ISO 14001 Environmental Management System ‘proposed updates’

14 Jun, 2013

Proposed changes to ISO 14001:2004 – Seminar held by Corporate Risk Systems

Jennifer Appleton, Operations Director and Catherine Price, Client Relationship Office Manager attended a seminar on Thursday 30th May 2013 about the ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Management System ‘proposed’ updates to the ISO 14001 Standard due to be released in 2015.

Below we have summarised the main changes that are going to take place. The changes are still at draft stage so they can be amended before the standard is published. At present the new look standard is suggesting:

  • A new high level structure, which although similar to the Plan, Do, Check, and Act model requires a far more in-depth structure to incorporate leadership as being the key motivator of the management standard along with the needs and expectation of interested parties i.e. customers, suppliers.
  • The reinforced integration of environmental management into strategic planning of an organisation, linking into the evaluation of business risk and opportunities.
  • The standard requires that the management system is at the heart of an organisation and when discussing and implementing strategy – how will our next steps as an organisation have an effect on the environment? For example; through the suppliers that we use, are they ISO 14001 registered?
ISO 14001_new high level (2)

ISO 14001 Environmental Management System – Proposed New High Structure


Lastly creating a Life Cycle and Value Chain Planning and Control, this is not too dissimilar as to what has been mentioned above.The new updates to the standard want to make companies fully aware of not just what they are doing as an organisation but what is happening around them.

 What is a value chain?

A value chain rather than a supply chain is looking at any parties that gain value from a company’s activities. This is sometimes described as upstream and downstream activities i.e:

Upstream: Suppliers, trainers, etc. defined as the supply chain à Our Organisation our processes à Downstream Customers, etc. their processes do they recycle?

It is looking at where you are sourcing your goods, the organisations processes and how this then can affect your customer and how this can then affect you.

Part of the standard requires that:

  • You monitor these aspects whist creating objectives to be able to measure them, ensuring that you are compliant as an organisation.
  • Conduct internal auditing to ensure that you have the correct information from third parties and that your processes are up to date
  • Outcomes are then discussed at management review meetings.

The above is not too dissimilar from the current version of the standard. Effectively the new version standard is aiming to create a joined up approach by underpinning ALL business objectives with environmental management objectives – therefore any decision made within the business has taken the environmental impacts into consideration. In addition companies will be required to evaluate opportunities that are available to them, not just to tackle the immediate risks / aspects and impacts.

It is believed that all future ISO management standards will operate to a similar high level structure, to allow the management systems to be fully integrated into the business operations, and not to sit separately.

Transition Period

Please remember that there is always a transition period allowed between the introduction of a new standard and the time a company has to become compliant. As we did with all of our ISO 9001 customers who transferred from the 2000 version to the 2008 version, we will be on hand to guide you through the transition and where possible will utilise one your yearly visits to undertake consultancy on the changes and ensure that the company is prepared. We will aim to keep the costs to a minimum at all times.

Please continue to keep up to date with the proposed changes by following our website blog / the company on twitter.

*(Picture Source –

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