ISO14001 has changed - is your business ready to meet the new requirements?

Your business may have already received ISO14001 environmental accreditation, but did you know that a new version came into force at the end of 2015? Is your business prepared and ready to meet the new requirements?

Over 300,000 businesses worldwide are certified to ISO14001, the international standard for Environmental Management Systems (EMS). However, last year the standard was updated to align with ISO’s new universal management system structure.

Businesses have until 2018 to update their system to the new standard, or those businesses looking to achieve ISO14001 for the first time can go straight to ISO14001:2015 certification.

“Although businesses have two more years in which to update their system, Investors in the Environment Consultancy is recommending that businesses take action sooner rather than later,” explains the organisation’s Environmental Consultant Katie Greenhalgh. “This is to avoid a last-minute rush and potential lack of auditor availability, which could ultimately cause some businesses to fall out of compliance.”

So what has changed in the standard? Using the new structure should mean that it is easier for businesses to integrate their EMS with other standards such as health and safety. However, there are some major changes and additions:

- Context: The new standard calls for businesses to no longer just look at their business and its impacts in isolation, but instead analyse the wider context and life cycle impacts of their products and services. The business must now consider not only the environmental impacts that they can control, but those that they can influence and that may impact upon them.
- Leadership: The business must show that environmental issues are considered within the organisation’s strategic direction and that top management is leading this and ensuring that it is integrated throughout the business. So, prepare your senior management team to be audited and questioned on the businesses strategy, environmental issues and EMS!
- Legal and other requirements: Businesses should make sure that they are considering legal obligations, voluntary commitments and now contractual requirements to which they are signed up to in the EMS.
- Risk Assessment: Businesses will have to use risk assessments to identify and categorise both environmental risks and importantly opportunities that relate to the businesses context, interested parties, environmental aspects and compliance obligations.

If you need any assistance with the new standard, updating existing systems or getting certified for the first time, Investors in the Environment Consultancy is here to help. Get in touch to discuss your needs by calling 01733 882549 or by visiting consultancy@iie.uk.com.