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What is ISO 14001?

13th October 2014 Keith Flight

ISO 14001 is a management system standard designed to help businesses to assess and control their environmental impact. ISO 14001 provides businesses the opportunity to align themselves with the global consensus on climate change in an efficient way. ISO 14001 allows businesses to grow sustainably and maintain a good reputation. The standard includes compliance with environmental legislation into its requirements, allowing businesses to introduce steps into standards of practice early to reduce problems later down the line.

How do you get certification?

To get ISO 14001 certification a business needs to implement a management system. Within this the business needs to have an environmental policy which includes commitments to comply with legislation and reduce environmental impact. Each business interacts with the environment differently and must comply with different legislation. To find out what legislation your business should be complying, take a look at the BSI Self Assessment Questionnaire.

Each business must set objectives for improvement based on major environmental issues identified. These must be monitored and measured to see which areas are improving and which need more work.

Emergency situations must also be considered and plans must be implemented to deal with them.

Each of these processes must be audited with top management reviewing progress regularly.

A checklist is a good way to ensure each clause of the standard is covered.

Once the business is ready a UKAS accredited certification body must be engaged. These include LRQA, BSI and NQA. These companies will complete a two stage audit. The first stage checks all elements of the standard are covered and the second looks for evidence of implementation and improvement.

If successful, ISO 14001 certification is valid for three years, with the certification body returning periodically to check continued compliance.

What does ISO 14001 have in common with ISO 9001

ISO 14001 has similarities to ISO 9001 in its implementation. Both standards require documents and records to be controlled and organised, an internal audit and management review. Issues (non-conformances) are to be managed using root cause analysis, corrective and preventive action. The standards are set to become more closely aligned by the end of 2015.



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