Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties in ISO 14001:2015 EMS

In section 4.2 of the requirements of ISO 14001:2015, an important and critical step takes place: to understand the needs and expectations of interested parties for your EMS. This step is crucial because your decisions will greatly influence the direction of your Environmental Management System.

When you are trying to understand the needs and expectations of interested parties, there are

  • Who are your interested parties?
  • What are the relevant needs of your interested parties?
  • Which needs will become obligations for you?
  • How to determine who interested parties?

Throughout the world, most countries and regions have environmental laws and regulations that may dictate your organization’s operations. This may be one type of interested parties, but other interested may not be as easy to determine, and therefore we wanted to provide you with some examples to help you identify who your interested parties may be:

  • people living near your facility that may be affected by the environmental impact
  • shareholders who want to avoid fines and penalties
  • customers and consumers who are concerned with environmental ethics
  • employees who want the satisfaction of knowing that their job is concerned with lowering their environmental footprint and focuses on sustainable practices

Understanding who interested parties are, and identifying their needs and expectations is crucial for your organization because it dictates how to build an EMS for you. When you are able to identify this information, you can provide an acceptable return on your investment, because you will be focusing on important issues for your organization rather than prioritizing concerns that may not be important for your organization and interested parties. When you are working on this step, do it right and you can save time and money by building the framework immediately.

 

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