ISO 14001:2015 – Environmental Management System

ISO 14001 was established in 1996 by the International Organization for Standardization, as part of the 14000 family of standards. Its purpose is to provide a framework to assist organisations in protecting the environment through a systematic approach, to which they can achieve certification to confirm. 

What is ISO 14001:2015

ISO 14001:2015 is the latest version of ISO 14001. All organisations that were certified to the previous ISO 14001:2004 were required to transition to the 2015 version of the standard before September 2018. All remaining ISO 14001:2004 certificates after this time were deemed to be invalid by the Accreditation Bodies.

Is there a legal requirement to have the standard?

The Standard is voluntary, meaning it is not a legal obligation for an organisation to implement or adhere to. The standard is required to be aligned with the organisations policy and is often utilised by companies to demonstrated their commitment to environmental management.

What does the standard look like?

The standard adopts a changed (Annex SL) structure which will be common amongst other ISO standards including ISO 9001:2015 (Quality) & ISO 20121:2012 (Event Sustainability). This has been purposely done to assist organisations in aligning and amalgamating their certified standards if they wish to do so.

The Standard is set out into the following clauses in line with Annex SL:

  1. Context of the organisation
  2. Leadership
  3. Planning
  4. Support
  5. Operation
  6. Performance evaluations
  7. Improvement

What should I expect if I implement the standard?

There are three intended outcomes ofthe standard which should align with the organisations environmental policy. These outcomes include:

  • enhancement of environmental performance;
  • fulfilment of compliance obligations; 
  • achievement of environmental objectives
ISO 14001 certification

Guidance to implementing the standard

  • I.S. EN ISO 14004:2016 – Environmental management systems – General guidelines on implementation
  • ISO 14001:2015 – A practical guide for SMEs: This booklet aims to help small businesses understand the requirements of an environmental management system and to help them implement ISO 14001 successfully
  • I.S. EN ISO 14031:2013 – Environmental management – Environmental performance evaluation – Guidelines
  • I.S. EN ISO 14006:2011 – Environmental management systems – Guidelines for incorporating ecodesign


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