The New ISO 14001 Structure

The new standard is published in the month of September, 2015. ISO 14001:2015 is based on the new High Level Structure (HLS) that brings a common framework to all management system standards. This helps to keep consistency, alignment different management system standards, offer matching sub-clauses against the top-level structure and apply common language across all standards.

The key changes in the proposed standard are:

  • The emphasis on leadership
  • The focus on risk management
  • Emphasis on objectives measurement and change
  • Communication and awareness
  • Fewer prescriptive requirements

With the new standard in place, organizations will find it easier to incorporate their environmental management system into the core business processes and gain greater business benefits.

Who should use the ISO 14001:2015 revision?

ISO 14001:2015 should be used by any organization that wishes to set up, improve, or maintain an environmental management system to conform with its established environmental policy and requirements. The requirements of the standard can be incorporated into any environmental management system, the extent to which is determined by several factors including the organization’s industry, environmental policy, products and service offerings, and location.

ISO 14001:2015 is relevant to all organizations, regardless of size, location, sector, or industry.

What topics does ISO 14001:2015 cover?

At the highest level, ISO 14001:2015 covers the following topics with regard to environmental management systems:

  • Context of the organization
  • Leadership
  • Planning
  • Support
  • Operation
  • Performance evaluation
  • Improvement

ISO 14001:2015 Revisions - 14001:2004 vs. 14001:2015

The 2015 revision of ISO 14001 introduces a number of changes from previous versions.

As part of the effort to structure all ISO standards in the same way, the revisions introduced in the 2015 version of ISO 14001 include incorporating a required high-level structure, using mandatory definitions, and incorporating common standards requirements and clauses.

Identified 10 major areas of impact of the 2015 revision:

  • Expansion in EMS coverage and scope
  • Required interactions with external parties
  • New requirements for leadership engagement
  • Expanded legal compliance requirements
  • Need for risk-based planning and controls
  • New documentation requirements
  • Expanded operational control requirements
  • Changes in competence and awareness requirements
  • Impacts on the internal audit program
  • Increased certification costs

Why is ISO 14001 being revised?

All ISO standards are reviewed every five years to determine if a revision is necessary to keep it current and relevant for the marketplace. ISO 14001:2015 will respond to latest trends and ensure it is compatible with other management system standards, such as ISO 9001.