This European Standard was approved by CEN on 14 September 2015
Achieving a balance between the environment, society and the economy is considered essential to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Sustainable development as a goal is achieved by balancing the three pillars of sustainability.
Societal expectations for sustainable development, transparency and accountability have evolved with increasingly stringent legislation, growing pressures on the environment from pollution, inefficient use of resources, improper waste management, climate change, degradation of ecosystems and loss of biodiversity.
This has led organizations to adopt a systematic approach to environmental management by implementing environmental management systems with the aim of contributing to the environmental pillar of sustainability.
0.2 Aim of an environmental management system
The purpose of this International Standard is to provide organizations with a framework to protect the environment and respond to changing environmental conditions in balance with socio-economic needs. It specifies requirements that enable an organization to achieve the intended outcomes it sets for its environmental management system
A systematic approach to environmental management can provide top management with information to build success over the long term and create options for contributing to sustainable development by:
This International Standard, like other International Standards, is not intended to increase or change an organization’s legal requirements.
0.3 Success factors
The success of an environmental management system depends on commitment from all levels and functions of the organization, led by top management. Organizations can leverage opportunities to prevent or mitigate adverse environmental impacts and enhance beneficial environmental impacts, particularly those with strategic and competitive implications. Top management can effectively address its risks and opportunities by integrating environmental management into the organization’s business processes, strategic direction and decision making, aligning them with other business priorities, and incorporating environmental governance into its overall management system. Demonstration of successful implementation of this International Standard can be used to assure interested parties that an effective environmental management system is in place.
Adoption of this International Standard, however, will not in itself guarantee optimal environmental outcomes. Application of this International Standard can differ from one organization to another due to the context of the organization. Two organizations can carry out similar activities but can have different compliance obligations, commitments in their environmental policy, environmental technologies and environmental performance goals, yet both can conform to the requirements of this International Standard.
The level of detail and complexity of the environmental management system will vary depending on the context of the organization, the scope of its environmental management system, its compliance obligations, and the nature of its activities, products and services, including its environmental aspects and associated environmental impacts
0.4 Plan-Do-Check-Act model
The basis for the approach underlying an environmental management system is founded on the concept of Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA). The PDCA model provides an iterative process used by organizations to achieve continual improvement. It can be applied to an environmental management system and to each of its individual elements. It can be briefly described as follows.
Figure 1 shows how the framework introduced in this International Standard could be integrated into a PDCA model, which can help new and existing users to understand the importance of a systems approach.
Figure 1 – Relationship between PDCA and the framework in this International Standard:
0.5 Contents of this International Standard
This International Standard conforms to ISO’s requirements for management system standards. These requirements include a high level structure, identical core text, and common terms with core definitions, designed to benefit users implementing multiple ISO management system standards.
This International Standard does not include requirement s specific to other management systems, such as those for quality, occupational health and safety, energy or financial management. However, this International Standard enables an organization to use a common approach and risk-based thinking to integrate its environmental management system with the requirements of other management systems
This International Standard contains the requirements used to assess conformity. An organization that wishes to demonstrate conformity with this International Standard can do so by:
Annex A provides explanatory information to prevent misinterpretation of the requirements of this International Standard. Annex B shows broad technical correspondence between the previous edition of this International Standard and this edition. Implementation guidance on environmental management systems is included in ISO 14004
In this International Standard, the following verbal forms are used:
Information marked as “NOTE” is intended to assist the understanding or use of the document. “Notes to entry” used in Clause 3 provide additional information that supplements the terminological data and can contain provisions relating to the use of a term.
The terms and definitions in Clause 3 are arranged in conceptual order, with an alphabetical index provided at the end of the document.
Guidance on the use of this International Standard
The explanatory information given in this annex is intended to prevent mis-interpretation of the requirements contained in this International Standard. While this information addresses and is consistent with these requirements, it is not intended to add to, subtract from, or in any way modify them.
The requirements in this International Standard need to be viewed from a systems or holistic perspective.
The user should not read a particular sentence or clause of this International Standard in isolation from other clauses. There is an interrelationship between the requirements in some clauses and the requirements in other clauses. For example, the organization needs to understand the relationship between the commitments in its environmental policy and the requirements that are specified in other clauses.
Management of change is an important part of maintaining the environmental management system that ensures the organization can achieve the intended outcomes of its environmental management system on an ongoing basis. Management of change is addressed in various requirements of this International Standard, including:
As part of managing change, the organization should address planned and unplanned changes to ensure that the unintended consequences of these changes do not have a negative effect on the intended outcomes of the environmental management system. Examples of change include;
A.2 Clarification of structure and terminology
The clause structure and some of the terminology of this International Standard have been changed to improve alignment with other management systems standards. There is, however, no requirement in this International Standard for its clause structure or terminology to be applied to an organization’s environmental management system documentation. There is no requirement to replace the terms used by an organization with the terms used in this International Standard. Organizations can choose to use terms that suit their business, e.g. “records”, “documentation”, or “protocols”, rather than “documented information”.
A.3 Clarification of concepts
In addition to the terms and definitions given in Clause 3, clarification of selected concepts is provided below to prevent misunderstanding.
This International Standard uses the term “interested party”; the term “stakeholder” is a synonym as it represents the same concept.
This International Standard uses some new terminology. A brief explanation is given below to aid both new users and those who have used previous editions of this International Standard.
The intent of this new phrase does not differ from that of the previous edition.
2. Normative reference
3. Terms and definitions
3.1 Terms related to organization and leadership
3.2 Terms related to planning
3.3 Terms related to support and operation
3.4 Terms related to performance evaluation and
4. Context of the organization
4.1 Understanding the organization and its context
4.2 Understanding the needs and expectations of
4.3 Determining the scope of the environmental
4.4 Environmental management system
5.1 Leadership and commitment
5.2 Environmental policy
5.3 Organization roles, responsibilities and authorities
6.1 Actions to address risk and opportunities
6.1.2 Environmental aspects
6.1.3 Compliance obligations
6.1.4 Planning action
6.2 Environmental objectives and planning to achieve
6.2.1 Environmental objectives
6.2.2 Planning actions to achieve environmental
7.4.2 Internal communication
7.4.3 External communication
7.5 Documented information
7.5.2 Creating and updating
7.5.3 Control of documented information
8.1 Operational planning and control
8.2 Emergency preparedness and response
9. Performance evaluation
9.1 Monitoring, measurement, analysis and evaluation
9.1.2 Evaluation of compliance
9.2 Internal audit
9.2.2 Internal audit programme
9.3 Management review
10.2 Nonconformity and corrective action
10.3 Continual improvement
Annex A, Guidance on the use of this International Standard
Annex B, Correspondence between ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 14001:2004