ISO 14001 is the internationally recognised standard for the environmental management of an organisation and their operations. In order to gain ISO 14001 certification, businesses need to ensure that they’re minimising their negative impact and introducing maintainable systems across all levels of their company.
The most recent version of the ISO 14001 standard was introduced in 2015, revising previous guidelines in response to the continually evolving business environment and more stringent legislation. During the integration of the new ISO 14001 management system, businesses that had previously gained compliance were given a changeover period of three years to update their processes.
Being an ISO management system, these revised environmental guidelines can be seamlessly integrated with numerous other standards organisation wide. As such, regardless of your unique industry, size and location your business has the opportunity to gain ISO 14001 accreditation today.
When making the ISO 14001 transition, your organisation may find it beneficial to gain expert assistance from an industry professional. ISO 14001 consultants are experienced in helping different businesses acquire certification, and can provide your organisation with the advice and guidance required to successfully implement an ISO 14001 management system.
So, how can start reducing your environmental impact and satisfy the requirements needed to achieve compliance?
Determine Your Organisational Context in Relation to ISO 14001
Prior to the introduction of the new ISO 14001 certification requirements, defining your business’ organisational context was not identified as an area of focus. It is, however, essential in building a strong foundation for your environmental management system.
ISO 14001 accreditation requires that you consider how to lower your environmental impact using a multi-dimensional approach. In essence, this means going beyond simply looking into one or two departments and, instead, analysing all of the direct and indirect consequences of your actions.
When determining your distinct organisational context in the marketplace, you’ll need to assess your business’ environmental performance across all operations company wide. It’s crucial to take into account not only the legislative requirements relevant to your particular organisation, but also clearly define how exactly the performance of your environmental management will effect stakeholders.
It’s recommended that, to ensure processes are thoroughly analysed, your organisation explicitly identifies your internal, external and environmental context. If you’re unsure of how to go about doing this, investing in ISO 14001 consulting could offer immense value to your business.
Audit Current Processes: What needs to change to gain ISO 14001 Certification?
When making the ISO 14001 transition, it is essential for your business to assess current practices and determine areas that require improvement.
During this stage, reviewing your environmental policy is vital. The guidelines regarding policy are still relatively similar to previous versions of the standard, however, ISO 14001 certification places greater emphasis on incorporating your environmental management systems into organisational strategies. As such, this element of the ISO 14001 transition needs to be clearly reflected in your business’ policy.
It is then essential to assess the risks and opportunities relevant to your environmental management systems and their long-term performance and viability. This requirement was introduced in the ISO 14001 2015 revision, and once having identified potential areas of concern it’s essential for organisations to determine how best to address them.
Lastly, it’s crucial that your business reviews your compliance obligations. The new ISO 14001 certification incorporates the need for compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements, as has been necessary in previous versions. However, ISO 14001 now has an enhanced focus on satisfactorily meeting the needs and expectations of stakeholders in line with relevant legislation.
For more information regarding your legal requirements, get in contact with an experienced team of ISO 14001 consultants today.
Develop Systems to Monitor ISO 14001 Performance
Once having enhanced your compliance with the ISO 14001 standard, it’s essential to ensure that the management systems in place will remain reliable well into the future. Establishing a strong system of processes and procedures to measures and monitor your environmental performance is central in doing this.
By introducing such capabilities, your organisation will be able to effectively identify any areas of potential improvement and make appropriate adjustments to address them. If your business doesn’t have the correct processes in place to monitor the performance of your environmental management systems, you risk losing all of the progress you’ve invested in to gain ISO 14001 certification.
To ensure the efforts you’ve taken to make the ISO 14001 transition and reduce your business’ environmental impact are maintainable in the long-term, it’s crucial that you have suitable solutions in place to avoid the deterioration of processes.