21 May 2015

Environmental standard update sees new requirements added

A revision of the international environmental management systems standard ISO 14001 is nearing completion, with a number of significant changes to its previous iteration foreseen. The final version will be published in October of this year. ISO 14001 is a set of standards that helps organisations to minimise their operations' impact on the environment, comply with applicable laws and environmental regulations in their region, and strive for environmental improvements.

In Europe, ISO 14001 plays a major role in the European Union's Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), which enables organisations to assess, manage and improve their environmental performance. The new version of the standard will focus on environmental concerns being added to the strategic planning processes of organisations, with proactive environmental protection measures expected.

A greater emphasis will also be placed on life-cycle thinking, in which all elements of a product’s impact from its extraction and manufacture to its disposal are considered. The last update of the standard was in 2004; organisations certified under the 2004 edition will be given a period of three years to integrate the 2015 updates. The consultation period which led to the new standards was opened in August 2011.

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