ISO 14001 Revision

The ISO 14001 environmental standard has begun the process for its second revision. Since published in 1996, and revised in 2004, it has been adopted by more than 250,000 certified users in 155 countries.

ISO/TC 207, the technical committee for ISO 14001, has asked its Working Group 5 that is responsible for the revision process to consider two significant pieces of work:

1. The High Level Structure for Management System Standards (MSS)

The aim of this work is to standardize the structure and core requirements of MSS to facilitate the integration of multiple MSS into an organization’s management system. Although new standards have been developed using this structure, the revision of ISO 14001 will be the first in which an existing MSS has been recast into the standardized format and text.

2. The Final Report of the Future Challenges for EMS Study Group

This report evaluated the potential implications of evolving stakeholder expectations and new developments in the field of environmental management systems. Eleven themes were analyzed, including sustainable development, environmental performance improvement, legal compliance, strategic business management, conformity assessment, and national and international policy agendas.

The study group also analyzed the obstacles and opportunities to increase the use of ISO 14001 in small organizations, to control environmental impact in the value/supply chain, to engage stakeholders, and to communicate externally.

In addition to these two significant actions, the revision will retain and improve the basic principles and existing requirements of ISO 14001:2004. To see the Top 25 Recommendations being considered for the new ISO 14001 revision, go to the April 2012 article on pages 32-33 in the ISO Focus+ magazine.