ISO14000 EMS

ISO 14001 environmental management system overview

ISO 14001 Environmental management systems – Requirements with guidance for use is an internationally recognised standard for the development of an effective environmental management system. The ISO 14001 standard was developed in Amsterdam by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1996.

The ISO 14001 environmental management system standard specifies a process for the control and the continuous improvement of an organisation’s environmental performance. The ISO 14001 standard develops a strategic approach to an organisation’s environmental policy, plans and actions. It does not specify environmental performance criteria but simply how to develop an ISO 14001 environmental management system.

There are 17 specific elements of ISO 14001 environmental management system standard and 18 elements when counting the all-encompassing first general element (4.1 General requirements).  They are as follows:

An environmental policy supported by senior management;

  • Identification of environmental aspects and impacts
  • Identification of environmental legal and other requirements
  • Development of objectives and targets, and their programs
  • Defined resources, roles, responsibilities and authorities
  • Development of competence, training and awareness procedures
  • communication process for all stakeholders and interested parties
  • Documentation including records as required by ISO 14001
  • Development of document control procedures
  • Development of operational control procedures
  • Development of emergency preparedness and response procedures
  • Development of monitoring and measuring procedures
  • An evaluation of compliance procedure
  • Non-conformance, corrective and preventative action procedures
  • The development of a records management procedure
  • A program for completing internal ISO 14001 audits and
  • Development of procedures for senior management review.


ISO 14001 environmental management system benefits

By developing an ISO 14001 environmental management system organisations identify environmental risks and manage these risks accordingly. There are many ways that organisations benefit such as:

  • Promoting a positive environmental image with customers, and increasing demand for products and services;
  • Lowering business costs through reduced resource consumption and waste disposal costs;
  • Improving environmental performance such as reducing electricity consumption and purchasing more ‘sustainable’ products;
  • Achieving environmental commitments and environmental policy requirements;
  • Meeting environmental legal requirements such as identifying a permit is required for certain discharges;
  • Retaining environmental knowledge through documenting ISO 14001 environmental management system requirements; and
  • Committing to social responsibilities.


ISO 14001 environmental management systems are the most recognised systems. By choosing ISO 14001 organisations can be easily recognised for their environmental management efforts.

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