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What is ISO 14001?

ISO 14001:2015 is the international standard that states requirements for an effective environmental management system, otherwise referred to as EMS. ISO standards provide a framework for organizations to follow. All ISO standards are voluntary of which an organization can decide to certify to.

So what is ISO? ISO is the International Organization of Standardization, a worldwide organization that develops different types of standards to be integrated into an organization’s system.  According to ISO, an environmental management system is defined as a management system that manages environmental aspects, fulfill compliance obligations and addresses risks and opportunities as it regards to environmental issues.

ISO updates their requirements every 7 years, with the newest version of ISO 14001 being ISO 14001:2015. The newest version uses a high-level structure, mandatory definitions, and incorporates common standard requirements and clauses used in all ISO standards. 

Read “Who is ISO” for more information…

ISO 14000 is a series of documents relating to the implementation of an Environmental Management System (EMS).

ISO 14001:2015 is the document which defines the requirements for the ISO 14000 EMS and provides guidance for its use.

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ISO 14001:2015 is a standard for anEnvironmental Management System (EMS), which requires your organization to:

  • Determine your organization’s impact on the environment and relevant regulations to the operations of the business.
  • Create a plan to control your processes to minimize the environmental impact.
  • Monitor the effectiveness of the system at meeting objectives as well as legal and other.
  • Continually analyze the results and improve your systems.

Basics of ISO 14001

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In the US, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) writes environmental laws that organizations must follow. Although ISO 14001 is strictly voluntary, it provides the framework to evaluate and manage an organizations’ environmental impact and is the easiest way to comply.

Why do companies want to pursue ISO 14001?

Fundamentally, it is everyone’s job to protect the environment by preventing pollution and continually improving the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the earth we inhabit.  Organizations are becoming increasingly concerned in achieving sound environmental performance, often while delivering cost savings and demonstrating that you are a “Good Corporate Citizen”.

Market Pressure
Many organizations decide to Implement ISO 14001 and obtain registration because it assures customers, shareholders, suppliers, regulators and the community at large that the company has a good Environmental Management System (EMS) in place. An organization with an effective EMS will typically meet customer expectations and comply with regulations better than an organization that does not have an effective EMS. Many organizations require their suppliers to have ISO 14001 Registration.

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