Following the recent revision of ISO 14001, ISO 14004 – the standard that helps organizations to get the most out of their environmental management system – has also been revised.
ISO 14004:2016, Environmental management systems – General guidelines on implementation, was published in early March and provides guidance on how to establish, implement, maintain, and improve an environmental management system.
ISO 14004:2016 helps organizations to establish and boost their environmental performance and coordinate these efforts with smoother management operations.
Essentially, the guidance provided in the standard aims to assist organizations manage their environmental responsibilities in a systematic manner that contributes to environmental sustainability.
ISO 14004:2016 looks at all of the relevant elements of an environmental management system to help organizations with their decision making. It also explains factors that should be taken into account during the formation of environmental policies, as well as the planning stages. Also it includes practical guidelines on how to successfully implement and operate an environmental management system, including performance testing and management reviews.
Dr Anne-Marie Warris, chair of ISO/TC 207/SC 1 – the technical committee that developed the standard and undertook the revision – said, “The new version of ISO 14004 provides organizations with further details and information in relation to the new ISO 14001:2015. Some of the changes include a focus on protecting the environment, environmental performance, life-cycle perspective, leadership, and strategic environmental management.”
As an international standard, ISO 14004 helps organizations achieve the intended outcomes of its environmental management system, which provides value for the environment, the organization itself, and relevant stakeholders.
Consistent with the organization’s environmental policy, the intended outcomes of an environmental management system include:
- Enhanced environmental performance
- Fulfilment of compliance obligations
- Achieving environmental objectives
ISO 14004:2016 can be adopted by any organization, regardless of size, type, or nature. The standard applies to the environmental aspects of the organization’s activities, products, and services that it determines it can control or influence, considering a life-cycle perspective. Due to its high level of detail, ISO 14004 can provide support to organizations who may have limited resources, or feel uncertain about where to begin. ISO 14004 can be used in conjunction with ISO 14001:2015, or independently.
More information on ISO 14004:2016 and the changes in the revision is available here.