approval unless an organisation desires it or is required by customers to do so i.e. an organisation can implement an ISO 14001 EMS without having a third party assessment.


The main requirements of ISO 14001:2015 are categorized into the following subjects:

  • Policy (which includes a commitment to prevent pollution)
  • Environmental aspects and impacts; environmental planning
  • Management review
  • Evaluation of legal and other requirements
  • Implementation and operation
  • Training and competency of staff and contractors
  • Emergency preparedness and response to pollution and other unplanned environmental events
  • Performance assessment
  • Improvement

ISO 14001 can be implemented along side ISO 9001:2015, BS OHSAS 18001 or other Standards e.g. Excellence Model, PAS 99. The trend is towards integrating management systems and there is strong commonality in certain areas such internal audit and management review as well as operational controls. Guidance on implementation can be found in books published by ISO amongst others.

ISO 14001 relevant to your organization?

ISO 14001 can be applicable to any organisation including public sector. It is increasingly becoming adopted in the service sector – including purely office based organisations - as well as more traditional manufacturing, transportation and built environment industries.

Global adoption

Based on an ISO survey in 2002 nearly 50,000 organisations worldwide had adopted ISO 14001 and this figure is now much higher as take up in the service sectors and built environment alone have dramatically increased in the last few years.


These depend on an organisations direct and indirect impact on the environment and their sustainable goals but would include:

  • Improved business focus
  • A more holistic approach to managing environmental risks including reputational and financial risks to the organisation of non-compliance
  • Reduced bureaucracy and parallel processes; yes, this is true! Management systems lead to less bureaucracy if they are properly implemented
  • More effective and efficient audits both internally and externally

Of course, at least some reduced impact on the environment, be it through less energy consumption, less emissions or waste and less wasteful business processes. Some organisations can also support biodiversity protection through their EMS. Whilst not part of ISO 14001 some organisations will implement their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies and activities alongside their EMS. Synergies can be drawn between the two.


Organizations adopting ISO 14001 will find it provides a basis for integrated internal auditing. If the organisation already has ISO 9001 it may adapt the existing audit programme but with further staff training. Those components that are common such as documentation, records, training, audit process, review process, corrective and preventive action etc. do not need to be audited for each system but just once should suffice. This enables the opportunity for a greater focus on compliance and operational control issues and a reduction in audit time internally. Separate third party assessments can be obtained or combined or integrated options can be sought.


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