How to set measurable objectives for ISO14001:2015 | EEF

How to set measurable objectives for ISO14001:2015

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Companies that achieve ISO14001:2015 certification have identified a particular business case for their EMS. However, in a gap analysis in 2015, EEF found that 47% of those surveyed don’t have measurable medium and long term objectives for their ISO14001:2015 programme.


To fully realise the benefits of transitioning to ISO14001:2015 now, companies (and in particular HSE managers) should set measurable objectives. Here are a few ideas for goal setting and assessing your environmental initiatives:

Reduce waste

Before transitioning to ISO14001:2015, it’s worth conducting an audit of not only your sites’ waste and material and energy use, but those in your supply chain. This benchmark will not only helps you measure the results of 14001, but also identifies opportunities for improvement immediately.

This audit, either conducted by a skilled HSE team or in consultation with a resource efficiency consultant, should include measurable benchmarks and goals for

  • Waste and water mapping to identify inputs and outputs

  • Calculate the true cost of your waste

  • Identify the root causes of resource waste and energy inefficiency

  • A cost-benefit analysis to prioritise waste and energy reduction options

Impress stakeholders and employees

We know that the perception of a company is a key concern for shareholders, and that a company’s commitment to social and environmental responsibility is top of mind for many employees. But how do you measure 14001’s impact on these qualitative issues?

Here are a few ways to quantify these intangibles:

  • Have you conducted a survey of employees and stakeholders about their environmental priorities and their perception of your internal initiatives?

  • How will you use 14001 to engage managers and employees across the business in your environmental strategies?

  • How will you communicate ISO14001:2015 initiatives and benefits internally and externally?

  • How will you measure the increased awareness of your environmental initiatives (e.g., media coverage, a pre- and post-communication survey of employees to test their understanding)

  • How will your annual or shareholder reports be improved and expanded thanks to achieving ISO14001:2015?

Boost your bids

And it’s not just your stakeholders and staff who are interested in the environment. Your clients are tracking the environmental risks and benefits of their supply chain for their own annual reports.  Thus, your clients (particularly those aiming for 14001 certification themselves) will increasingly require companies they work with to demonstrate the robustness of their environmental programs.

Over a third of global CEOS say sustainability is one of their top three priorities.

In assessing the value of achieving ISO14001:2015, here are a few benchmarks and preparation that will help:

  • In current bids, do we know how many offer points for demonstrating environmental performance?

  • Do we know what score we achieve from our clients for environmental performance?

  • Would achieving ISO14001:2015 help us more clearly and objectively articulate our environmental performance (e.g., waste, energy efficiency, risks) in our proposals? How many proposals would we include this improved description affect or be included in?

  • How many of our clients will be transitioning to ISO14001:2015?


While benchmarking and goal setting can take time and the input of a range of staff and stakeholders, truly measuring the value of your EMS requires this diligence.


This person has now left EEF. Please contact us on 0808 168 1874 or email us at if you have any questions.

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