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ISO 14001:2015

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) normally reviews standards every five years to ensure that they are relevant to changing market demands. The publication of ISO 14001:2015 was published on 15 September 2015.

What’s new?

Annex SL (the new high level structure and common text for all new and revised ISO standards) is the single biggest change to the ISO 14001:2015 document. Annex SL is driving the incorporation of the EMS into the strategic thinking of the organisation and increased responsibilities on the leadership of the organisation in relation to the EMS.

Other topics that are new to ISO 14001 include: a] organisational context (clause 4), b] risk based approach (clauses 6 and 10), c] scope and applicability (clauses 4.3 and 1), d] documented information (clause 7.5), and e] life cycle perspective and control of outsourcing (clause 8).

What’s been revised?

Amongst the areas of the standard that have been revised or now contain more specific information, organisations should pay attention to a] increased emphasis on top management engagement with ISO 14001 (clause 5), b] policy (clause 5.2), c] communication (clause 7.4), d] documented information (clause 7.5), e] performance and evaluation (clause 9), and f] management review (clause 9).

What does ISO 14001:2015 mean for my organisation?

Organisations have three years from publication (15 September 2015) to successfully complete transition to the new standard, so they can choose to transition at any point within this period.

Some may choose their next certification cycle, although many will want to be ‘among the first’ given the increased flexibility and value that ISO 14001:2015 will deliver, along with the bonus of a clear commitment to best practice being demonstrated to their interested parties.