ISO (International Organization for Standardization), the international standard for environmental management, released ISO 14001 in 1996. This set of standards has provided guidance to help keep products safe, stable, and in the best condition they can be all around the world for 20 years and counting. In September of 2015, the organization released ISO 14001:2015, the third version of these standards. Companies with ISO 14001 accredited certification have a three-year period to transition to the new guidance. Some of the main changes are as follows, per the ISO website:
- Strategic environmental management – ISO 14001:2015 placed increased importance on environmental standards with the ever-changing regulatory environment and circumstances that affect companies.
- Leadership – New language has been added that specifically designates environmental responsibility to be part of the duties of leadership in an organization.
- Protecting the environment/environmental performance – Companies using ISO must adopt proactive policies to protect the environment from harm while still striving for continuous improvement in processes.
- Lifestyle perspective – ISO has included language on the importance of environmental consciousness throughout the entire life cycle of a product from design, procuring materials, production, and selling.
- Outsourced processes – Increased importance is placed on having control over outsourced processes.
- Communication – ISO 14001:2015 added language on developing a company communication strategy, encompassing both internal and external communications.
- Documentation – ISO 14001:2015 updated language to accommodate the increasing use of cloud-based systems and computers to house extensive amounts of company data.
- High Level Structure (HLS) for Management System Standards (MSS) – This is a new common framework to help entities that implement multiple ISO management system standards.
Read further guidance and information for assistance on transitioning to ISO 14001:2015. Contact your Dean Dorton advisor or Bryan Bulkley at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.