What Has Changed in ISO 14001:2004

In a January-February 2005 article in ISO Management Systems, Oswald Dodds (who chairs ISO/TC 207) summarized the main changes in ISO 14001:2004 compared to the 1996 version as:

  • An explanation of “Plan, Do, Check, Act” has been added to figure 1 (the EMS improvement spiral) closely modeled on that contained in ISO 9001:2000
  • Six new definitions have been added and several have been changed (to enhance compatibility and improve clarity)
  • There is now an explicit requirement to define the scope of the EMS and to then include all activities, products, and services that are within the scope
  • The requirements for Legal and Other Requirements have been clarified
  • It is now clearer that significant Environmental Aspects are to be taken into account in developing, implementing, and maintaining the EMS
  • The reason for identifying and having access to legal and other requirements is now clearly stated (to determine how they apply to the environmental aspects)
  • The sub-clause on Programs has been absorbed into that dealing with Objectives and Targets and the text modified to its intent and purpose
  • The old structure and responsibility requirements have been changed to improve compatibility with ISO 9001:2000
  • The old Training, Awareness, and Competence clause has been reworked to improve understanding of its intent
  • The Communications clause has been revised
  • Documentation and Control of Documents requirements have been simplified
  • The standard now only requires one documented procedure (in the sub-clause dealing with operational control)
  • Evaluation of Compliance has been split into two elements and the text has been amended to improve the clarity of its intent and purpose
  • The Nonconformity, Corrective Action, and Preventive Action sub-clause has been revised
  • The Internal Audit (was EMS audit) clause has been revised with new text added on objectivity and impartiality
  • The Management Review clause has been extensively changed to clarify its intent and to improve compatibility
  • Annex A (the guidance annex) has been extensively revised
  • Annex B has been updated to reflect the new version of ISO 14001 and ISO 9001:2000

To learn more about the ISO Management System magazine, go to (http://www.iso.org/iso/en/iso9000-14000/ims.html).