ISO 14001 changes published, delivering "step-change in sustainable business"

The much-anticipated changes to the ISO 14001 international standard for environmental management systems are officially published today (15 September).

ISO 14001 helps businesses remain commercially successful without overlooking environmental responsibilities

ISO 14001 helps businesses remain commercially successful without overlooking environmental responsibilities

The standard, which has already helped more than 300,000 organisations across the world improve their environmental performance, is available now from the British Standards Institute (BSI), following the revision work of industry experts from 70 countries.

--- edie explains: ISO 14001 ---

BSI head of market development for sustainability David Fatscher said: “It can be very easy for organisations to forget what is crucial to a successful environmental management agenda.

“ISO 14001 can help businesses put the most pressing issues to the top of the list, enabling them to meet environmental requirements, improve efficiency and environmental performance. It is designed to help organizations remain commercially successful without compromising their environmental responsibilities.”

The ISO 14001 standard outlines how to put an effective environmental management system in place. It is designed to help businesses remain commercially successful without overlooking environmental responsibilities.

With these changes, the revised ISO 14001 standard will become more integrated into core business processes, with an extra focus being placed on leadership and top management and communicational performance.

Key changes to ISO 14001 include: -

  • A high-level structure (HLS) featuring terms, definitions, headings and text common to all management system standards - allowing for easier integration when implementing multiple management systems
  • New opportunities for top management to firmly place environmental management into core business processes and objectives
  • A refocus on the risks the organisation faces - for example, the price volatility of raw materials - as well as the opportunities these risks present
  • New thinking on the context of the organisation, helping them understand their setting and environmental impacts and also the impact that the environment has on them – as a consequence of climate change, for example

The ISO 14001 standard has received widespread recognition and support from business – in a recent survey conducted by IEMA, more than 40% of businesses said the revised standard will bring greater buy in from senior management.

Raising the bar

Around 40% of businesses saved at least £10,000 a year with some businesses saving more than £5m as a result of using ISO 14001, IEMA said. The majority of these savings were delivered through energy efficiency measures (71% of those surveyed) and improved waste management (64% of those surveyed). 

IEMA’s chief policy advisor and UK-appointed expert to the ISO 14001 revision working group Martin Baxter said: "The new standard significantly raises the bar on the expectations it sets for how organisations manage their environmental performance. With over 300,000 companies certified to ISO 14001 globally, this will deliver a step-change in business performance and deliver significant benefits to the environment.

"The standard shifts business focus on the environment from compliance with regulations and direct operations, to placing the environment at the heart of their thinking and strategy." 

Writing exclusively for edie about the ISO 14001 revisions earlier this year, Anya Ledwith - director of environmental & carbon management consultancy ESHCon - said: "By truly embedding the environment into the organisation's operations, strategic thinking, risk management and planning, there are plenty of benefits to be had, especially for early adopters."

A launch event for ISO 14001 is being held by the BSI on 6 October. Read full details of the ISO 14001 revisions in our edie explains article.

Infographic: What's changed?

Infographic: Advisera 14001 Academy 

Luke Nicholls


| environmental management | iso 14001


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