The ISO 14001 standard follows a PLAN – DO – CHECK – ACT cycle.
The first phase is developing the environmental policy and planning the EMS. The second is implementing the EMS. The third is checking and reviewing, and the fourth phase is the EMS's continuous improvement.
17 elements of ISO 14001
Within the standard there are 17 elements of ISO 14001 that are required to be met by organisations seeking formal recognition for their EMS. ISO 14001 requirements are as follows:
An environmental policy supported by senior management;
The identification of environmental aspects and impacts, and the identification of significant environmental impacts that the organisation may cause;
Identification of environmental compliance requirements;
The development of objectives and targets, and their environmental management programs;
Defined resources, roles, responsibilities and authorities for environmental management;
The development of competence, training and awareness procedures;
A communication process of the EMS to all stakeholders and interested parties;
The development of EMS documentation as required by the standard;
The development of document control procedures;
The development of operational control procedures;
The development of emergency preparedness and response procedures;
The development of procedures to monitor and measure operations that can have significant impact to the environment;
An evaluation of compliance procedure;
Procedures developed for the management of non-conformance, corrective and preventative actions;>
The development of a records management procedure;
A program for completing internal EMS audits and corrective actions; and
The development of procedures for management review by senior management.
The standard can be easily integrated into existing safety (AS/NZS 4801 or OHSAS18001) and quality (AS/NZS ISO 9001) management systems.
Continuous improvement diagram
By design the EMS and environmental performance run in a continuous improvement cycle outlined in the diagram below.
Next page... read about developing an organisational ISO 14001 checklist.