The latest changes and keys to a successful implementation are:


Before going into more specific aspects of the revision of ISO 14001, it is highly recommended that we observe in a general way the changes that will occur in the structure. With the revision, the standard adopts a high-level structure, that is, it adapts to Annex SL to structure the entire contents of the standard, in the same way that other management systems are being carried out that are also or have been under review. It is for this reason that the revision of ISO 14001 presents many similarities with another standard that is also under review at the moment as it is ISO 9001, Quality Management System, allowing, for example, that both work together, use A common language, avoiding the difficulties arising from the duplication of documents and / or procedures that have a negative impact on the effectiveness of management, among many other situations that we could comment on.

Without further elaboration in this explanation, we are going to observe both structures to see more easily the changes that are foreseen.

As we have seen the structure changes considerably so it is difficult to follow and establish the existing correspondences between the two standards. For this reason, we will briefly indicate these correspondences to make more visible the new changes and points that appear new with the revision of ISO 14001.

As you can see there are many correspondences between both documents, however, if we look closely we can highlight how several points included in the review have no relation to any chapter of the current norm. Some of them are:

 4.1.- Knowledge of the organization and its context

 4.2.- Understanding the needs and expectations of the interested parties.

 5.1.- Leadership and commitment.

 6.1.4.- Risk associated with threats and opportunities.

 6.1.5.- Planning of actions.

 10.2.- Continuous improvement

Terms and definitions

As we have seen in the previous section, the adoption and influence of Annex SL has also led to changes in the terms and definitions used in this document ISO / DIS 14001: 2014 and that many of them are expected to remain in the final and final document. The adoption of many of these terms has also responded to the new policy adopted by the ISO for which a relationship is being sought between various management systems and for this a number of common aspects are adopted which help to speak a common language .

At the moment, the document indicates that new definitions will be incorporated into the ISO 14001 Standard, since they are necessary to facilitate the understanding of the requirements of the standard, although it is not yet possible to determine which of them will be definitively included In the revised ISO 14001 standard.

Among the definitions that are included and highlighted in the review of this environmental management system can be indicated the following:

 Organization
 High management.
 Environmental condition.
 Performance.
 Life cycle.
 Competition.
 Requirement.
 Compliance obligations.
 Measurement.
 Hire externally.
In the same way, it is necessary to emphasize some changes in the terminology like the following one:

Documents, records  Documented information.

Among all the changes, the following definitions can be highlighted (texts from ISO / DIS 14001: 2014):

 “Life cycle: consecutive and interrelated stages of the product system, from the acquisition of raw material or its generation from natural resources to treatment at the end of its life.”

 “Risk: effect of uncertainty on objectives.”

 “Outsourcing: establishing an agreement whereby an outside organization is part of an organization’s function or process.”

Although these are not the most relevant or significant, if they serve in my judgment to determine and exemplify some of the changes that we will be able to observe later.

Despite these changes, the document provides flexibility and allows companies to decide whether they want to adopt these new terms and the new structure that we previously observed or to continue with those already in use since there are no requirements stipulated for these aspects.

Context of the organization

As soon as we enter the changes that are going to bring this revision in ISO 14001, we find a novelty, which is that the point is included “Context of the Organization”, where special emphasis is placed on the need for the company Focus on the protection of the natural environment, determining the points and aspects, both internal and external, that influence the fulfillment of its purpose.

However, this point not only contributes this relevant innovation, but also includes two relevant points, which are:

 4.2.- Understanding the needs and expectations of the interested parties.

 4.3.- Determination of the scope of the environmental management system.


The review has improved this point by specifying that senior management has the obligation to demonstrate leadership and commitment with respect to compliance, operation and continuous improvement, among other aspects, of the environmental management system. In this way the standard assigns specific responsibilities to all those with leadership positions in the organization.

This innovation can be observed graphically in the change of the model of management system in which the leadership in the central area is located influencing and being actively influenced with other aspects such as Planning, Improvement, Evaluation and Performance, that is to say, In all relevant aspects of the system.

In the point of Environmental policy, the norm obliges the organization to specifically commit itself to the protection of the environment in its policy in order to ensure consistency in the documents. At the same time, the commitments established in the current ISO 14001 standard are extended by encouraging companies to seek to protect the environment in a global way and not be limited to the nearby natural environment and the pollution that their activities can cause.

Finally, we should also point out that, despite the fact that the specific mention of the Director’s Representative disappears, the review continues to stipulate that top management must assign the

Responsibility and authority necessary to ensure that the system complies with the indicated requirements and is reported to top management. It leaves flexibility, as it is observed in other points of the revision, so that the company decides the number of people that must take care of this function according to the characteristics and necessities of the organization.


The revision of the ISO 14001 standard places great importance on communication and the development of communication policies that place equal importance on external and internal communications. This includes a requirement indicating that the information communicated is consistent and reliable and that mechanisms are in place to enable the organization’s staff to actively participate through suggestions, etc. In addition, in relation to external communication, it leaves to the organization the decision to carry it out or not and how to do it, although it must contemplate what it has stipulated and the obligations of compliance.

In relation to Documentation, now called Documented Information, the standard provides flexibility for companies to determine what documents they need to ensure the operation of the environmental management system and the control system of these. In any case, the organization can continue to use the manual available to it to comply with the indications stipulated in the current ISO 14001 standard, if it meets all the requirements necessary to comply with the revised Environmental Management System.

Planning and Risk

The review places special emphasis on stakeholder needs and expectations, legal and regulatory requirements, and local, regional and global environmental issues that may be affected by the company’s activities. In the same way, it gives special attention to the incidents that may be due to changes in environmental conditions and that affect the organization. In this way a dialogue is established in both directions that will determine both the priorities and the actions that can be carried out both to take advantage of the opportunities and to minimize the adverse risks. All of the above will allow these concepts to be integrated into the planning of the environmental management system.

The review also indicates that the organization should determine the risks and opportunities that must be addressed and taken into account to ensure the desired results to be achieved by the environmental management system. It is possible to emphasize that this revision puts a special relevance in the management of the risk.


The review includes the term Life Cycle to indicate that the organization must take into account, control and manage properly the products and / or services throughout its life cycle, determining the requirements for the purchase or acquisition of products and / or Services, establishing controls in the design process that ensure that the environmental requirements established for the development, delivery, use and treatment at the end of its useful life are met, communicating the established environmental requirements to the suppliers and person

In this way, the activities that the organization must establish in relation to the care or protection of the environment through this novelty and all those previously seen are expanded and the need to include in the management system, when defining it, the prevention Pollution, adequate use of available resources, protection of biodiversity and ecosystems, mitigation and awareness of the environment, etc.

Environmental performance.

With the revision of ISO 14001, the organization’s vision is extended not only to seek improvement of the system but also to improve environmental performance. In this way, organizations are encouraged to incorporate strategic thinking within the management system.

In addition, it includes item 10, Improvement, that make reference to nonconformities and corrective actions, along with the continuous improvement and that provides more details and specifications on these aspects.

Steps to ensure a smooth transition.

The transition will be marked by the way in which the organization has developed and uses the Standard, but a number of steps will undoubtedly have to be taken to ensure that the transition period is carried out effectively and that it does not hamper compliance Both the present and the renewed ISO 14001 standard. These steps are as follows:

 Know the changes that are presented, both the senior management, internal managers and auditors, as well as all the staff involved both internally and externally.

 Establish a smooth communication with the certification body and the consultant to make the changes that are approaching the new ISO 14001 standard.

 Ensure senior management is involved and establish a transition plan.

 And do not forget that if you have any doubts, you should consult with professionals who, like SBQ Consultores, will help you make your transition in a comfortable and efficient way

At Arrizabalaga Consulting, we are experts in the application of tools that help companies to transform all the efforts made in results, their management reach efficiency and, in short, grow and improve day by day.

Changes and keys for a successful ISO14001:2015 standard implementation

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