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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; organizations can decide whether or not to comply with these standards. 
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, fulfills compliance obligations and addresses risks and opportunities as it regards to environmental issues.
ISO updates their requirements approximately every 7 years, with the newest version of the standard 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. ISO published ISO 14001:2015/AMD1:2024 in February of 2024, which amends Section 4 to include climate action considerations.

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 EMS and provides guidance for its use.

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The standard 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 this standard 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 an EMS?

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”.

In essence the standard will:

  • Protect the environment by preventing pollution
  • Improve air and water
  • Prevent the earth from soil erosion or other environmental problems

The standard is also beneficial for your business it helps:

  • To reduce accidents in an organization
  • To get client trust and satisfaction by substantiating to ISO 14000 standard
  • To become good citizens by achieving best environmental performance
  • To reduce legal responsibility and risk contact by making sure with safe and effective environmental management system
  • To get competitive benefit by using environmental improvements to increase marketing efforts
  • To reduce costs by avoiding too much environmental waste

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.


Our All-in-One Certification Package is a proven, efficient system. It gives you all you need to prepare for registration – in one simple to use package.

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