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ISO standards are reviewed and revised on a regular cycle, typically every 5-10 years, and 2015 sees ISO 14001:2004 reaching the end of that review procedure. A draft international standard (DIS) was published, and after extensive review the final draft international standard (FDIS) was published in July. The ISO 14001:2015 standard was published in September 2015.

ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems Revision

ISO 14001 Environmental management systems, one of ISO’s most extensively used standards, has recently been revised.

Why was ISO 14001 revised?

All ISO standards are reviewed every five years to launch if a revision is needed in order to keep it present and relevant for the market. ISO 14001:2015 is designed to respond to newest trends and make sure it is compatible with other management system standards.
What is the main modifying to the standard?

The key changes relate to:

Increased reputation of environmental management within the organization's strategic planning procedures
Greater focus on management
Addition of proactive initiatives to protect the environment from harm and degradation, such as sustainable resource make use of and climate change mitigation
Humanizing environmental performance added
Lifecycle thinking when considering environmental aspects
Addition of a communications strategy
In addition, the revised standard follows a common structure, with the same terms and definitions as a number of other management system standards such as ISO 9001. This create them easier, cheaper and faster for those companies who use more than one, not to mention helping out the auditors.

Who was responsible for the revision?

The revision was conducted by an ISO technical committee called ISO/TC 207/SC 1, which is comprised of specialist selected by their National Standards Bodies and liaison organizations.

I am certified to ISO 14001:2004. What does this mean for me?

Organizations are granted a three-year transition period after the review has been published to migrate their environmental management system to the new edition of the standard. After this transition period, companies that opt for third party certification will have to look for certification to the new version of the standard. The former version, ISO 14001:2004, and any certification to it, will be out of date.

Do I have to be certified to the new standard?

No, certification is not essential.

Key Improvements to ISO 14001:2015

Utilizing ISO 14001:2015 as the environmental pillar of sustainability
Life-cycle thinking, considering each stage of a product or service, from development to end of life
An increased alignment with strategic direction
Emphasis on environmental performance and measurement
Greater protection for the environment, with a focus on proactive initiatives
A greater commitment from leadership
More effective internal and external communication, driven through a communications strategy