BS EN ISO 14031 Environmental performance evaluation - Guidelines

Many organizations seek ways to understand, demonstrate and improve their environmental performance. This can be achieved by effectively managing those elements of their activities, products and services that can significantly impact the environment..

What is BS EN ISO 14031?

BS EN ISO 14031, sets out a process to help an organisation improve environmental performance. It provides a set of tools to identify, measure, assess and communicate environmental performance using key performance indicators (KPIs), based on reliable and verifiable information.
This standard is an excellent companion to ISO 14001:2015, which requires organisations to demonstrate an improvement in environmental performance. These standards provide powerful tools for organisations, giving them a means to track their progress towards a more circular and sustainable economy.

How does Environmental Performance Evaluation work?

Environmental Performance Evaluation (EPE) provides a robust and repeatable process to compare past and present environmental performance using KPIs. It helps organizations determine trends, evaluate risk and identify its strategic objectives and targets. EPE can also be used to report and communicate information on the organization’s environmental performance to demonstrate its commitment to improvement.

BS EN ISO 14031 sets out three types of indicators:

  • Environmental condition indicators (ECI), for presenting achievements in context
  • Operational performance indicators (OPI), used to demonstrate change in resource use
  • Management performance indicators (MPI), for showing cost savings and improvements in training

What are the benefits of BS EN ISO 14031?

  • Improved identification and understanding of environmental aspects and impacts
  • The use of indicators can help identify areas that have the potential to become more circular and sustainable, e.g. the proportion of recycled and renewable materials in a product or process
  • The use of indicators can help identify processes to support the more efficient use of resources
  • Stronger environmental performance gives greater assurance to stakeholders and can increase both credibility and reputation
  • Supports implementation of an environmental management system because environmental performance evaluation can help identify significant risks, set objectives and targets, and track performance
  • Recognition of good performance management can help an organisation with compliance with legislation, potentially reducing annual charges for permits and consents
  • Organisations can harmonise and streamline significant performance indicators in sectors, assisting benchmarking

For more information on the benefits for using ISO 14031, including a practitioner's perspective from Barclays Bank, and the regulator's perspective from the Environment Agency:


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