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ISO 14001:2015 Changes from ISO 14001:2004

While reviewing your Environmental Management System (EMS) for changes from the ISO 14001:2004 revision to ISO 14001:2015, consider the following as having the biggest impact.  They are provided by relevant chapter.

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Chapter 4 – Context of the Organization

In the standard, chapter 4 addresses the purpose of the objective of company.  It gives consideration to external issues that impact their EMS. The needs and expectations of “interested parties” are to be better understood and evaluated.  If a process or procedure impacts an external issue, then it must be considered within the Environmental Management System.

Chapter 5 – Leadership

The standard infers that top management should, take more responsibility for the effectiveness of the Environmental Management System and the integration of the EMS into its business processes. The environmental policy should include a commitment to protect the environment beyond the corporate boundaries.  

Also, a management representative is no longer explicitly required, but sufficient responsibility and authority must be documented within the organization.

Chapter 6Planning

The planning process should be handled in the same PDCA (Plan – Do – Check – Act) life cycle and should use Risk Based Thinking as the premise to take into account the positive and negative environmental impacts.

The environmental assessment does not need to explicitly include a life cycle assessment, but it should review the significant environmental aspects and required commitments (legal, customer-specific, etc.).  It also should analyze any risks associated with hazards and view them as opportunities.

Chapter 7 – Support

Communication of environmental protection is given more consideration.  Any representations made externally must have an associated and documented process and procedure.  The term “documented information” is more general and takes into account all of the latest media recording modes.

Chapter 8 – Operation

Any scheduling in the organization operations must document inputs and outputs (especially outsourced processes).  This also includes the environmental impacts of products and services from input to final output and utilization.

Chapter 9 – Performance evaluation

Environmental performance standards must now take into consideration requirements. Compliance must be considered as early as environmental objectives are set.  Thus, indicators that measure performance of an environmental aspect. “Environmental Management – Environmental Performance Evaluation” is referred to for this purpose.

Key performance indicators is incorporated into environmental management.  This means that monitoring and measuring is required in all other commitments and associated risks within environmental performance.

Chapter 10 – Improvement

Correcting nonconformities and continual process improvement is now focused on the organization’s surroundings and the environmental performance improvements.


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