ISO 14005:2019

The second edition of ISO 14005, “Environmental management systems – Guidelines for a flexible approach to phased implementation” has been released.

The document gives guidelines for a phased approach to establish, implement, maintain, and improve an environmental management system (EMS) that organizations, including small and medium-sized enterprises, can adopt to enhance their environmental performance.

The phased approach provides flexibility for organizations to develop their EMS at their own pace, over a number of phases, according to their own circumstances. Each phase consists of six consecutive stages. The number of phases is flexible. This allows organizations to develop the scope, i.e., the activities, products, and services included, and maturity of their EMS, in line with their objectives and available resources.

The phased approach could, for example, start with a project focusing on a specific environmental aspect, such as the use of energy or natural resources. It could also be used to address the needs of a certain interested party, such as a customer requirement, or to manage a specific issue, such as demonstrating legal compliance. The EMS can be expanded over time by progressing through more phases, e.g., to cover more environmental aspects, to systematically address all relevant needs and expectations of interested parties, or to improve environmental performance beyond legal compliance.

The system’s maturity at the end of each phase can be characterized using the five-level maturity matrix provided in Annex A. The matrix is a useful tool to track the achievements of an organization’s environmental objectives and associated benefits and to ensure the efficient use of financial and human resources.

The structure of the maturity matrix incorporates rows that correspond to the different EMS elements, as defined in the clauses of ISO 14001. The columns represent five maturity levels. Each element can be developed incrementally from maturity level 1 through to full maturity in level 5, at which point the element will satisfy the requirements of the respective clause in ISO 14001.

The document is applicable to any organization regardless of their current environmental performance, the nature of the activities undertaken, or the locations at which they occur. The 34-page ISO 14005:2019 standard can be ordered at this ISO web page for about $138.