IAF Transition Guidance for ISO 14001:2004

The International Accreditation Forum (IAF), in consultation with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), have set the expiration date for all 60,000 certificates to ISO 14001:1996 at May 15, 2006. After this date, the only valid accredited certificates for environmental management systems will be those issued against the requirements of the new ISO 14001:2004 edition of the standard.

In setting this transition period of 18 months from the publication date of the new ISO 14001 edition, IAF and ISO took into account:

  • six months for national standards bodies to adopt the new ISO 14001 edition and prepare translated versions in their national language(s); and
  • twelve more months to give time for certification bodies to assess conformity with the requirements of the revised standard during the regular surveillance cycle.

Organizations currently holding certificates to the ISO 14001:1996 standard should review the new edition of the 14001 standard and make any necessary adjustments to ensure their certificates are renewed before the expiration date.

IAF Chairman, Dr. Thomas Facklam, notes “this 18 month transition period is necessary to ensure the timely response from the accredited certification market for ISO 14001 to assess the requirements in the new standard, and to make adjustments as necessary to existing environmental management system procedures within companies”.

The ISO Secretary General states “as an important contribution to the environment, ISO supports the establishment of a 18 month transition period, and encourages the users of ISO 14001 to conform to the requirements of the new standard.” He notes that the changes in the new standard are not substantial, but have been necessary to ensure greater alignment between ISO 14001 and the requirements now part of ISO 9001:2000.

The IAF Transition Plan for Accredited EMS Certification from ISO 14001:1996 to ISO 14001:2004, has been published as IAF GD 4:2004 and is available free from the Publications page (Guidance Documents) on the IAF web site at <http://www.iaf.nu>.