Have your say on the revised Environmental Management System standard ISO 14001

The public consultation process for the international environmental standard ISO 14001, is now open with UK comments requested by 31 October 2014. BSI, the UK’s National Standards Body, is leading the consultation process in the UK and interested parties can register their comments online: http://drafts.bsigroup.com/Document/Manage/53262

As one of the most successful standards in environmental management worldwide, ISO 14001 has benefitted over 250,000 organizations who are certified to it. It has enabled users to reduce the cost of waste management, save in consumption of energy and materials, lower distribution costs and improve corporate image among regulators, customers and the public.

The revision includes input from 40 experts from 25 countries across all sectors. This is the standard’s first major revision and seeks not only to update ISO 14001 to include current key concepts and future challenges in environmental management, but also new text will apply to all Management System Standards. Changes include:

  • A new framework of terms, definitions, headings and text that will be common to all management system standards. This will allow easy integration when implementing more than one management system
  • A greater understanding of the context of the organization that should result in improved knowledge of the factors that affect the organization’s environmental responsibilities
  • Strengthened links to top management’s responsibility for the management system and its integration into organizational objectives
  • A recognition of the relationship between environmental management and sustainability
  • That effects on the organization from the environment (climate change) should be considered
  • Increased emphasis on the organization’s value chain, and consideration of outsourced processes

The standard is now open for comment and BSI is encouraging feedback and input from interested parties.

The aim of the consultation process for ISO 14001 is to gain feedback to develop an international best practice standard for environmental management and establish clear guidance for anyone involved in business. Regardless of the size or scale of the operation, being able to foresee and avoid potential pitfalls, by making environmental management a priority rather than an ‘add on’, is crucial for all.  

Comments can be made on the individual clauses through the draft review site, after which they will be considered by the UK committee before submission to the ISO committee.  Comment submissions outside the UK can be made through the country’s relevant National Standards Body.  The final revised standard is expected at the end of 2015 subject to the feedback submitted during the consultation phase.

David Fatscher, Head of Market Development for Sustainability at BSI, said: “ISO 14001 is one of the most important standards of our time, especially in the context of sustainable business growth and the direct impacts it can have on the entire environmental landscape. This much anticipated revision is the first since 2004 and will enable organizations stay to abreast of the changes in the environmental management arena, ensuring that they at the crest of the information curve. ”

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