Questionnaire - Implementing ISO 14001

EMS Implementation Course - Benchmarking Questionnaire


How to use this Questionnaire

This questionnaire has been distributed for use of delegates on the above course. It can be used to establish a benchmark position for those organisations considering implementing a standardised environmental management system, and can be used subsequently by the same organisations to track progress, probably at quarterly intervals.

Please complete this questionnaire to give a fair representation of your current level of compliance with standardised requirements. You may print this page, complete the answers, and bring it with you.

There are 26 questions and the figures in brackets refer to sections of ISO/FDIS 14001: 2004. The answers you give should be representative of your company’s status as a whole, so it may be easier to restrict your first answers to a specific representative site for the purpose of the current exercise.

When you have finished answering all the questions, transfer your numerical scores to the final summary sheet, which you should ensure is handed in to the tutor by the stated time. Please keep the completed questionnaire for your own future reference and use.

Each question requires a self-scored answer in the form of a mark on a linear scale, the two extremes of the scale are indicated by words or phrases. The scoring is indicated by circling one of the five numbers as shown to indicate the status of your organisation in relation to the two extremes. Please ensure that you score with WHOLE numbers only.

1 2 3 4 5

If you consider you have made no progress as regards a particular question then a 0 should be circled.

There are notes to help guide you in scoring your response, though in the future, if you were to continue to use the questionnaire, the most helpful guidance will come from the cross-referenced sections of the standard.

Please note, where questions refer to the maintenance of work procedures you should only consider your organisation to merit a high score if you have had procedures long enough to alter them in the light of experience. As this process is likely to have taken about a year even with a fully active environmental management system, few organisations rate such a high score.

You will need to download this case study (PDF) to answer the questions >

Question No 1
Has the organisation carried out an initial (or preparatory) review to establish its current position with regard to the environment? (A.1 – General requirements) Previous partial review or new review started, but little progress  Thorough review completed formal report covering key areas submitted, improvement programme designed.

0 = Previous partial review or new review started, but little progress

4 = Thorough completed formal report covering key areas submitted, improvement programme designed.

0 1 2 3 4

Question No 2
Has the organisation adopted and implemented an environmental management system that meets the requirements of the standard? (Clause 4.1 - Environmental Management System requirements)

0 = Some elements of a system exist, little explicit interrelationship
4 = Standard requirements fully met.

0 1 2 3 4

Note: A score of 4 reflects the full development and integration of system components and due emphasis on prevention of adverse environmental impacts. (A.1 - General requirements)

Question No 3
Has the organisation defined and documented its environmental policy? (Clause 4.2 - Environmental policy)

0 = Draft available but not widely adopted and some major issues not addressed 
4 = Relevant, understood, maintained, publicly available, consistent with organisation policies and linked

0 1 2 3 4

Note: The value of a policy will depend on the care taken in its formulation. For a score of 3 the policy should normally be widely understood, and reflect the commitment of the organisation to comply with applicable laws and continual improvement.  (A.2 - Environmental policy) A score of 4 indicates that the policy has been implemented and maintained at all levels in the organisation.

Question No 4
Has the organisation established, implemented and maintained procedures to identify the significant environmental impacts of its activities, products and services? (4.3.1 - Environmental aspects)

0 = Some procedures initiated 
4 = Full procedures established, and maintained on all significant impacts

0 1 2 3 4

Note: It is unlikely that a score of 4 will be achieved until initial procedures are refined in the light of experience. Scores of 3 or 4 require that procedures apply to abnormal operations, accidents and past, current and planned activities. (A.3.1 - Environmental aspects)

Question No 5
Has the organisation established, implemented and maintained procedures to identify and have access to legislative, regulatory and other requirements pertaining to the environmental aspects of its business? (4.3.2 - Legal and other requirements)

0 = Some procedures initiated 
4 = Full procedures established, and maintained

0 1 2 3 4

Note: It is unlikely that a score of 3 will be achieved until initial procedures are refined in the light of experience. Full procedures pertain to all aspects of the business, including industry codes of practice, agreements with public authorities and non-regulatory guidelines. (A.3.2 - Legal and other requirements)

Question No 6
Has the organisation established, implemented and maintained documented environmental objectives at each relevant function and level? (4.3.3 – Objectives, targets and programmes)

0 = Some objectives identified 
4 = Objectives fully established. Consistent with environmental policy

0 1 2 3 4

Note: For a score of more than 1 objectives should be measurable and consider the use of best available technology where economically viable.

Question No 7
Has the organisation established, implemented and maintained documented environmental targets? (A.3.3 – Objectives, targets and programmes)

0 = Some targets in place  
4 = Targets in place. Achievement being monitored

0 1 2 3 4

Note: It is unlikely that a score of 3 will be achieved until initial targets are refined in the light of experience. Targets should apply to priority areas and cascade through relevant levels within the organisation. Account should be taken of the degree to which targets are measurable, and take into account, preventive measures. (4.3.3 – Objectives, targets and programmes)

Question No 8
Has the organisation established, implemented and is it maintaining a programme for achieving its environmental objectives and targets? (A.3.3 – Environmental objectives, targets and programme(s))

0 = Initial outline programme at appropriate levels 
4 = Comprehensive and detailed programme being maintained and applied at all levels

0 1 2 3 4

Note: A score of 4 requires that those responsible for Programme elements have the necessary authority, motivation and qualifications to implement the Programmes. Programmes should include timescales and include review of new activities. (4.3.3 – Objectives, targets and programme(s)    

Question No 9
Has the organisation defined, documented and communicated the responsibility, and authority of key personnel who manage and perform work affecting the environment? (4.4.1 – Resources, roles, responsibility and authority)

0 = Some responsibility allocated 
4 = Responsibilities and authorities defined, documented and communicated

0 1 2 3 4

Note: A score of 4 requires provision of sufficient resources and that all individual function, activity and process managers, including line managers, have their role and accountability defined in developing and implementing the environmental management system. The relevance of job descriptions and performance appraisals should influence the score. Resource requirements are deferred to Question No. 10.

Question No 10
Has the organisation provided adequate resources (including human, technological and financial) for implementation and control and improvement of the environmental management system? (4.4.1 - Resources, roles, responsibility and authority)

0 = Some responsibility allocated 
4 = Requirement and procedures fully identified, resources assigned

0 1 2 3 4

Question No 11
Has the organisation appointed a management representative with responsibility for ensuring compliance with this standard and for reporting on management system performance? (4.4.1 - Resources, roles, responsibility and authority)

0 = Appointed but little impact 
4 = Management representative proven highly effective

0 1 2 3 4

Note: For the higher scores the management representatives should have no unresolved conflict of interest.

Question No 12
Has the organisation established, implemented and maintained procedures for identifying training needs and for providing appropriate training? (4.4.2 - Training, awareness and competence)

0 = Some procedures initiated 
4 = Comprehensive training needs assessment and delivery procedures established and maintained

0 1 2 3 4

Note: A score of 4 requires that all individual function, activity and process managers have the necessary knowledge, attribute and qualifications relating to their role in environmental management. Particular regard should have been paid to those carrying out specialised environmental management functions and those employees of contractors have the requisite training. (A.4.2 - Training, awareness and competence) For higher scores, proper records are also required. (A.5.4 - Records)

Question No 13
Has the organisation implemented and maintained sufficient and appropriate communication with its employees and members relating to environmental management? (A.4.2 - Training, awareness and competence)

0 = Some initiated 
4 = Comprehensive awareness achieved and maintained

0 1 2 3 4

Note: Scoring should take account of the processes established to manage communications as well as of the results achieved. For higher scores effective communications should be well established. (4.4.2 - Training, awareness and competence)

Question No 14
Has the organisation established, implemented and maintained procedures to receive, record and respond to concerns of interest parties? (4.4.3 - Communication)

0 = Some procedures initiated 
4 = Full procedures established and maintained

0 1 2 3 4

Note: It is unlikely that a score of 4 will be achieved until initial procedures are refined in the light of experience. Scores of 3 or 4 required evidence of the efficacy of the procedures.

Question No 15
Has the organisation established and is it maintaining documented information to describe the management system and its scope and provide reference to related documentation? (4.4.4 - Environmental management system documentation)

0 = Initial outline programme at appropriate levels 
4 = Comprehensive and detailed documentation available and applied describing the core elements of the system

0 1 2 3 4

Note: For those higher scores there should be consistency in approach in the documentation and similar rules for control, review and amendment. (A.4.4 - Environmental management systems documentation)

Question No 16
Has the organisation established and is it maintaining procedures for controlling all documents required by this standard? (4.4.5 - Document control)

0 = Draft procedures prepared and implementation started 
4 = Comprehensive and detailed procedures being maintained, controlled and applied

0 1 2 3 4

Note: A score of 3 or 4 requires documentation control procedures to be effective in implementing and maintaining the system. (A.4.5 - Document control)

Question No 17
Has the organisation identified and planned relevant operations to ensure that they are carried out under controlled conditions? (4.4.6 - Operational control).

0 = Identification only partial and few controls for environmental purpose 
4 = Well established control including documented procedures stipulating acceptance criteria

0 1 2 3 4

Note: For scores above 1 procedures should ensure the relevance of these controls. For a score of 4 controls should address all identified significant aspects in line with policy, objectives and targets. (4.4.6 - Operational control)

Question No 18
Has the organisation established, implemented and maintained and communicated procedures to suppliers including contractors relating to identifiable significant aspects of goods and services used by the organisation? (4.4.6 - Operational control)

0 = Started, but only partial and uncoordinated 
4 = Yes, comprehensive and effective procedures in place

0 1 2 3 4

Question No 19
Has the organisation established, implemented and maintained procedures to identify potential for and respond to accidents and emergency situations? (4.4.7 - Emergency preparedness and response)

0 = Started, little progress 
4 = Comprehensive procedures, well established, maintained and effective

0 1 2 3 4

For a score of 3 to 4 the issues identified in A.4.7 Emergency preparedness and response should have been addressed.

Question No 20
Has the organisation established, implemented and maintained procedures to monitor and measure key characteristics of its operations and activities that can have a significant impact on the environment? (4.5.1 - Monitoring and measurements)

0 = Started, little progress 
4 = Comprehensive procedures, well established and effective

0 1 2 3 4

Note: For scores above 1 these procedures should ensure the relevance of these operations and activities to this organisation. For a score of 4 verification processes should address indirect as well as direct impacts.

Question No 21
Has the organisation established, implemented and maintained procedures for periodically evaluating compliance with relevant environmental legal and other requirements to which it subscribes eg through internal audits and management review. Have records of these periodic evaluations been maintained?
(4.5.2 - Monitoring and measurement)

0 = Started, little progress 
4 = Comprehensive procedures, well established and effective

0 1 2 3 4

Question No 22
Has the organisation established, implemented and maintained a procedure for dealing with actual and potential nonconformities with defined responsibility and authority for initiating corrective and preventive action? (4.5.3 - Nonconformance and corrective and preventative action)

0 = Some responsibility allocated 
4 = Fully defined and effective

0 1 2 3 4

Note: For higher scores responsibility and authority should clearly extend over emergency as well as protracted events, and include the duty to investigate causes and initiate corrective action within management systems.

Question No 23
Has the organisation established, implemented and maintained a procedure for records management and is it establishing and maintaining environmental management records? (4.5.4 - Records)

0 = Some evidence of records system being defined and applied 
4 = Clear evidence that a quality system is defined and effective.  Policy clear on maintenance of records

0 1 2 3 4

Note: For a score of 4 recording of the extent to which objectives and targets have been met should in included, and storage and retrieval systems should be proven. (A.5.3 - Records)

Question No 24
Has the organisation established, implemented and maintained an independent environmental management system audit programme and procedures? (4.5.5 - Environmental Management Standards audit)

0 = EMS Audit programme and procedures drafted 
4 = Comprehensive EMS audit procedure implemented and maintained

0 1 2 3 4

Note: Procedures should include determining the requirements for internal and external resources for environmental management system audits. For higher scores, audit procedures should have been proved in practice and conform to the guidance contained in ISO 19011:2002.

Question No 25
Has the organisation established, implemented and maintained an environmental management system audit plan? (4.5.5 - Environmental management systems audit)

0 = EMS Audit Plan drafted 
4 = EMS Audit Plan addresses all main points and is highly effective

0 1 2 3 4

Question No 26
Has the organisation carried out reviews of its environmental management system? (4.6 - Management review)

0 = Initial review only 
4 = Regular and responsible effective reviews

0 1 2 3 4

Note: For a score of 4 the reviews should be timely, comprehensive (including the agenda items in clause 4.6), adequately presented and its findings, conclusions and recommendations documented for necessary action. (A.6 - Management review)

Please click here to view and print the Questionnaire Summary Sheet      

Benchmarking This questionnaire can be kept by delegates and used again to track progress towards a full EMS.

Target scores and what they indicate about the companies concerned:

Delegate score: 0 – 10

There is every chance that their operation is running at high levels of risk. They have well below average controls on your processes and their environmental effects and in a pollution incident could be exposed to unacceptably high levels of liability. This may make financial institutions reconsider any long-term loans. If they are a service provider, they know little about their indirect effects, and could be denying themselves an improved marketing position.

Delegate Score: 11 – 30

They may well have identified some elements within their organisation that have the capacity to help them manage environmental effects. They may even have undertaken some environmentally related initiatives (such as a recycling scheme), but as yet they are content to cope with problems as they appear, rather than choose a more proactive approach.  It may be that, they have no sense that environmental issues are central to the continued health of their company and as long as their current arrangements continue to keep them within compliance of the law on a day-to-day basis, they see no reason to engage in any activity that changes the situation. As a result, they are missing out on business improvement, extra profits and increased client care.

Delegate Score: 31 – 60

They have already begun to identify those environmental issues that are pertinent to their company and its stakeholders. They have the building blocks of an environmental management system in place, and probably have some good in-house technical expertise currently focused on other work. They may have regulated processes on site, with extremely good ‘end of pipe’ technology that ensures pollution incidents are kept to a minimum. In which case, extending the principles of avoidance rather than cure back up the production line would help ease the financial burden of keeping such technology constantly up to date as legislation becomes increasingly stringent.

Delegate Score: 61 – 80

They already have a fledgling environmental management policy in place. It may be that it has not been very long in existence and is still generating its first useful information. It may also be that integration within the Health & Safety management system and/or Quality has not yet happened, which has a potential for confusion and conflicting messages within the system. However, they have come a substantial way towards reaching their target and they are well on the way to being ready for certification or verification by an outside body.

Delegate Score: 80 – 104

It is unclear what their objective is in attending this workshop. Their score indicates that they are already in amongst the foremost proponents of environmental management, and would gain little from this training, unless they are sitting with many of their suppliers whom they wish to encourage down a similar path.

Score Profile

Ask delegates to note where their scores were higher. If they are just starting to install an EMS then the scores at the front end of the questionnaire will be higher than later on. If the scores are higher at the end of the questionnaire, then it indicates that they have effective pollution management, but not effective environmental management. (Pollution management is to environmental management what quality control is to quality assurance.)