5 Tips to Maintain Your Environment Management System after ISO 14001:2015 Certification

Once the auditor leaves and your ISO 14001:2015 certification is being processed, it may happen that you are in middle of all the work you have completed for compliance and audit that you may be unsure about what to do to maintain your EMS from that stage. So, here are some tips exist to help you maintain your Environment Management System effectively after ISO 14001:2015 certification.

Repair any mistakes
Review any recommendations, minor non-conformances, or even auditor comments from the ISO 14001 audit itself. Obviously, non-conformances need to be tackled within a pre-determined period, but in the case of any other comments, bring together the team that involved in the audit and collect all the information that’s come from contact with the auditor.

Repeat your winning formula
Remember what you did to get to where you are – and repeat it. If the standard has not changed, exactly the same principles apply and you must perform the same disciplines of the pre-audit period to ensure that it remains compatible.

Focus on leadership and communication
Continue to focus on leadership and communication. Many companies lose some focus after the registration audit for ISO 14001:2015 Certification is over, so ensure this does not happen – it can be difficult to get this focus back amongst your employees.

Use an EMS diary to remind yourself
Create an EMS diary. This makes it easy to specify when critical actions such as ISO 14001 internal audit, customer feedback, review of corrective action, risk discussions, etc. must be performed. This can be constructed as information is passed down from the management review and frequency of these critical functions is decided.

Clearly define responsibility
Make sure your organization delegates responsibility for the EMS functions in a clear and accurate manner. A clear definition of who is responsible for what is critical to the ongoing performance and success of your EMS.


Key Points to Take Care While Developing an Environment Management System

The Environment Management System (EMS) refers to a system used by an Organisation to manage its activities, product or services in such a way to minimize or eliminate the adverse impacts on environment. More explicitly, the EMS is that part of the overall management system viz. organizational structure, planning activities, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes and resources which are necessary for developing, implementing, reviewing and maintaining the organisation’s environmental policy.

The Environmental Management System is a manual system consisting of three components namely:

I. Design or development of elements of EMS
II. Documentation and
III. Implementation

The organisation with any type and size may develop its own Environmental Management System to address environmental issues arising out of its activities, products and services. The environments elements of such an organization system may be decided by the organisation itself depending upon the requirements. The main purpose of the organizations’ environment management system has to be designed and developed is that the system may be functioning well to enhance the environmental performance. The ISO 14001:2015 certification of EMS as per specification recognized standards has been introduced.

The International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) has developed comprehensive ISO 14000 series of standards for Environmental Management system. Identical to this ISO 14001 standard, British standards (BS EN ISO 14001: 1996) are also developed. An organisation can develop EMS as per these specifications and guidelines.

There are some primary requirements while developing effective Environmental Management System, which are as per bellow:

  • Must be based on control of causes, not impact reactive
  • Must address all management elements of control
  • Must address Normal / Abnormal / Emergency conditions
  • Must have measurable parameters
  • Must be goal driven
  • Must be relevant to aspects
  • Must involve all
  • Must promote continual improvement
  • Management and not control / eradication
  • EMS is managing risks (aspects)
  • The essence of aspect management is to avoid high aspects, manage medium aspects and live with low aspects.

What are The Steps for ISO 14001:2015 Certification?

ISO 14001 focuses on the implementation and maintenance of an environmental management system. Implementing an Environmental Management System (EMS) can help you manage environmental risks, provide assurances in legal compliance and demonstrate your environmental credentials to your stakeholders. Below are the basic steps needed for ISO 14001:2015 Certification Process.

Steps for ISO 14001:2015 Certification1. Learn about the ISO 14001:2015 Standard
You will need to understand ISO 14001 (and ISO 9001 if you are combining), to help you understand what you need to do in your company to meet the requirements of the standard.

2. Perform an ISO 14001 Initial Environmental Review & Gap Analysis
A useful step could be to undertake a gap analysis between the management system processes you currently have in place and the requirements of ISO 14001. Use the Gap Analysis Checklist to determine where you need to change your existing EMS.

3. Plan your ISO 14000 project
Create a Project Plan to determine your tasks, timeline and resources. Consider a Step-by-Step Workbook to guide you.

4. Train your organization on ISO 14001:2015
Employees and management must receive ISO 14001 awareness training in what ISO 14001 entails, what the legislative requirements are for environmental management. Awareness programmes must be developed and implemented to ensure that every employee knows their role and how to respond to emergencies, what must be done, and what may not be done.

5. Document your ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System
Design ISO 14001:2015 documents such as Environmental Manual and Procedures. Most of the portion of the project is see your current processes, and redesign them to meet all of the requirements of the standard. Once you have modified or developed processes to meet the standard, you will need to control those processes. Documenting the processes as EMS System procedures is part of this control.

6. Implement your EMS and conduct business
Once your system is developed and documented, employees will follow the procedures, collect records and make improvements to the system. For about three or more months, your organization will run the EMS, collect the records.

7. Audit your EMS
Awareness programmes must be developed and implemented to ensure that every employee knows their role and how to respond to emergencies, what must be done, and what may not be done. Perform internal audits to see how your system works and improve it. This prepares you for an Audit by a Registrar.

8. Go for Certification
If you are conducting effective internal audits, they will give you a clear indication as to whether your business is ready for certification. Be aware that most certification bodies work on fairly long lead times and that a first time certification is a two-staged process; so forward planning and early dialogue is key.

Time is Running Out for Organization to Transition to ISO 14001:2015

Revision of this key management system standard took place in 2015 and organisations will have to transfer to the updated standard by September 2018. The new ISO 14001:2015 Certification brings significant changes that will require considerable time and thought to implement. Due to the timing, the strategy should focus on implementing the EMS to address the greatest gaps and developing the hard proof of its effectiveness within your organization.

transition to iso 14001:2015

ISO 14001:2015 was published in September 2015, and organisations were given a three-year transition period to adopt the revised Standard. Existing ISO 14001:2004 registered companies should now be well into their planning to ensure a smooth transition to the revised standard by this date. One of the benefits of the revision is to provide a common structure, text and definitions to make integration of multiple standards smoother and quicker to achieve.

Revision benefits

1. Integration
For organisations ISO 14001 Standard, taking this integrated approach will save time by streamlining the process of certification and removing duplication.

2. Risk management
One of the main areas of change is an increased focus on risk management and the establishment of an effective risk management plan. Risk is documented in most sections of the revised standard, so if you do not already have a risk management plan; this should be one of your first tasks. Typical risk processes include:

  • Risk determination,
  • Risk control,
  • Risk mitigation,
  • Acceptable level of risk.

3. Management processes
Along with the new high level structure/format, the new standards require a higher priority be given to managing processes and less about documentation.

4. Leadership
Emphasis on the importance of leadership from top management will ensure that the organisation’s management system achieves the desired results.

Although it is not too late to start with the installation of ISO 14001: 2015, there should be a small delay. The deadline for the recertification of the ISO 14001 EMS is September 15, 2018. Subsequently, the certificates issued according to ISO 14001: 2004 will no longer be valid.

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ISO 14001 Procedure Document for Quick ISO 14001 Certification

It is easy to assume that every single process that is in place to support your Environmental Management System needs to be documented. ISO 14001 procedures documents are written particularization every method that your company must follow to satisfy the necessities of the ISO 14001 standard. These are clearly written, simple to follow directions for your management, everyone, who works to follow within the day to day operation of your Environment Management System.

The ISO 14001:2015 Procedure should define how the organization’s bloodstream (the flow of documents) will function. The procedure for internal audits must define responsibilities for planning and conducting audits, how audit results are reported, and how records are maintained. This means that the main rules of conduct of the audit must be addressed.

The ISO 14001 procedures documents designed and developed as per Environment Management System standard and requirements of ISO 14001 Certification. The ISO 14001:2015 documents set covers various type of ISO 14001 procedures like communication, documents control, internal audit, training and more, it very useful of implements and upgraded environment management system and guide of process ISO 14001 certification, implementation and requirements.

List of Required ISO 14001 Procedures

The ISO 14001 mandatory procedures documents have 7 various procedures help the organization to make the best environment management system and quick process improvements. All the ISO 14001 procedures required for quick ISO 14001 Certification are listed below:

  • Procedures for identification of environmental aspects and its environmental impacts
  • Procedures for identification of legal requirements
  • Procedures for communication
  • Procedures for operational control
  • Procedures for emergency preparedness response
  • Procedures for monitoring and measurement
  • Procedures for training.

How to Structure ISO 14001:2015 Documentation

The development of the ISO 14001:2015 documentation and record control system for Environmental Management System (EMS) is a very important part of the implementation, as it will define the method of creation, publishing, withdrawal, and using documents and recording. It is up to the organization to create the most appropriate documentation, as it will affect the way you maintain and improve your EMS.

Which document is more important?

Before starting to develop ISO 14001:2015 documentation, it is important to get a clear picture of the purpose of each type of document and its position in the documentation hierarchy. There are several types of documents used to establish an EMS: manual, procedures, policy, objectives, work instructions or SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures), and records and forms. Each type of document and record has its place and role in the EMS. The documentation for an Environmental Management System should be structured as follows:

Structure of ISO 14001 Documentation

1) EMS Manual: It is usually the first document that the certification body wants to see to get familiar with the system. In cases where it is a small company or a company with simple risks, all procedures can be included in an EMS Manual.

2) EMS Policy: A policy represents a declarative statement by an organization – something like a constitution of the system – and all other documents arise from it. The policy is written by the top management and its purpose is to define the general direction and aim of the EMS. The Environmental Policy also provides a framework for establishing EMS Objectives.

3) Procedures: EMS procedures can have different formats and structures. They can be narrative, i.e., described through text; they can be more structured by using tables; they can be more illustrative, i.e., flow charts; or they can be any combination of the above.

4) Work instructions, guidelines, and SOPs: Work instructions can be part of a procedure, or they can be referenced in a procedure. Generally, work instructions have a similar structure to the procedures and cover the same elements; however, the work instructions include details of activities that need to be realized, focusing on the sequencing of the steps, tools, and methods to be used and required accuracy.

5) Records and forms: Finally, there must be some evidence that activities and processes are performed in the way prescribed in the procedures and work instructions. This is the main purpose of the records and forms. Most of them are filled in by employees, but some of them are filled in by the top management. The best way to make them practical is to avoid requiring employees to write essays. Having records with checkboxes instead of empty rows for employees to write sentences will ensure that the forms or records are filled in quickly and easily.

How new version ISO 14001:2015 useful for Environmental Management System

ISO 14001: 2015 specifies requirements for an Environmental Management System an organization can use to improve its environmental performance. ISO 14001: 2015 is intended for use by an organization that seeks to manage its environmental responsibilities in a systematic way that contributes to the environmental pillar of sustainable development.

ISO 14001:2015 Certification helps an organization achieve the expected results of its environmental management system, which provide value for the environment, the organization itself and stakeholders. According to the environmental policy of the organization, the expected results of an environmental management system include:

  • Enhancement of environmental performance;
  • Fulfillment of compliance obligations;
  • Achievement of environmental objectives.

What is new in ISO 14001:2015?

Integrated approach with other standards such as ISO 9001, EMS 14001: 2015, using the same terms and definitions. ISO 14001 is the strategic management of the environment by identifying and taking advantage of opportunities which benefit the environment and society. New article on leadership with specific roles to promote environmental management within the organization. The emphasis on environmental protection through proactive initiatives commits.

  • Strategic environmental management

It is a new requirement to understand the context of the organization to identify internal and external issues relevant to the organization and the environment, with actions to address them in the Environmental Management System (EMS).

  • Leadership

A new clause has been added with special responsibilities for top management to express their leadership and commitment to environmental management. Management may assign this responsibility to others, but retain responsibility.

  • Environmental protection

Environmental policy must include a commitment to the “environmental protection”. There is no definition of “protection” includes “prevention of pollution” and “other” commitments, such as the sustainable use of resources, climate change mitigation and adaptation, protection biodiversity and ecosystems, etc.

  • Environmental performance

The main objective is the improvement of performance related to the management of environmental aspects. The body has to decide on criteria for assessing its environmental performance, using the correct indicators.

  • Communication

Focus on internal and external communication and equal treatment of the two was added. The decision to communicate with the outside is retained by the organization while taking into account their compliance obligations.

  • ISO 14001: 2004 TRANSITION

Organizations that are already certified ISO 14001: 2004 will have three years from the official publication of ISO 14001: 2015 in which to transfer to the new version of this standard. Based on the current release schedule, this transition period will end in September 2018.