ISO 14001 is the international standard that specifies requirements for an effective environmental management system (EMS). It provides a framework that an organization can follow, rather than establishing environmental performance requirements. There are three fundamental commitments required in an environmental policy that meets the requirements of ISO 14001. These include:
- Prevention of pollution
- Compliance with legislation
- Continual improvement of the EMS
ISO 14001 sets out the criteria for an environmental management system. It does not state requirements for environmental performance, but maps out a framework that a company or organization can follow to set up an effective environmental management system. It can be used by any organization regardless of its activity or sector. Using ISO 14001:2015 can provide assurance to company management and employees as well as external stakeholders that environmental impact is being measured and improved.
These commitments help drive the improvements in overall environmental performance.
ISO 14001:2015 now requires:
- Environmental management to be more prominent within the organization’s strategic direction
- A greater commitment from leadership
- The implementation of proactive initiatives to protect the environment from harm and degradation, such as sustainable resource use and climate change mitigation
- A focus on life-cycle thinking to ensure consideration of environmental aspects from development to end-of-life
- The addition of a stakeholder-focused communication strategy.