ISO 14001 is a standard of practice adopted to help an organisation effectively regulate its environmental impact, meaning the ISO 14001 requirements for certification must be closely adhered to. These standards allow an organisation to create a roadmap for reaching environmental objectives. In order to receive certification for the ISO 14001, an organisation must develop, implement, and display gradual improvement in environmental policy.
An organisation seeking an ISO 14001 certification for their Environmental Management System (EMS) will be required take the following actions. The environmental policy must be supported by the organisation’s senior management, and any environmental risks the organisation poses must be identified. The organisation must ensure that its policies align with environmental compliance laws, and an evaluation used to assess compliance must also be established. There must be evidence of how the organisation plans to reach its environmental objectives through its EM programs. Within these programs, employee roles, responsibilities, and resources must be allocated.
Development of an ISO 14001 documentation system is required as well. Document control, operational control, and emergency response procedures should be prepared and implemented. Also, the organisation must dedicate procedures to the monitoring and measurement of specific environmental impacts. Other policies needed to meet ISO 14001 requirements include records management procedures, corrective/preventative action procedures, and an internal program for completing EMS audits. Senior management should develop its own management review system regarding the previously stated policies. Having met these requirements, an organisation will have established a self-sustaining EMS procedure policy that will ensure continuous environmental improvement.
Developing an effective EMS policy within an organisation can be highly beneficial, however, there are many ways an organisation can fall short of achieving an ISO 4001 certification. It is crucial that the organisation’s senior management is committed to the EMS policies, and that it acts in accordance with established protocol. Financial and physical resource allocation regarding the EMS must be decisively determined, and responsibility should be assigned to appropriate members of the organisation in accordance with ISO 14001 requirements.
The organisation should make note of whether it has the resources to implement an EMS internally or if it should outsource its creation. The general scope of the EMS must be clearly defined, and this includes what is specifically not being considered for the EMS policy. One of the most important precursors to achieving an ISO 1400 certification is to have a well-defined plan for the development and implementation of all EMS policies. This plan needs to include EMS implementation requirements and an outline for employee training.
An organisation must demonstrate that it can indefinitely update and improve its policies regarding environmental impact and that management takes these policies seriously enough to consistently adhere to them. With a scrupulous dedication to policy, careful record keeping, and strong attention to environmental factors, any organisation can become ISO 14001 certified.