The revision of ISO 14001 is in the final phase. At the end of April, the competent ISO expert panel adopted the ”Final Draft International Standard” (FDIS) for ISO 14001. This final draft is now going to be examined by the national standards committees and is expected to be published in June. Thereafter, no major changes are to be expected to the final version of the ISO 14001 standard. Its publication is still expected by September 2015. A two to three year transition period is then expected to begin on the publication of ISO 14001:2015; during this period, companies can apply both the old and the new standard, until the time when they have to comply only with the new requirements.

A significant change is the new structure of the standard. In future, all management system standards will have a uniform structure (“high-level structure”). Here, ISO 14001 and ISO 9001, which is also being currently revised, are the first standards to adhere to this new structure. For 2016, a new standard for occupational health and safety is expected with the introduction of ISO 45001, which will then also have the same structure. Integration of different management systems in a common system will be much easier in the future.

With ISO 14001:2015, greater liability for the improvement of environmental performance and compliance with legal obligations is to be expected. A more detailed analysis of the environmental impact of the company will also be required in future. For example, for the identification and evaluation of the relevant environmental aspects, the environmental conditions at the location, existing risks as well as the interests of e.g. neighbours of the company, must be taken into account to a greater extent. In addition, the entire value-added chain of the company must be considered. This means that upstream and downstream areas (e.g. raw materials, logistics, disposal of products) must also be considered.

ISO 14001:2015 requires a greater analysis of the business processes, and where it is required, the implementation of environmental regulations. The requirements for the determination of the key figures and environmental objectives are clarified. More detailed rules are also required in the future for internal and external communication of environmental information.

In summary, an updated and extended evaluation of the environmental aspects of the company is above all required by the new ISO 14001:2015. Most of the further need for action is derived from this. It must also be apparent that the relevant environmental aspects are sufficiently anchored in the business processes as well as the objectives, key figures and measures, and also the heads of the employees. Each company must decide for itself whether it makes sense to adapt its own management system to the new high-level structure. However, this would increase the chance for successful integration of different management systems significantly.

In the summer 2015, after the publication of the final draft of ISO 14001 and ISO 9001, Arqum will offer webinars to inform our customers about the requirements of the new standards. Our consulting services on the revision of ISO 14001 will include workshops on the changeover to the new structure of the standard, and the extended evaluation of the environmental aspects of the company. We will report on ISO 9001:2015 in the next issue of Arqum AKTUELL.