Environmental Management Systems guidance document revised

2 March 2016

BSI, the business standards company has revised ISO 14004 – Environmental Management Systems. Originally published in 1996 to provide guidance on creating an Environmental Management System (EMS), it also supports ISO 14001 the EMS high level requirements standard. ISO 14004 has had minor updates since first publication and has been revised to bring the standard up-to-date with changing environmental needs and has been developed to reflect the changes in ISO 14001:2015, which has also undergone its first major revision. 

Organizations today are under constant pressure to improve environmental performance and compliance to regulation, meet climate challenges and reduce costs. To do this, they need a systematic approach and to continuously improve their EMS. By doing so they can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and improve efficiency.

The revision incorporates changes made to ISO 14001 including more detailed explanation of key concepts such as Context, Leadership, Risks and Opportunities and Life Cycle Thinking. Because ISO 14004 provides detailed guidance, it can provide particular support to those who  might have less resources or feel uncertain about how to begin to create an EMS. 

ISO 14004 helps organizations of all sectors and sizes to establish, implement and boost their environmental performance and coordinate this with smoother management operations. It is intended to help organizations manage their environmental responsibilities in a systematic manner, thereby contributing to sustainability. 

David Fatscher Head of Sustainability at BSI said: "ISO 14004 is dedicated to sustainable development and is compatible with diverse cultural, social and organizational frameworks and systems of management. The beauty of it is that it can help those organizations yet to implement an EMS, as well as those that already have one in place. It's the best way for organizations to cope with future environmental challenges in an effective manner. It also helps them to broaden their understanding of environmental impacts by taking a view of the entire lifecycle and not just one element of sustainable development.”

What ISO 14004 does:

  • Provides details on creating an EMS that can help organizations with their decision making
  • Includes how to create an environmental policy, identify risks and opportunities and consider alignment with organisational processes and objectives
  • It includes practical guidelines and help boxes to facilitate the successful implementation and operation of an EMS, from identifying aspects and performance testing to conducting management reviews
  • It can stand alone or be used with BS EN ISO 14001 as a sister guidance document

The standard is relevant to energy, facilities, operational, environmental and sustainability managers or CEOs or MDs of small organizations who are interested in creating an effective and recognised environmental management system for their organization. Consultants and certification bodies advising and certifying to ISO 14001 will also find it useful.

BSI will be hosting a webinar on ISO 14004 on 7 April 2016 that outlines the useful features for those interesting in creating an EMS and how it can help users of ISO 14001:2015 better understand the requirements of this standard. Click here for more information:https://bsigroup.webex.com/bsigroup/onstage/g.php?MTID=efd066b4aa3fafde5cdc65a67112916c3

For more information on using ISO 14001:2015 to create an EMS go to: https://www.bsigroup.com/en-GB/iso-14001-environmental-management/