The 2015 ISO 14001 revision. Take it from the top

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The 2015 revision to the ISO 14001 standards were devised to ensure that environmental management is aligned with your business plans and strategies. Integrating the new standard requires leadership and commitment from top management. Greg Roberts takes a look at how that’s achieved.

As one of our Environmental consultants, Greg helps businesses manage compliance, improve their environmental performance and maximise the commercial opportunities presented by improving their environmental performance. Greg has extensive experience in environmental management, both in company and as an external consultant, he is also the UK Expert for ISO 14004 and represents the whole of the UK in the global committee for the revision of the environmental management standards.

The current ISO14001 standards were implemented in 2004 so considering how far environmental management has come, they were due an update.  One of the central changes however, isn’t concerned with environmental process, but business process.  The new standard recognises that any company’s Environmental Management System implementation has to come from the top.  This means that businesses have to ensure that their EMS and their business strategies are aligned.

Environmental sense is good business sense.

One of the things that this alignment has been designed to address is the idea that an EMS is somehow a challenge to the businesses financial objectives.  Businesses should no longer be able to say that good environmental practice is too costly or lacking in value.  ISO 14001 implementation has many financial benefits, from the cost savings born by better waste, recycling and material consumption through to the competitive advantages when tendering for new projects.  By bringing the EMS in line with the business strategy, these benefits become part of an organisations plans, expectations and results.

Good for today and the future

Improvements and upgrades to environmental practices and processes come thick and fast.  ISO 14001 has, in the past, failed to keep pace with developments in practice but the link to management and goals changes that.  The link between management and implementation means that this is less likely to be the case.  As the business moves and changes, processes can be brought in and evolve. 

Integration throughout

The move towards integration has been continued and the new structure is now applicable to all ISO management systems.  This will be a big help to anyone who is running multiple ISO programmes and needs to keep on top of the day-to-day management.  Better communication and awareness of the standards is encouraged and along with a reduction in the number of prescriptive requirements, ISO should be far simpler to manage for all.

Be prepared

Making the transition to the 2015 standard requires some early preparation.  Through a one day Transitioning ISO14001:2015 training course, EEF can equip you with all of the skills and information that you will need.  Knowing the best ways to prepare your business for the changes that are planned and get the necessary buy-in from the business leadership are both central topics.  Additionally, delegates will learn how to get cross functional input in to the EMS and deliver meaningful results across the business.  More than anything, by attending this course, delegates will learn how to make the EMS more than just a certificate.

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