ISO 14001:2015 – Time To Get Your Act Together

tracy-millar-sai-globalMany organisations are now preparing for the transition from 14001:2004 to the new ISO 14001:2015 in earnest, as time is running out, as Cheryl Savage, senior consultant at SAI Global explains. Here’s what you should be doing…


iso14001The deadline date for transition is the 14th September 2018, which is the date the ISO 14001:2015 standard was published and it is also when existing ISO 14001:2004 certificates will not be valid. However some organisations existing certificates will expire prior to this date – therefore re-certification may be sooner than this final transition date.

For 14001 there are some key changes that an organisation needs to address including (but not limited to)

  1. Taking a strategic approach in the planning/re-planning and application of your Environmental Management System including review of the scope
  2. Involvement of Top Management (who they are is now defined in the Standard) who will need to demonstrate they are showing Leadership
  3. Expansion of preventing pollution to protecting the environment – a much wider concept
  4. Using Life Cycle thinking when considering your environmental aspects
  5. The application of risk-based thinking through the process approach
  6. An emphasis on environmental performance – i.e. actually demonstrating actual environmental improvement rather than fiddling with paperwork

If you haven’t began to look at the transition yet, you will need to get into gear or you may hit some serious problems. Not least that you not only have to implement these changes, but you need to have them certified too! The later you leave it the more pressure the Certification Bodies will be under to certify the last minute rush and you could easily miss out. This would cause no end of problems as you will not be certified to ISO 14001 which could be a major issue if you need it to keep your customer base or if your operations are under an Environmental Permit.

What happens if you don’t pass first time? Non-conformities generated from the 2015 changes will need to be addressed and closed-out before the deadline too! Remember demonstrating your system is now conforming requires evidence and that can take time to show things are now working as they should.

Actions should you should be taking now are:

  1. Identifying gaps in your existing system and developing an Action or Implementation Plan to fill them.
  2. Engage those who need to be knowledgeable on the ISO 14001 changes and system, and who now may have to be involved – Ensure your Company Directors/Senior Leadership Team are made aware of/or trained in what they are expected to be involved in. You can’t just fob the Certification Bodies off any more.
  3. Update your EMS to meet the new standard and have enough evidence to show that it is working properly – Certification Bodies now have to verify your system is effective.
  4. The last point perhaps should be the first point – and I am sure your existing Certification Body has been in touch to discuss when they are intending to audit you for the upgrade. If not get in touch now and ask them what their timeframe for getting you through.


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