The latest ISO14001 and ISO14004 (sister guidance document) Technical Committee meetings revising the two standards finished yesterday in Padova, Italy. Although the standard is taking shape there are still decisions to be made. One of the biggest and most contentious issues is whether risk in addition to environmental aspects should be included. Whilst the latter considers the impact of the organization on the environment the former relates to the impact of a changing environment on the organization. A high level risk evaluation would provide a value adding exercise for business by ensuring that climate change, resource scarcity and increasing environmental legislation and taxation are managed. It would also allow organizations to take advantage of opportunities such as low carbon products and the circular economy for example.
A very topical discussion for the UK was emergency preparedness. The current thinking is this should be called environmental emergency situations as this will also encompass environmental conditions that can have an impact on the organization, the obvious one being flood!
Overall there is a focus to try and evolve ISO14001 so that it can play a greater role in business strategy.
It was not possible to get through the 1000+ comments that were received relating to the current Committee Draft of ISO14001 and as result no draft document will be issued. The next meeting will be in Panama in May 2014 with the publication date of the standard still set for mid-2015.
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