The international standard for Environmental Management Systems will soon enter the last stage of its 3 year review.  The new standard will be released in early 2015.

For those interested in the timing and degree of change, the committee draft provides a good indication of key concepts emerging in the revision.

The new version is intended to maintain and improve the basic principles and existing requirements of ISO14001:2004.  It is likely that the new elements and requirements, summarised below, will bolt on fairly easily to any ISO14001 based system.

However the new clause numbers and structure could pose more of a challenge.  It is based on a new high level structure for Management System Standards, different from the “plan-do-check-act” principle that management system practitioners are familiar with.

Changes we are likely to see include:

  • Specific responsibilities for people in leadership roles to promote environmental management within the organisation.
  • A new requirement to understand environmentally-related organisational risks and opportunities and to integrate those that are critical into operational planning.
  • An expanded expectation to commit to proactive initiatives to protect the environment which can include sustainable resource use, climate change mitigation and adaptation and protecting biodiversity and ecosystems.
  • A shift in emphasis from continual improvement of the management system to improvement of environmental performance
  • An extension of control and influence beyond procured goods and services to  product use and end-of-life treatment or disposal.
  • The development of a communication strategy with equal emphasis on external and internal communication and quality of information.
  • Use of the words “documented information” instead of “documents and records” recognising the use of computerised systems.

How can Enviroease help?

We can work with you this year to strengthen the risk management, communication and performance evaluation processes.

We can further assist you next year by conducting a gap analysis against the new standard ISO14001 after it is released.