First time with ISO 14001? 4 changes your business may have to make

ISO 14001 Environmental management systems has undergone revisions. The new 2015 updates are now in play and that means unless a business or organisation has updated, they will have lost the accreditation.

For those coming new to the standard, these changes will be part of the current accreditation process and for some businesses that will mean making some changes.

What four changes could you expect with ISO 14001? You may already be operating in a way that is nearly at standard.

1. Making MORE of environmental management throughout your organisation

Environmental management was, in its infancy, pigeon-holed into its own particular area. It was seen as the premise for certain areas of business but not all. It was also seen as the responsibility of people on-the-ground with little, if any, leadership from management.

With ISO14001 accreditation that has to change. Within this standard is a recognition that environmental management applies to all departments, all process, and all levels of seniority.

2. MORE leadership on the issue

This leads nicely to this second point which for some companies is a big change – environmental management must be a point of leadership that is high on the agenda.

Just like health and safety is a topic considered no matter what the project, how big or how small, environmental management needs to line up alongside it.

Just like risk assessments and decisions made at senior levels, environmental management must be afforded the respect of being a topic more than worthy of enhanced leadership.

3. MORE communication relating to environmental management and systems

Up until fairly recently, environmental systems was a tick box exercise. A recycling bin for plastics in the canteen, advertising themselves as a ‘paperless company’ and installing a few energy efficient light bulbs was ‘enough’ to satisfy environmental ‘policies’.

Environmental policy is about more than this in the modern age. Small steps, taken consistently that reduce our impact on the natural environment is the key to success.

But what this means for businesses and organisations just like yours, is increased lines of communication in relation to environmental policies, actions and changes.

How much do you currently converse / discuss your environmental impact now? How much do you talk about reductions and changes in the future?

4. Environmental performances

There is an increased emphasis on prevention within the updated ISO14001 which for many companies perhaps indicates the biggest change they have had to make.

As well as shifting their focus on prevention in terms or environmental strategy and practice, a business displaying the ISO 14001:2015 accreditation tag will also be at the top of their game for monitoring their environmental performance.

Just like other strategies, objectives are there to guide you to reach your aims, but when it comes to environmental policies, in the past they have been more about promising to be kind to the environment, taking steps to prevent damage and so on.

Now, your organisation will have to set environmental targets and monitor performance, publishing how well you are meeting or exceeding these targets.

And when targets are not reached, understand the reasons why and make the necessary changes.

Like all ISO’s, this standard has a positive impact on any business and, in this case, the environment too.

How can we help you?

If you are in need of assistance with any aspect of ISO or GDPR compliance, here at Synergos we’d be delighted to help. Whether you have questions about the path to compliance or are looking for advice and support to maintain compliance, call 01484 666160 or Email and we’ll be happy to talk it over with you.


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Steve Kilburn
Steve Kilburn
I initially trained as an industrial chemist working in a variety of manufacturing environments eventually moving into quality management which grew to encompass environmental and occupational health and safety management systems. I hold a Masters Degree in Health and Safety law and Environmental Law and a Post Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Waste Management and I am a Graduate Level Member of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). In my spare time I enjoy reading, my favourite author is Stephen King, and listening to music, generally from the late 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
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